CHES Graduate Affiliates

Fred Foster

Foster v1Advisor: Dr. Rob Scott

Academic Background

I received my Bachelor of Engineering from the University of Victoria in 2006 where I focused on mechanical engineering, and my Bachelor of Arts in Archaeology, with honors, from Simon Fraser University in 2010. I completed my Masters of Science, with distinction, at the University College of London in 2012. My Masters project considered the ranging behavior of Homo erectus at Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania, by looking at stone raw material transport.

Research Interests

My general research interests include sympatry, ecology, and dietary adaptation in hominin evolution. More specifically, I am interested in understanding how variation in the morphology of tooth enamel reflects dietary differences across species. I try to identify signals of adaptation by comparing the structure of enamel with dietary ecology in extant primates, to ultimately improve our ability to infer diet in fossil species.

Climate and human evolution; hominin diet and ontogeny; Bayesian statistics


My dissertation research draws upon my background in engineering to describe the mechanical behavior of enamel using methods from material science. I nanoindentation to determine how the mechanical properties of enamel vary within teeth, and compare this with microstructural changes imaged using helium ion microscopy and chemical compositional changes determined using electron microprobe analysis. I am also work as a research assistant with my advisor on controlled feeding study that examines microwear patterns on enamel that are generated by different types of particles in the diet.


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