Faculty News

Amanda Tan Receives Early Career Award

Global South Scholar and Postdoctoral Research Fellow Amanda Tan has been awarded the American Society of Primatologists (ASP) Deb Moore Award for Early Career Primatologists. It honors "exceptional early career researchers who demonstrate their passion and dedication for extending knowledge through original research of primates in their natural environment."

Dr. Tan is working with Prof. Dominy on a collaborative project entitled "Using stable isotopes to discern the advantages of tool-mediated shellfish exploitation in a monkey model system".

Quote of the Day - 8/18/17 William Fitzhugh

From the Washington Post:

In 1845, two of the best ships England could build set off on a quest to find the fabled Northwest Passage — then vanished without a trace.

The mystery enthralled a generation of adventurers. No one could believe that the pride of the British Royal Navy, commanded by the legendary Sir John Franklin, had fallen victim to nature's wild menace. Convinced that there must be survivors, and tempted by the promise of a reward of 20,000 pounds from Franklin's wife, Jane, the best explorers of the era converged on the Arctic.

But 15 years after Franklin went missing, nearly 20 rescue attempts had turned up only bones and wreckage, and more people had died searching for the missing men than had been lost on Franklin's original voyage.

Find out how a newspaper publisher from the midwest became involved in the search.

What are the Arts and Sciences? A Guide for the Curious

What, exactly, are the arts and sciences? That’s the question Dan Rockmore, the William H. Neukom 1964 Distinguished Professor of Computational Science, asked himself and 26 other faculty members this year. Each answer grew into a chapter for a book he edited, called, as you might expect, What Are the Arts and Sciences? A Guide for the Curious (Dartmouth College Press, 2017).

Read the full article in Dartmouth News.

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.

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 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.

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

Vivek V. Venkataraman, Thomas S. Kraft, Nathaniel J. Dominy and Kirk M. Endicott

PNAS March 6, 2017. 201617542; published ahead of print March 6, 2017. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1617542114

Edited by Robert L. Kelly, University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY, and accepted by Editorial Board Member James O’Connell January 17, 2017 (received for review November 9, 2016)


Anthropology Day!

February 16, 2017 is Anthropology Day!

It's an opportunity for anthropologists around the globe to share their enthusiasm for the discipline with the people around them

At Dartmouth, we'll be celebrating the day by opening our labs and offices for demonstrations and discussions about archaeology, biological anthropology, and cultural anthropology. If you can't make one of the open houses, stop by the fourth floor of Silsby Hall for a bite to eat and chat with the faculty about the discipline, about research opportunities and your own interest in Anthropology.

Here's the schedule of events for the day:

9:00-11:00a – Open house in the Human Evolution Lab – Silsby 013

View Dartmouth’s growing collection of hominid fossils and speak with EEES graduate student Ellie McNutt

9:30-11:30a – Open house in the Archaeology Teaching Lab - Silsby 317

Discuss what’s old and what’s new around the world with Dartmouth’s own archaeologists Profs. Deborah Nichols and Jesse Casana

1:00-3:00p – Open house in the Biological Anthropology Lab – Silsby 318

Quote of the Day - 1/20/17: Nathaniel Dominy

From the February 2017 issue of National Geographic:

The story of humanity’s love affair with alcohol goes back to a time before farming—to a time before humans, in fact. Our taste for tipple may be a hardwired evolutionary trait that distinguishes us from most other animals.

The active ingredient common to all alcoholic beverages is made by yeasts: microscopic, single-celled organisms that eat sugar and excrete carbon dioxide and ethanol, the only potable alcohol. That’s a form of fermentation. Most modern makers of beer, wine, or sake use cultivated varieties of a single yeast genus called Saccharomyces (the most common is S. cerevisiae, from the Latin word for “beer,” cerevisia). But yeasts are diverse and ubiquitous, and they’ve likely been fermenting ripe wild fruit for about 120 million years, ever since the first fruits appeared on Earth.

From our modern point of view, ethanol has one very compelling property: It makes us feel good. Ethanol helps release serotonin, dopamine, and endorphins in the brain, chemicals that make us happy and less anxious.