Mr Germán Montoya-Sanhueza

(MSc. Zoology – UCT)

Palaeobiological Research Group

John Day Building, Room 5.06 (Fifth floor)

Cell: +27 60 77 81 485





I’m a biologist originally from Chile, now doing Ph.D at the University of Cape Town (UCT), South Africa. One of my interests is the processes of skeletal adaptation in mammals and its relationships with ecophysiological and environmental factors. I’m especially intrigued about how bone growth varies among different species and how different lifestyles and locomotor performances have shaped such diversity. Currently, my research focus on the biology of the appendicular skeleton of subterranean African molerats (Bathyergidae), where I integrate multiple analytical tools such as morphometry (2D and 3D) and histomorphometry to uncover differential patterns of fossorial adaptation in this highly specialized group of mammals.

Supervisor: Prof. Anusuya Chinsamy-Turan
Co-supervisor: Prof. Marcelo Sánchez-Villagra (UZH - Universität Zürich)


2019. Montoya-Sanhueza G, Wilson LAB, Chinsamy A. Postnatal development of the largest subterranean mammal (Bathyergus suillus): Morphology, osteogenesis, and modularity of the appendicular skeleton. Developmental Dynamics. 1–28.

2018. Montoya-Sanhueza G., Chinsamy A. Cortical bone adaptation and mineral mobilization in the subterranean mammal Bathyergus suillus (Rodentia: Bathyergidae): effects of age and sex. PeerJ 6:e4944

2017 Montoya-Sanhueza, G., K. Moreno, R. Bobe, M.T. Carrano, M. García, & A. Corgne. Peltephilidae and Mesotheriidae (Mammalia) from late Miocene strata of Northern Chilean Andes, Caragua. Journal of South American Earth Sciences, 75:51-65.

2017 Montoya-Sanhueza, G. & Chinsamy, A. (2017), Long bone histology of the subterranean rodent Bathyergus suillus (Bathyergidae): ontogenetic pattern of cortical bone thickening. J. Anat., 230: 203–233. doi:10.1111/joa.12547

2012 Montoya, G., Jara, A., Solis-Lufí, K., Colin, N., & Habit, E. First stages of the life cycle in native fish from the San Pedro River (Valdivia River Basin, Chile). Gayana (Concepción), 76(Supl. 1), 86-100. (In spanish)

2012 Cifuentes, R., González, J., Montoya, G., Jara, A., Ortíz, N., Piedra, P., & Habit, E. Weight-length relationships and condition factor of native fish from San Pedro River (Valdivia River basin, Chile). Gayana (Concepción), 76(Supl. 1), 86-100. (In spanish)

2007 C. Muñoz, P. Zambrano, G. Montoya & H. Moyano. Upper Cretaceous shark and ray teeth (Chondrichthyes, Elasmobranchii) from Quiriquina Formation in Talcahuano, Central Chile. Boletín de la Sociedad de Biología de Concepción, 78: 7-22. (In spanish)


Cover photo for Journal of Anatomy. Detail of bone histology of Cape dune molerats (Montoya-Sanhueza & Chinsamy, 2017)


Long bone cross section (bottom) and regions of interest in the diaphysis (top) (Montoya-Sanhueza & Chinsamy, 2017).


Large resorption cavity in cortical bone as result of mineral mobilization (Montoya-Sanhueza & Chinsamy, 2018).


Histological signs of reproduction (e.g. lactation) in the femur of female Cape dune molerats (Montoya-Sanhueza & Chinsamy, 2018).


Two-days old molerat (Bathyergus janetta) showing highly specialized limb morphology at birth (Montoya-Sanhueza et al., 2019).


Ontogenetic morphological differences in the external and microstructural anatomy of a highly specialized scratch-digger, Bathyergus suillus (Montoya-Sanhueza et al., 2019).


Representation of an extinct species of horned armadillo of South America Epipeltephilus caraguensis, from the late Miocene of North Chile (Author: Francisco Lira) (Montoya-Sanhueza et al., 2017).


Large scutes (osteoderms) of Epipeltephiluis caraguensis. Scale bar = 5.0 mm. (Montoya-Sanhueza et al., 2017).


Dental anatomy of the mesotheriid notoungulate, Caraguatypotherium munozi from northern Chile (Montoya-Sanhueza et al., 2017).


Excavation of mesotheriid notoungulates in northern Chile (2017).


Trench in Atacama Desert, the most arid desert in the world (North Chile, 2017).  


South American camelids; Guanacos (Lama guanicoe) (North Chile, 2017).


The largest vulture in the world, the Andean Condor (Vultur gryphus) (North Chile, 2017).


South American camelid; Guanaco (Lama guanicoe) in South Chile (2009).


Torres del Paine in Chilean Patagonia (South Chile, 2009).


Ammonites from Cretaceous beds in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa (2016).