Julia Molnar

Julia Molnar
New York Institute of Technology | NYIT · Department of Anatomy

PhD

About

78
Publications
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932
Citations
Introduction
I am an Assistant Professor of Anatomy at NYIT College of Osteopathic Medicine. My main research interest is the evolution of vertebrate locomotion. I completed a post-doc at Howard University on early tetrapod limb anatomy and locomotion and a PhD in the Structure & Motion Laboratory of the Royal Veterinary College on evolutionary changes in the axial skeleton over water/land transitions.
Additional affiliations
August 2016 - August 2017
Howard University
Position
  • Research Associate
August 2015 - present
Howard University
Position
  • PostDoc Position
Description
  • American Association of Anatomists Post-doctoral Fellowship
August 2014 - March 2015
Coastal Carolina University
Position
  • Visiting Assistant Professor of Comparative Anatomy

Publications

Publications (78)
Book
Full-text available
About this Research Topic The fish to tetrapod transition transformed the tetrapod body plan, eventually allowing tetrapods to move, eat, breathe, and reproduce on land. Reconstruction of soft tissues in early tetrapods and their relatives has the potential to solve controversies about the behavior and ecology of the earliest terrestrial vertebrat...
Article
Full-text available
Thanks to new methods of modeling and analysis, we are discovering much more about movement, sensation, and feeding in animals that span the tetrapod water-land transition and the origin of amniotes. As investigations of function in extinct animals become more complex and rigorous, the need to take soft tissues into account becomes more pressing. F...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Squamate reptiles (lizards, snakes, amphisbaenians) exhibit incredible diversity in their locomotion, behavior, morphology and ecological breadth. Although they often are used as models of locomotor diversity, surprisingly little attention has been given to muscle development in squamate reptiles. In fact, the most detailed examination...
Article
Full-text available
Since the early 1900s, researchers have attempted to unravel the origin and evolution of tetrapod limb muscles using a combination of comparative anatomy, phylogeny, and development. The methods for reconstructing soft tissues in extinct animals have been refined over time as our ability to determine muscle homology and phylogenetic relationships b...
Article
Full-text available
The size and shape of articular cartilage in the limbs of extant vertebrates are highly variable, yet they are critical for understanding joint and limb function in an evolutionary context. For example, inferences about unpreserved articular cartilage in early tetrapods have implications for how limb length, joint range of motion, and muscle levera...
Article
Full-text available
One of the most intriguing questions in vertebrate evolution is how tetrapods gained the ability to walk on land. Although many hypotheses have been proposed, few have been rigorously tested using the fossil record. Here, we build three-dimensional musculoskeletal models of the pectoral appendage in Eusthenopteron, Acanthostega, and Pederpes and qu...
Article
Full-text available
Lobe-fins transformed into limbs during the Devonian period, facilitating the water-to-land transition in tetra-pods. We traced the evolution of well-articulated skeletons across the fins-to-limbs transition, using a network-based approach to quantify and compare topological features of fins and limbs. We show that the topological arrangement of bo...
Preprint
Full-text available
Pectoral and pelvic lobe-fins transformed into fore- and hindlimbs during the Devonian period, enabling the water-to-land transition in tetrapods. In the timespan of ~60 million years, transitional forms evolved, spanning a wide range of morphologies. Here we traced the evolution of well-articulated appendicular skeletons across the fins-to-limbs t...
Article
Full-text available
Studies of morphological integration and modularity, and of anatomical complexity in human evolution typically focus on skeletal tissues. Here we provide the first network analysis of the musculoskeletal anatomy of both the fore- and hindlimbs of the two species of chimpanzee and humans. Contra long-accepted ideas, network analysis reveals that the...
Book
Full-text available
Chordates comprise lampreys, hagfishes, jawed fishes, and tetrapods, plus a variety of more unfamiliar and crucially important non-vertebrate animal lineages, such as lancelets and sea squirts. This will be the first book to synthesize, summarize, and provide high-quality illustrations to show what is known of the configuration, development, homolo...
Cover Page
Full-text available
Chordates comprise all vertebrates plus a variety of unfamilar, distantly related and crucially important lineages (sea squirts, acorn worms, others). This book will be the first volume to synthesize and summarize what is known of the organization, development, homology and evolution of the muscles of all chordate animals. Muscles as different as t...
Article
Full-text available
Network theory is increasingly being used to study morphological modularity and integration. Anatomical network analysis (AnNA) is a framework for quantitatively characterizing the topological organization of anatomical structures and providing an operational way to compare structural integration and modularity. Here we apply AnNA for the first tim...
Article
Full-text available
Tetrapods evolved from within the lobe-finned fishes around 370 Ma. The evolution of limbs from lobe-fins entailed a major re-organization of the skeletal and muscular anatomy of appendages in early tetrapods. Concurrently, a degree of similarity between pectoral and pelvic appendages also evolved. Here, we compared the anatomy of appendages in ext...
Article
Full-text available
Anatomical network analysis is a framework for quantitatively characterizing the topological organization of anatomical structures, thus providing a way to compare structural integration and modularity among species. Here we apply this approach to study the macroevolution of the forelimb in primates, a structure whose proportions and functions vary...
