Research Interests

I study human origins and evolution in the contexts of past biological and cultural environments. To more completely understand the human past I work with a large international team, gathering data from geology, biology, paleontology, and archaeology. I have worked in these disciplines in both laboratory and field capacities in the African rift system, most recently in Ethiopia. Our research there in the Middle Awash research area has illuminated a uniquely long and complete record of human occupation spanning more than 5 million years. A new genus (Ardipithecus) and two new early hominid species (A. ramidus; A. garhi) have been revealed, along with a wealth of contextual information. We are currently focusing on five key time horizons (c. 0.25, 1.0, 2.5, 4.4, and 5.2 million years). For each horizon, the research team is synthesizing information gained from anatomical, paleoenvironmental, geochronological, and archaeological analyses. These complex data sets are being integrated with knowledge from other Old World sites to solve paleoanthropological problems surrounding the origins of the Hominidae, our earliest technological behaviors, the origins of Homo, and the geographic origin and material culture of the earliest anatomically modern humans.

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Section 51: Anthropology