Faculty News

Artist on Campus: Tibetan and Himalayan Lifeworlds

A new exhibit in the Baker-Berry Library at Dartmouth, Tibetan and Himalayan Lifeworlds, provides a window onto the unique culture and environment of the ‘Roof of the World.’ This exhibit explores the social and religious practices that shape life in Asia’s high mountain environments, explores the political history of the region, and describes some of the encounters between foreigners and Himalayan and Tibetan people over time. The exhibit has been curated by Senior Lecturer Kenneth Bauer and Associate Professor Sienna Craig, who have lived and worked in the region for decades.

Tibetan and Himalayan Lifeworlds is enriched by the presence on campus of artist Tenzin Norbu. Born in 1970 in the Himalayan region of Dolpo, Nepal, Norbu studied traditional thangka painting as well as Buddhism from his father, following a lineage of painters that dates back more than 400 years. He is now one of the leading figures in contemporary Tibetan art.  In addition to being a painter and lama (religious and community leader), Norbu is a social entrepreneur, encouraging education and sustainable development in one of Nepal’s most remote districts.

Dartmouth SYNERGY: Improving Community Health Through Local Research Partnerships

With their SYNEGY Community Engagement Research Pilot Award, Elizabeth Carpenter-Song, PhD (left), a research assistant professor of anthropology at Dartmouth and at The Dartmouth Institute, and Sara Kobylenski, MSW (right), executive director of the Upper Valley Haven, are working together to improve mental health care in the region. (photo by Jon Gilbert Fox)

Their pilot award winning project seeks to develop some key recommendations and strategies that can be used to improve mental health in the region.

Professor Dominy's new paper: Frankenstein and the Horrors of Competitive Exclusion

The bicentennial celebration of the inception of Frankenstein invites the present view of Victor Frankenstein and his fateful decision to destroy an unfinished female creature. The act itself was impulsive (caused by a “sensation of madness”), but it was preceded by agonized reasoning that would be familiar to any student of ecology or evolutionary biology. Here, we present a formal treatment of Frankenstein's reasoning and show that his rationale for denying a mate to his male creation has empirical justification. Our results suggest that the decision was prudent because it averted our own extinction by competitive exclusion. We ­conclude by suggesting that the central ­horror of Mary Shelley's novel lies in its ­prescient command of foundational concepts in ecology and evolution.

Also read these interesting articles on this subject!

Smithsonian magazine:

Scientists Find That Frankenstein’s Monster Could Have Wiped Out Humanity

The Telegraph:

Opening Address by Kivland at Violence Against Difference Conference

A collection of evening activities on Friday, Nov. 4, including a reception and a student poster session highlighting research on human rights, will kick off the annual Physicians for Human Rights Student Conference being held at the Geisel School of Medicine on Nov. 5. The topic of this year’s conference is Violence Against Difference.

Saturday’s opening address on structural violence, by Assistant Professor of Anthropology Chelsey Kivland, opens the day of discussions and breakout sessions. Structural violence, as opposed to behavioral violence, refers to the subtle and often invisible ways in which social structures can harm or cause disadvantage to people. The concepts set forth by Kivland will be interwoven throughout the day’s presentations and discussions.

Prof. Dominy quoted in a science article in The New York Times

Professor Dominy, an evolutionary biologist at Dartmouth College, was quoted in The New York Times science article "A 3.2-Million-Year-Old Mystery: Did Lucy Fall From a Tree?". Read the full article here!

Lucy’s skeleton at the National Museum of Ethiopia in 2013, after its five-year tour of the United States.

Credit: Jenny Vaughan/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images


Genomic Analyses of Colugos and Treeshrews

A new paper in Science Advances is co-authored by a team of researchers, including Professor Dominy and a former post-doc in the department, Amanda Melin, who is now a Professor at the University of Calgary. The paper reports on the genomes of colugos and pen-tailed treeshrews, and reinforces the hypothesized sister relationship between colugos and primates, a contested grouping called Primatomorpha.

Check out the paper on Science Advances:

Prof. DeSilva Quoted in The New Yorker's "Digging For Glory"

The New Yorker's June 27 Profiles story "Digging For Glory" includes a quote from Anthropology Professor Jeremy DeSilva, who collaborated with Lee Berger, the featured paleoanthropologist of the story. 

Jeremy DeSilva recalls that when he visited Wits in 2009 Berger offered to open the fossil vault. “A lot of people in our business are petrified to be wrong,” DeSilva told me. “You have to be willing to be wrong. What Lee is doing takes that to another level.”

Check out the complete story here!

“It’s a competitive sport,” Lee Berger says of paleoanthropology. The field is split between those who consider him a visionary for sharing his fossil data and those who worry that he places showmanship over rigor.

BBC World Service interviews Professor Dominy

How primates developed a taste for alcohol

Not only do some primates actively seek out nectar with the highest alcohol content, according to new research, but those who can handle their drink have an evolutionary edge. Newsday's Julian Keane found out why from Anthropology Professor Nathaniel J.Dominy, co-author of the recent publication "Alcohol discrimination and preferences in two species of nectar-feeding primate" by Sam Gochman '18.

Click here to listen to Professor Dominy's interview with BBC World Service! 

(Picture: 3 month old aye-aye on a branch. Credit: David Haring, Duke Lemur Center).


Also check out Sam Gochman '18 and Professor Dominy's exciting publication: "Alcohol discrimination and preferences in two species of nectar-feeding primate"!


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!"