Katz, David Charles, U. of California, Davis, CA - To aid research on 'Universality and Biological Mechanisms of Subsistence-Driven Craniofacial Reduction,' supervised by Dr. Timothy D. Weaver
Preliminary abstract: It is widely hypothesized that early agriculturalists have reduced craniofacial features relative to hunter-gatherers because agricultural foods and processing technologies resulted in decreased masticatory loading demands for prehistoric farmers. The geographic scope of this subsistence-driven craniofacial reduction (SDCR) hypothesis is global: dispersed agricultural transitions produced convergent changes to craniofacial morphology. Yet studies testing SDCR are restricted to comparisons of local groups. Further, qualitative syntheses of these results often do not account for variation in the dimensions along which SDCR has been observed. In order to study SDCR on the global scale at which it is thought to have occurred, my project examines cranial and mandibular 3-D landmark data from 7 geographically paired forager-farmer groups. To test the significance and shape of subsistence effects on craniofacial morphology, I use geometric morphometrics methods, multivariate statistics which partition variation among predictors, and a study of whether divergence between forager and farmer mandibular ontogenetic trajectory reflects incorporation of hard foods into the diet of recently weaned subadults. The results will improve understanding of morphological evolution across a critical behavioral transition in human prehistory, and more broadly, of the relationship between technology, behavior, and skeletal gracilization during the evolution of the genus Homo.
Maranda, Dr. Pierre, Universite Laval, Quebec, Canada - To aid preparation of the unpublished research materials of Dr. Elli Kongas Maranda for archival deposit with the Musee de la Civilisation, Quebec, Canada
Barham, Dr. Lawrence, U. of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK -To aid 10th CHaGS conference on 'Resilience and Vulnerability in Hunter-Gatherer Research,' 2013, U. of Liverpool, in collaboration with Dr. Thomas Widlok
Preliminary abstract: In 2013 it will be 10 years since the last international conference on hunting and gathering societies took place. The proposed 10th Conference on Hunting and Gathering Societies, CHaGS 10, provides a forum for the research results that have since emerged in a field which continues to be one of the few domains in anthropology where research across all four anthropological subdisciplines takes place. The main theme of the conference to be held in Liverpool, UK, is 'Resilience and Vulnerability' which is highly relevant to hunter-gatherer research but also more generally in a world struggling with economic, cultural and ecological turmoil. In its 20 panels CHaGS 10 will seek to show what the world in general and hunter-gatherer research in particular might learn from some of the most resilient but also most vulnerable of societies past and present. The conference will include fresh empirical input on the current state of hunter-gatherer research in the context of resilience and vulnerability, and it will also provide room for discussions concerning methodological innovations for current and future research in this domain that has decreasing opportunities for conventional field research. There is no anthropological association, nor any other conference that would be in the position to fulfil this role and ChaGS 10 will provide the opportunity to create the institutional tools, in terms of an academic organization and in terms of a regular publication outlet, that ensure the continuity of hunter-gatherer research into the future
Pontzer, Dr. Herman, Washington U., St. Louis, MO - To aid research on 'Metabolic Cost of Living in Bonobos'
DR. HERMAN PONTZER, Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri, was awarded a grant in April 2009, to aid research on 'Metabolic Cost of Living in Bonobos.' The way in which a species uses energy tells us a lot about its ecology, physiology, and evolution. This study provided the first direct measures of daily energy expenditure in chimpanzees and gorillas. The chimpanzee sample (n=17) was drawn from adults and juveniles living at the Tchimpounga Chimpanzee Sanctuary in the Republic of Congo; the gorilla sample (n=6) was drawn from the population housed at the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago. Daily energy expenditure, measured as kilocalories per day, was measured over a two-week period using the doubly labeled water method. Results indicate that chimpanzees and gorillas use remarkably little energy for their body size. This low metabolic rate is similar to that recently reported for orangutans, and suggests that chimpanzees and gorillas have evolved a risk-minimizing strategy that reduces their food requirements and thereby lowers their risk of starvation in food-poor times. Further, the low rate of energy expenditure in chimpanzees and gorillas corresponds to their low rate of reproduction. These results also provide an evolutionary perspective on human metabolism. Human metabolic rates are considerably higher than those of apes, suggesting humans have evolved a high-throughput metabolic strategy to fuel our higher rate of reproduction and larger brains.
