The Leakey Foundation Introduced Thomas Kraft as Spring 2016 Grantee

The Leakey Foundation held its Spring Granting Session on April 30, 2016. The Board of Trustees unanimously approved thirty-two research grant proposals for funding this cycle.

Thomas Kraft, Ph.D. student in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology at Dartmouth College, is one of the grantees. His proposal, "Shifting co-residence and interaction patterns in a transitioning hunter-gatherer society", was categorized as behavioral. 

Here are some numbers from the Spring 2016 Granting Cycle published on the Leakey Foundation website:

There were 135 applications for research grants this cycle. This is the most they have ever received for a cycle- approximately 30% more than their typical cycle.

38% of the proposals were categorized as behavioral, and 62% were paleoanthropology.

631 reviews were submitted to their grants department this cycle.

"We would like to congratulate all of our new grantees, and we look forward to sharing news and information about them and their research along the way!" 

Vivek Venkataraman receives Hannah T. Croasdale Award

Dr. Venkataraman has been selected as one of this year's two recipients of the Hannah T. Croasdale Award. The award is made to graduating Ph.D. students who best exemplify the qualities of a scholar. The committee selected this year's recipients as scholars who possess intellectual curiosity, a dedicated commitment to the pursuit of new knowledge, a strong interest in teaching, and a sense of social responsibility to the academic community. These are all qualities that characterized Dr. Croasdale's exemplary life and career.

The Award was established in honor of Dr. Hannah T. Croasdale who studied and taught for more than 40 years in what is now the Department of Biological Sciences at Dartmouth. She began at Dartmouth in 1935, worked her way up through the ranks, and retired at the rank of full Professor in 1971. She pioneered the role of women faculty at Dartmouth by being the first woman to move through the ranks to the level of full Professor.

We wish Vivek the very best as he departs for his new role as College Fellow in the Department of Human Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University.

What weaponized Sharks Teeth can Tell Us about Coral Reefs in Pre-Colonial Kiribati

Joshua Drew
Lecturer and M.A. Program Advisor
Columbia University
May 21, 2016 - 4:00p – Rockefeller 003

The Department of Anthropology and Hood Museum of Art are pleased to co-host a talk by Professor Josh Drew of Columbia University. His research is unusually integrative, crossing the disciplines of anthropology, historical ecology, fisheries biology, and conservation biology. In 2013, he published a study based on 19th Century shark-tooth weapons accessioned in natural history museums (link to paper). This analysis revealed species composition shifts in predator assemblages around the Gilbert Islands, Kiribati and received widespread media attention.

Quoted: Nathaniel Dominy on Chimps Shopping Like Humans

“The supreme dexterity of the human hand is unsurpassed among mammals, a fact that is often linked to early tool use,” says Professor of Anthropology Nathaniel Dominy in a Tribune India story about how chimpanzees are able to evaluate and pick out figs in the same way humans shop for fruits.

Read more: Chimps shop like humans: Study

Pinching Figs Could Help Explain The Origin Of Our Fine Motor Skills

Check out this interesting article by Josh L Davis on IFLScience

photo credit: The ability of chimps to pinch and squeeze figs could help explain why humans have such impressive dexterity. Alain Houle


One of the key features that allowed humans as a species to develop and dominate was our ability to craft complex stone tools. This skill is in turn underpinned by our fine motor control skills and the precise movement of our fingers. How we first gained this aptitude has remained somewhat of a mystery, but a new study may shed some light.

Quoted: Professor Laura Ogden on the Everglades and the Gladesmen

"When Everglades National Park was established it was pretty dramatic for people who lived in the southern part of the Everglades," says Associate Professor of Anthropology Laura Ogden in a WGCU story about Everglades National Park and its plan to end the use of private airboats in the 109,000-acre East Everglades Expansion Area, which became part of the park almost 30 years ago.

Check out the complete story by Topher Forhecz HERE!

NSF Picks 17 from Dartmouth for Research Fellowships

Seventeen Dartmouth students and alumni have been awarded National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowships (GRF) for 2016, and another nine received honorable mentions. The Dartmouth winners were among the 2,000 selected from 17,000 applicants nationwide.

Aylin Woodward ’15, left, and Nina Maksimova ’15 were on campus when they received the news from the National Science Foundation (Photo by Eli Burakian ’00)

Q&A with Andres Mejia-Ramon '16: Stamps Scholar and Seeker of Ancient Canals

Andrés Mejía-Ramón '16, one of the inaugural Penelope W. and E. Roe Stamps IV Leadership Scholar Awards recipients, will soon find out if the archaeological council of the Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, Mexico has granted permission to Agustín Ortiz Butrón, Luis Barba, and himself to excavate features he has been analyzing since 2013. "You'd be surprised", says Mejía-Ramón, "how hard it is obtaining permission to dig. As of late, a lot of the work has been being patient in waiting."

The Stamps Scholar Award has allowed Mejía-Ramón, a physics and anthropology double major, to finance a study of the paleohydrology of the Teotihuacán Valley. Teotihuacán is an ancient Mesoamerican city in Mexico that Mejía-Ramón believes thrived agriculturally through its own intricate system of canals. Using satellite imagery and geophysical prospection, Mejía-Ramón has spent the last two years studying the region to locate these canals. He has worked with Deborah Nichols, the William J. Bryant 1925 Professor of Anthropology at Dartmouth, and other faculty from Boston University and the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México.

"Last on the Warpath": The Spirit and Intent of Action Anthropology

On Thursday, April 14 at 4:30 pm (in Rm 315 Silsby) there will be a joint Anthropology/NAS-sponsored colloquium by Joshua Smith entitled:

'Last on the Warpath': The Spirit and Intent of Action Anthropology 

Joshua Smith received his Ph.D. in anthropology last year from the University of Western Ontario and is currently a Post-doctoral Fellow in American Studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.  Smith's dissertation, bearing the same title as his colloquium talk, dealt with the history of American anthropology and its engagement with Native American activism as exemplified by a well-known US anthropologist Sol Tax (1907-1995).