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Listen or download Interview (mp3, 54 minutes, 50MB):
Cynthia Beall has performed groundbreaking research on human evolution and adaptation to the environment, particularly in places where there is little air to breathe. She is known for her analyses of differences in oxygen delivery traits among indigenous populations of the Tibetan, Andean, and East African plateaus. Beall's biological and cultural research among the native populations of the Andes and Himalayas has provided the first firm evidence that these populations have adapted to the harsh thin-air environments by evolving genetic and developmental responses that enhance their bodies' capabilities in harsh thin-air environments. Another area of her research is the influence of the sociocultural environment, which can either create or buffer stress and can have beneficial or detrimental effects on human biology. Beall earned a degree in biology from the University of Pennsylvania and a doctorate in anthropology from Pennsylvania State University in 1976. She joined the faculty of Case Western Reserve University in 1976 and where she is the S. Idell Pyle Professor of Anthropology.
Last Updated: 07-26-2004
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The audio files linked above are part of the National Academy of Sciences InterViews series. Opinions and statements included in these audio files are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Academy of Sciences.