Scelza, Dr. Brooke Anne, U. of California, Los Angeles, CA - To aid research on 'Female Social Support in Productive and Reproductive Domains'
DR. BROOKE A. SCELZA, University of California, Los Angeles, California, was awarded a grant in April 2011 to aid research on 'Female Social Support in Productive Reproductive Domains.' Women around the world strive to balance the dual demands of production and reproduction. Often, they rely on one another for support in these endeavors. Previous research has shown that support networks are critical to the health and well-being of women and their children. However, many previous studies relied on general self-reported measures of support and made broad correlations between support and health outcomes. The goal of this research was to offer an anthropological complement to existing research by providing a thorough understanding of why supportive relationships arise and thrive between particular individuals, how support networks change across the lifespan, and what the behavioral pathways are that lead to improvements in maternal and child health. These relationships were studied among the Himba, a highly traditional group of Namibian pastoralists. Life history interviews and health measurements were collected on more than 200 individuals. The data show that women have complex support relationships, which change according to age and marital status. The number and sex of their children, how many co-wives they have, and whether they are currently married all affect how much help women receive and their nutritional status. Children were also found to be integral parts of the support network.
Gallagher, Dr. Andrew, U. of Witwatersrand Medical School, Johannesburg, South Africa - To aid conference on 'African Genesis': A celebration of Taung hominid and the career of Phillip Tobias, 2006, Johannesburg, in collaboration with Dr. Colin Menter
The African Genesis Symposium convened in Johannesburg, South Africa, January 8-14, 2006, and focussed on critical issues relating to the origins, divergence and radiation of early and later hominids in the African Continent. More than 70 International Delegates (invited participants, scholars, and students) attended the Symposium as did South African scholars, students, interested amateurs, and members of the public. The opening cocktail party coincided with the opening of a temporary gallery of original fossil hominids and casts of recent discoveries in Africa and West Asia. The scientific programme and subsequent discussion sessions were both stimulating and profitable. The first colloquium included presentations by Professor Michel Brunet, Professor Martin Pickford and Professor Brigitte Senut on the spectacular new discoveries of early hominids from Chad and Kenya. Presentations by Professor Bill Jungers and Professor Dean Falk considered aspects of the functional morphology and palaeobiology of Homo floresiensis and its bearing on earlier hominids. Professor David Lordkipanidze and Professor Philip Rightmire detailed the morphological and evolutionary significance of the earliest hominids from Dmanisi, Georgia. Professor Fred Spoor presented evidence of new discoveries of Australopithecus and Homo from the Pliocene and Pleistocene of the Lake Turkana basin.
To support the development of a doctoral program in anthropology at Universidad Nacional de Cordoba, Cordoba, Argentina - Institutional Development Grant
The Museum of Anthropology of Córdoba, Argentina, supported by the IDG of the Wenner-Gren Foundation, will develop a doctoral program to prepare professionals for research and academic education in Anthropological Sciences, with specialized training in the three classic sub-areas of research: Social Anthropology, Archaeology and Bioanthropology. The Museum will also benefit from collaborations with the Laboratory of Biological Anthropology of the University of Kansas, the Department of Anthropology of the University of Wyoming and Postgraduate Program in Social Anthropology and Sociology at the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil the Museum.
The Doctoral program will focus on intensive theoretical and practical training to produce professionals who will be able to undertake independent research projects, exercise leadership of scientific research teams, communicate their research results, and teach at the university. It is hoped that through this program the students will also acquire various experiences in diverse academic contexts and form external relationship which will open possibilities for exchange and dialogue with other anthropologists, while generating their own future networks. It is hoped that this would impact positively on their education and in their personal and institutional performance.
The existence of a Postgraduate Program in Anthropological Sciences at Córdoba opens up the possibility of continuity in the training of graduate students and their integration into the teaching and research activities. This in turn will provide more opportunities for graduates of other neighboring Argentina provinces, where there is no such possibility of postgraduate training. This also will extend the possibilities of bringing the practice of anthropology to non academic realms, responding to a continuous growing demand in the region.