Article
Full-text available
The question of how tetrapod limbs evolved from fins is one of the great puzzles of evolutionary biology. While palaeontologists, developmental biologists, and geneticists have made great strides in explaining the origin and early evolution of limb skeletal structures, that of the muscles remains largely unknown. The main reason is the lack of cons...
Article
Full-text available
Chameleon species have recently been adopted as models for evo-devo and macroevolutionary processes. However, most anatomical and developmental studies of chameleons focus on the skeleton , and information about their soft tissues is scarce. Here, we provide a detailed morphological description based on contrast enhanced micro-CT scans and dissecti...
Article
Full-text available
Common chimps and bonobos are our closest living relatives but almost nothing is known about bonobo internal anatomy. We present the first phylogenetic analysis to include musculoskeletal data obtained from a recent dissection of bonobos. Notably, chimpanzees, and in particular bonobos, provide a remarkable case of evolutionary stasis for since th...
Article
Full-text available
As a member of the most basal clade of extant ray-finned fishes (actinopterygians) and of one of the most basal clades of osteichthyans (bony fishes + tetrapods), Polypterus can provide insights into the ancestral anatomy of both ray-finned and lobe-finned fishes, including those that gave rise to tetrapods. The pectoral fin of Polypterus has been...
Article
Full-text available
Previous accounts of the origin of tetrapod limbs have postulated a relatively sudden change, after the split between extant lobe-finned fish and tetrapods, from a very simple fin phenotype with only two muscles to the highly complex tetrapod condition. The evolutionary changes that led to the muscular anatomy of tetrapod limbs have therefore remai...
Book
Full-text available
Understanding Human Anatomy and Pathology: An Evolutionary and Developmental Guide for Medical Students provides medical students with a much easier and more comprehensive way to learn and understand the gross anatomy and variations of our body by combining, for the first time, state-of-the-art knowledge about human anatomy, evolution, development,...
Article
Full-text available
Surprisingly the oldest formal discipline in medicine (anatomy) has not yet felt the full impact of evolutionary developmental biology. In medical anatomy courses and textbooks, the human body is still too often described as though it is a " perfect machine. " In fact, the study of human anatomy predates evolutionary theory; therefore, many of its...
Article
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Opossums are frequent subjects of developmental studies because marsupials share developmental features not seen in placentals and because Didelphimorpha is the sister-group of other extant Marsupialia. But is the adult marsupial muscular system markedly different from that of placentals or is it, like the skeletal system, very similar? We provide,...
Article
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The lineage leading to modern Crocodylia has undergone dramatic evolutionary changes in morphology, ecology and locomotion over the past 200+ Myr. These functional innovations may be explained in part by morphological changes in the axial skeleton, which is an integral part of the vertebrate locomotor system. Our objective was to estimate changes i...
Raw Data
The lineage leading to modern Crocodylia has undergone dramatic evolutionary changes in morphology, ecology and locomotion over the past 200+ Myr. These functional innovations may be explained in part by morphological changes in the axial skeleton, which is an integral part of the vertebrate locomotor system. Our objective was to estimate changes i...
Article
Full-text available
Muscles, bones, and tendons in the adult tetrapod limb are intimately integrated, both spatially and functionally. However, muscle and bone evolution do not always occur hand in hand. We asked, how does the loss of limb bones affect limb muscle anatomy, and do these effects vary among different lineages? To answer these questions, we compared limb...
Article
Full-text available
It has been more than 30 years since the publication of the new head hypothesis, which proposed that the vertebrate head is an evolutionary novelty resulting from the emergence of neural crest and cranial placodes. Neural crest generates the skull and associated connective tissues, whereas placodes produce sensory organs. However, neither crest nor...
Book
Full-text available
FEATURES (SUMMARY below) Focuses on the detailed anatomy, including muscles, of human trisomies and compares all three trisomes that allow survival until birth Provides high-quality, state-of-the art MRI scans and 3-D reconstructions and anatomical illustrations of the skeleton and muscles of individuals with trisomy Includes a detailed discussion...
Article
Full-text available
Crocodiles and their kin (Crocodylidae) use asymmetrical (bounding and galloping) gaits when moving rapidly. Despite being morphologically and ecologically similar, it seems alligators and their kin (Alligatoridae) do not. To investigate a possible anatomical basis for this apparent major difference in locomotor capabilities, we measured relative m...
Article
Full-text available
Most anatomical studies of primates focus on skeletal tissues, but muscular anatomy can provide valuable information about phylogeny, functional specializations, and evolution. Herein, we present the first detailed description of the head, neck, pectoral, and upper limb muscles of the fetal lemuriforms Lemur catta (Lemuridae) and Propithecus coquer...
Article
Full-text available
For more than two centuries, the idea that the forelimb and hindlimb are serially homologous structures has been accepted without serious question. This study presents the first detailed analysis of the evolution and homologies of all hindlimb muscles in representatives of each major tetrapod group and proposes a unifying nomenclature for these mus...