Evolutionary Anthropology

PAST PROJECTS

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Mother and infant chimp at Ngogo

This project provides insight into the structure of chimpanzee communities in Kibale National Park, home to the world's largest concentration of wild chimpanzees.

 

Sifaka skeleton

This study will identify the degree to which variation in epigenetic patterns relates to variation in skeletal features within and among primates.

archaeolemur skull

The project seeks to examine primate community phylogenetic and trait structure across space and through time with abiotic and biotic factors suggested to cause the changing distributions and adaptations of primate species.  

illustration of lemur skull

Among primates, there is a strong relationship between life history and the age at which the first permanent molar emerges into the mouth.  However, knowledge of how variation in molar emergence age arises and why it is closely associated with life history is lacking. This doctoral dissertation research project will examine molar emergence as part of a developing functionally integrated chewing system.

Dine sheepherder

In this project, we measure the relative contribution of environment and cultural history in explaining the behavioral variation of 172 Native American tribes at the time of European contact, across different categories of traits, including diet, technology, marriage practices and economic organization.  

Tapir

At the heart of the project is the understanding of the composition of an ecosystem which appears poised at the tipping point of a major change based on what is known of terminal Miocene faunas elsewhere in the Old World. The Shuitangba fauna and environment provide an unusually clear and well-preserved picture of a distinctive regional ecosystem that contained long-established species alongside new arrivals.

Horn of Africa

The possibility of a causative relationship between human evolution in Africa and Earth system history has been an important question at the forefront of paleoanthropological research in the last 25 years. We propose to analyze climate and other Earth system dynamics with a unique combination of paleoanthropologists and earth scientists to provide direct tests of this and related hypotheses by collecting and analyzing unique paleoenvironmental data at three key anthropological sites in Africa.

Hadar

We propose to solve the challenge of integrating the large amount of data from Hadar, Ethiopia by building a "cyberinfrastructure" of computer hardware; digital, well documented and geo- and temporally referenced data from the greater Hadar depositional basin; and mapping, visualization, and community serving software. 

Paleodrilling

Paleoanthropologists and earth scientists will collaborate to investigate the impacts of Earth system dynamics in our deep human past. This project will involve collecting paleoenvironmental records via drilling in East Africa and performing various analyses on the resulting sediment cores.

Fynbos

This research examines the coupled response of people and the environment in the Cape Floral region on the south coast of Africa to major fluctuations in global climate change during the time of the origins of the modern human lineage. 

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