Student News

Prof. Dominy and Dartmouth Alumni's Paper Published

The paper published in the ISME Journal (International Society for Microbial Ecology) on July 12, 2018, stems from work by two ex-Dartmouth students, Jill Britton ’14 and Katie Amato ’07, and Charles Hansen Professor of Anthropology Nathaniel J. Dominy. Some of the data in this paper was supported by the Goodman fund, when an undergrad grant was awarded to Jill Britton in 2011.

"Evolutionary trends in host physiology outweigh dietary niche in structuring primate gut microbiomes"

2017-18 Honor Theses

Students applying to the honors program must meet the minimum College requirements of a 3.0 grade point average and a 3.3 grade point average in the major. By the end of the third term preceding their graduation, applicants will ordinarily have completed, with a minimum grade of A-, a preparatory reading course (ANTH 85) and will have submitted an Honors thesis proposal for work to be supervised by a primary faculty advisor. Admission to the program is by vote of the Department faculty, which may appoint one or more secondary advisors.

The honors project, which culminates in a substantial independent thesis, will be submitted to the primary advisor at least four weeks prior to graduation. Those students completing the program with a grade of A- or higher in their honors course will receive honors recognition in the major. High honors may be awarded by faculty vote for truly exceptional work.

The 2017-18 submissions had varied and interesting topics.

Valedictorians and Salutatorians were named

Four Valedictorians and six Salutatorians were named by the College this year.  They’re at the top of the class, Valedictorians earn a perfect 4.0 grade point average and Salutatorians ear no less than a 3.99 grade point average. Two of this highly accomplished group of students added anthropology to their studies.  The information in this post is from the article: "Four Valedictorians and Six Salutatorians Are Named"  published in June 08, 2018  by Charlotte Albright from Dartmouth News.

Climbing the Walls With Dartmouth’s Bouldering Team

Team member Michael Everett ’19 likes bouldering because it marries muscles to mind. “It’s intellectual, but not academic,” he says. Yet he sees a connection between climbing and his academic pursuits. An anthropology major, Everett is so interested in the way climbers use their hands and feet that he has begun studying the phalanges (what we would call our fingers and toes) on fossilized remains of early humans. He’ll do field work on his second trip to South Africa this winter with Jeremy DeSilva, associate professor of anthropology, and Nathaniel Dominy, the Charles Hansen Professor of Anthropology.

Click here to read the full article at Dartmouth News

Bipedalism: The Science of Upright Walking - edX

Have you ever wondered why humans walk on two legs rather than four? In this course, we will explore how science investigates this unusual form of locomotion. We will start our investigation by looking at the mechanics of upright walking in humans and comparing that to bipedal locomotion in large birds, bears, and apes.

Learn more about the course and enroll.

Study: Stress Can Jeopardize Health of Mothers and Children

Zaneta Thayer ’08 is concerned about stress, though not her own. As a biological anthropologist, she studies how stress shapes patterns of human biology and health.

“The thing I focus on most is the social environment, how factors such as poverty and racial discrimination can impact human biology and, in turn, shape health,” says Thayer, an assistant professor of anthropology.

Read the full article in Dartmouth News.

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.

Anthropology Students Digging Cool Things and Making Fire

Students digging up skeletons of New England mammals in Belchertown State Forest (Massachusetts) in late August of this year. These skeletons have been accessioned into the collections in Prof. DeSilva's laboratory thanks to the work of these students. They are: Ellie McNutt, Cindy Ramirez, Jessica Kittelberger, and Sarah Miller. In the foreground are skeletons of bobcats and coyotes. 


The Anthropology 70 class having an x-hour fire at the organic farm last night. In order to teach about the importance of fire in human evolution, they made a fire. Simple enough, but fun and an important bonding experience as they were preparing for their trip to South Africa over the winterim.

Dartmouth students discover early human fossil in South Africa

On their second day of excavating at the 2 million year-old site of Malapa, South Africa, a team of Dartmouth students recovered a fossil of Australopithecus sediba, an early human predecessor. The fifteen Dartmouth students are participants in ANTH 70: Experiencing Human Origins and Evolution. The course entails a 3-week excursion in South Africa—an emerging model for experiential learning at Dartmouth, supported by DCAL and the President’s Office.

In this photo are (left to right): Kathy Li ‘17, Lee Berger, Keira Byno ‘19, Maropeng Mpete, Jerry DeSilva, and Julia Cohen ’18.