Julie Meachen, Ph.D.

Assistant ProfessorAnatomy
Master of Science in Anatomy Program
Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Program
Office Phone 515-271-1568
Email julie.meachen@dmu.edu
  • Instructor at Marshall University 2012-2013
  • Postdoctoral Fellow at the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center 2009-2012
  • Ph.D. Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California, Los Angeles 2008

I am a vertebrate paleontologist and a functional morphologist that specializes in mammalian carnivores. I am interested in how we can examine ecology in both living species and in the fossil record using morphology. I am particularly interested in how climate change and the extinction events at the end of the Pleistocene (10,000 years ago) have affected the morphology and ecology of living and Pleistocene species.

I am currently the lead investigator at Natural Trap Cave, where we are excavating Ice Age mammals each summer to determine the roles that climate change plays in both the morphology and genetics of the mammals found at this site. Additionally, we are using a microfaunal and pollen record to recreate Pleistocene climate in mid-latitude North America.

I am also involved in several other projects related to Pleistocene mammals, including dire wolves and sabertooth cats of Rancho La Brea, and an investigation of a frozen Beringian wolf puppy from the Yukon in Canada.


Meachen, J.A. and W. J. Binder. In Press. The evolution of the skull, mandible and teeth of Rancho La Brea Smilodon fatalis as they relate to feeding adaptations, pp. X-XX In Smilodon: the Iconic Sabertooth, H.G. McDonald, L. Werdelin, and C. Shaw (eds). John Hopkins Press, Baltimore, MD.

Binder, W.J., K. Cervantes* and J.A. Meachen. 2016. Measures of relative dentary strength in La Brea Smilodon fatalis over time. PLoS ONE 11: e0162270.
(Binder and Meachen are dual senior authors)

Meachen, J.A., A.L. Brannick* and T.J. Fry*. 2016. Extinct Beringian wolf morphotype found in the continental U.S. has implications for wolf migration and evolution. Ecology and Evolution 6: 3430–3438.

Brannick, A.L.*, J.A. Meachen and F.R. O’Keefe. 2015. Microevolution of jaw morphometrics in the dire wolf, Canis dirus, at Rancho La Brea. Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, Science Series 42: 23-32.

Meachen, J.A., R.H. Dunn and L. Werdelin. 2015. Carnivore postcranial disparity: adaptation to climate and habitat. Ecography 39: 553-560.

Goswami, A., W.J. Binder, J.A. Meachen and F.R. O’Keefe. 2015. From shrews to sabre-toothed cats: a deep time perspective on phenotypic integration and modularity. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 112: 4891-4896.

Meachen, J.A., A.C. Janowicz*, J.E. Avery* and R.W. Sadleir. 2015. Ecological changes in coyotes (Canis latrans) in response to the Ice Age megafaunal extinctions. PLoS ONE 9: e116041.

Meachen, J., F.R. O’Keefe and R.W. Sadleir. 2014. Evolution in the sabertooth cat, Smilodon fatalis in response to Pleistocene climate change. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 27: 714-723.

Meachen, J. and T.E. Roberts. 2014. A novel multi-scale assessment of community assembly across time, space, and functional niche. The American Naturalist 183: 585-599.

O’Keefe, F.R., J. Meachen, E.V. Fet* and A. Brannick*. 2013. Clinal shape variation in the cranium of the North American gray wolf and its correlation with geographic and climatic variables. Journal of Mammalogy 94:1223-1236.

Samuels, J.X., J. Meachen and S.A. Sakai*. 2013. Postcranial morphology and locomotor habits of living and extinct carnivorans. Journal of Morphology 274: 121-146.

Meachen, J. and J.X. Samuels. 2012. Evolution in coyotes (Canis latrans) in response to the megafaunal extinction. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science USA 109: 4191-4196.

Meachen-Samuels, J. 2012. Morphological convergence of the prey-killing arsenal of sabertooth predators. Paleobiology 38: 1-14.

Van Valkenburgh, B., A. Curtis, J. X. Samuels, D. Bird, B. Fulkerson, J. Meachen-Samuels, and G. Slater. 2011. Aquatic adaptations in the nose of carnivorans: evidence from the turbinates. Journal of Anatomy 218: 298-310.

Meachen-Samuels, J. and B. Van Valkenburgh. 2010. Radiographs reveal exceptional forelimb strength in the sabertooth cat, Smilodon fatalis. PLoS ONE 5: e11412.

Meachen-Samuels, J. 2010. Radiographic analysis of the humerus in the Felidae and the Canidae. Journal of Mammalian Evolution 17: 193-209.

Meachen-Samuels, J. and W. J. Binder. 2010. Age determination and sexual dimorphism in Panthera atrox and Smilodon fatalis (Felidae) from Rancho La Brea.  Journal of Zoology, London 280: 271-279.

Samuels, J.X., J.A. Meachen-Samuels and P.A. Gensler. 2009.  The first Mid-Blancan occurrence of Agriotherium (Ursidae) in North America: a record from Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument, Idaho.  Journal of Paleontology 83: 597-603. First and second authors contributed equally

Meachen-Samuels, J. and B. Van Valkenburgh. 2009. Forelimb indicators of prey-size preference in the Felidae. Journal of Morphology 270: 729-744.

Meachen-Samuels, J. and B. Van Valkenburgh. 2009. Craniodental indicators of prey size preference in the Felidae. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 96: 784-799.

Meachen, J.  2005. A new species of Lamine from the Plio-Pleistocene of Florida. Bulletin of the Florida Museum of Natural History 45(4): 435-447.

Webb, S. D. and J. Meachen.  2004.  On the origin of the Lamine Camelidae with a new genus from the late Miocene of the high plains. Bulletin of Carnegie Museum 36: 349-362.

*indicates a student co-author