CEB Committe on Evolutionary Biology

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The Committee on Evolutionary Biology (CEB) is a unique interdepartmental and inter-institutional graduate student training program dedicated to the study of Evolutionary Biology. Faculty and students in the program are engaged in interdisciplinary studies at time scales that range from single generations to the entire history of life and at organizational scales from the molecular to the global.

Lu Yao

Lu Yao with a crab-eating macaque in Bali.


Lu Yao

I am interested in the evolution of animals on islands. There is a phenomenon called the “Island Rule”, which states that large-bodied organisms evolve smaller body size on islands most likely due to a lack of resources while small-bodied organisms evolve larger body size on islands because of decreased competition and predation. However, it is unclear whether or not this is a universal rule and we don’t really know what happens to specific anatomical parts, such as brain size, when animals evolve on islands. So I am studying island dwarfing by comparing mainland and island forms of deer, pigs, gibbons and macaques. Geographically, I am studying the specimens from the Southeast Asian region. Island size and island type may play a role in body size evolution so a region like Southeast Asia with tons of islands of various sizes is perfect for my research.

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