Ian Speers '17 awarded fellowships to work with Americares in Africa

Ian Speers '17 is the recipient of funding from two fellowships to continue his anthropological work after graduating from Dartmouth.

Speers was awarded the Richard D. Lombard '53 Public Service Fellowship and the Paul L. '83 and Neil McGorrian Fellowship to complete a global health and emergency response fellowship with Americares. The Lombard Public Service Fellowship is administered by the Dickey Center for International Understanding and the Dartmouth Center for Service and the Paul and Neil McGorrian Fellowship is administered through Scholarship Advising.

Americares is an NGO that focuses on emergency response, community health, access to medicine, and clinical programs - a great opportunity for Speers to merge his passions for global health programs, medicine, emergency response, and medical anthropology.

Quote of the Day - June 6, 2017 Chelsey Kivland

I had assumed that the small lump in my breast was a blocked milk duct from nursing my seven-month-old son. The news that I had stage 2 breast cancer stunned.

“But it’s not in my family,” I told the radiologist. “And I have a healthy lifestyle! Why did I get breast cancer?”

In one way or another, friends and relatives here in the U.S. asked the same question. Why had this happened to me? Their explanations coalesced around a single point: bad genes.

But when I told my friends and host family in Haiti, where I’ve been studying social and political life for the past decade, their reactions were different.

Read the full article on The Conversation.

Behind our Diplomas

When interviewing staff, I took note of symbols perhaps before taking note of stories. While a Dartmouth-crested polo commands uniformity in a way that makes a staff member seamlessly blend into the background, a wedding ring, Boston Red Sox hat and wrist tattoo reaffirm personhood and individuality.

I learned a great deal about perspective in these interviews. Consider the Green. We see a space where students lounge between classes, where tours traverse with visitors, where a farmer’s market gathers in warm months. On the other hand, staff see a space where underground sprinkler systems cross like road maps, where re-seeding is done frequently, where constant maintenance is needed to keep up appearances.

Read the full article in The Dartmouth.

New South African Fossils Add to the Story of Human Evolution

New fossils from the species Homo naledi add to an earlier trove of fossils whose discovery was announced in 2015. Jeremy DeSilva, an associate professor in the Department of Anthropology, was a member of the international team that analyzed the fossils, and he talks about what the new findings mean for scientists’ understanding of human evolution.

Read the article in Dartmouth News.

Quote of the Day - May 9, 2017 Zaneta Thayer '08

Racism may not be a disease, exactly. But a growing body of research finds that it has lasting physical and mental effects on its victims.

Physicist and social justice crusader Albert Einstein once referred to American racism as a "disease of white people." He was speaking metaphorically, but a host of research in recent years has shown that racism, like a disease, can harm the physical health of both its victims and its perpetrators. Now, the results of a national survey find that children who experience racism appear to be at higher risk of anxiety and depression, and tend to have poorer health in general.

Read the article in the Smithsonian.

Quote of the Day - May 1, 2017 Jeremy DeSilva

Modern humans give birth in a way quite different from how their primate relatives do it, according to research described in the book "Human Birth: An Evolutionary Perspective" (1987, Aldine Transaction) by Wanda Trevathan. This is likely because of both the unusually large size of the modern human brain and the way a woman's pelvis is positioned for upright walking, Trevathan wrote. Understanding the way in which human childbirth evolved could also shed light on how unique human traits such as large brains and upright postures emerged over time.

Read the full article in LiveScience.

Quote of the Day - April 3, 2017 Sergei Kan

"The Russian era was about paternalistic control, but the Russian goal was not to transform life radically, but to harness the people for economic purposes," Sergei Kan, tells the "New York Times," in an article about the transition from Russian to American possession of Alaska. "With the Americans, it was accompanied with a much more forceful Westernization." Read the full article.

 

Hunter-gatherer residential mobility and the marginal value of rainforest patches

Check out this new paper by a team of Dartmouth anthropologists: Hunter-gatherer residential mobility and the marginal value of rainforest patches

Significance

Hunter-gatherers are notable for their high levels of mobility, but the ecological and social cues that determine the timing of camp movements (residential mobility) are poorly understood. Using models from foraging theory, we found that, for one population of hunter-gatherers, camp movements coincided with the point at which resource acquisition declined to a critical threshold level, but before local resources were completely depleted. These results suggest that hunter-gatherer residential mobility is constrained in a predictable fashion by rates of local resource depletion.

Abstract

ANTH 70 Students Make a Remarkable Discovery in South Africa

It’s not every day that a couple of college students discover a fossilized piece of bone likely to have come from a 2-million-year-old ancestor. But that’s what Keira Byno ’19, Julia Cohen ’18, and Kathleen Li ’17 did this winter during a three-week field trip to South Africa for their anthropology class, “Experiencing Human Origins and Evolution.”  

Read the full article in Dartmouth News.

BBC quotes Sam Gochman '18, Anthro major

BBC's story "Our ancestors were drinking alcohol before they were human" discusses "It is possible to trace the evolution of boozing back to the common ancestor of humans and chimpanzees". Sam Gochman '18, Anthro major, is quoted. 

Samuel R. Gochman, a student at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, and his team offered aye-ayes a choice of liquid foods made of sugar water and varying concentrations of alcohol (0 to 5%). The two captive aye-ayes could differentiate between the different alcoholic foods. They preferred to drink from the containers with higher alcohol doses of 3 and 5% over those with 1% and zero alcohol.

When the containers holding higher alcohol contents had run out, the aye-ayes continued to compulsively dip and lick their fingers. "This suggests that they really like those concentrations," says Gochman.

But the animals did not show any obvious signs of inebriation, which goes back to their ability to breakdown alcohol because of a super-efficient ADH4 enzyme.

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