My research interests lie in primate evolution and dietary adaptations, primate conservation, and human paleopathology. I define an adaptation as any structure that has been honed by natural selection. Any evolutionary study must examine the fitness of individuals, which is inferred through mortality rates or reproductive success. Some broad questions that I would like to begin to answer with my research on primates include: what precipitated the hominoid divergence? How and why have gorillas evolved into the largest extant primates? How many gorilla subspecies are there? What foods define the ecological niches of primate species? How do primates choose their food? How can we help endangered primates? In the field of paleopathology, I would also like to examine the health of prehistoric southern Florida Indians. What were they eating? Did their subsistence strategy change, and if so, how did it impact their health? To what diseases and trauma were they prone? Although these questions may seem very diverse, they all can originate from the examination of diet, and consequently, health. A population in poor health has a high mortality rate and/or low reproductive rate, and thus, low fitness.
Every two years we travel to Ghana with up to 15 students to study Campbell’s Lowei monkeys, ursine colobus, and sea turtles (my colleague, Phil Allman’s area of expertise). See the full page for more information on this program.
Ph.D. in Biological Anthropology, Cornell University 2000
M. S. in Biological Anthropology, Cornell University 1996
B.A. in Anthropology with Minor in Biology, University of Binghamton, NY 1991
Koobi Fora Field School, Lake Turkana, Kenya 1992