CHES Alum Emily Lynch New Position

Lynch Emily picCHES Alumna (2016) Emily Lynch, whose dissertation research was focused on baboons, has just been hired as Associate Curator of Research at the North Carolina Zoo. In her new position, Dr. Lynch will oversee all zoo-based research as part of the Education, Science, and Conservation Department. She will be responsible for coordinating zoo animal welfare research and monitoring, as well as conducting original research at the zoo. In addition, the position includes administering the zoo's research internship program with North Carolina State University, working with undergrad and graduate students as they conduct behavioral and observational studies on the animals. Congratulations, Emily!

Pat Shipman lecture

ShipmanDr. Pat Shipman (Pennsylvania State University) gave a lecture today on "Dogs and People and Dingoes." This was a fascinating presentation of human-canid coevolution and interaction, the domestication process, the global spread of Homo sapiens into Europe and Australia and the role canids played (and did not play) in the unfolding of those events. One of Dr. Shipman's ideas is that dogs provided anatomically modern humans a hunting advantage over the archaic humans they encountered, and may have contributed to the disappearance of Neanderthals, as described in her book The Invaders.

CHES Grad Affiliate Awarded Leakey Grant

BrittainCHES PhD Student Rebecca Brittain just received a grant from the L.S.B. Leakey Foundation to support her research: "The Role of the Gut Microbiome in Digestion and Energy Production in Wild Bornean Orangutans Across Shifting Nutritional Landscapes.” Becca is currently in Indonesia doing this research. She is also the recipient of the CHES Albert Fellows Doctoral Dissertation Research Grant. Congratulations Becca!

CHES Alum Darcy Shapiro New Position

CHES Alumna (2016),Shapiro Darcy Shapiro, was just hired as Content Manager for Complexly, a media production company that creates YouTube content.  Complexly was behind some of the biggest educational channels (like SciShow and CrashCourse.  In her new position, Darcy will be working on the PBS Eons YouTube channel, which just passed one million subscribers, along with developing new shows.  Darcy initially started as a freelancer script writer for Eons in August 2018, working on episodes for the human evolution learning playlist, then became a part-time editor/writer in April 2019, collaborating with other freelancer writers on developing their pitches, outlines, and episode scripts for new videos about natural history.  Darcy is very excited to use her evolutionary anthropology expertise to create the kind of accurate, engaging science communication content that brings the story of our evolution to life. Congrats Darcy!

Carel van Schaik lecture

van SchaikCarel van Schaik (Director, Anthropological Institute, University of Zürich) gave a lecture today on cognition in orangutans. He focused on how curiosity (or rather, a fascinating apparent deficit in curiosity in orangutans), social experience when young, and ecological conditions help to explain the advanced cognitive and innovative skills of this Great Ape. Part of Dr. van Schaik's discussion also focused on very interesting differences between the Sumatran and Bornean species of orangutans, as well as the contributions of research on orangutans in captivity and in rehabilitation centers in Indonesia.

CHES Grad Affiliate Brittain Gets Grant


CHES Graduate Affiliate Rebecca Brittain just received a grant from the American Institute for Indonesian Studies (AIFIS) Henry Luce Foundation. These funds will help to support the dissertation research that Becca is currently doing in Indonesia, "The Role of the Gut Microbiome in Digestion and Energy Production In Wild Borenean Orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus wurmbii)." Becca is also supported by a CHES Albert Fellows Doctoral Dissertation Research Grant. Congratulations, Becca!

Third Lembersky Conference Success

CHES Lembersky Conference 2019A highly successful Third Lembersky Conference ended today. Organized by Erin Vogel (CHES Faculty Member) and Jessica Rothman (Hunter College), the program in primate nutritional ecology, energetics, and health included presentations by 22 scholars including CHES members Gloria Dominguez-Bello, Dan Hoffman, Dominique Raboin, and Erin Vogel, as well as CHES Alumni (now pursuing postdocs) Tim Bransford and Mareike Janiak. What was especially stimulating were the discussions among all of the participants and audience members.

CHES alum Dr. Tim Bransford begins Postdoc

BransfordTim Bransford successfully defended his dissertation less than two months ago, and has now begun working with Dr. Mitch Irwin as a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Anthropology at Northern Illinois University. For his dissertation, Tim investigated the energetics and nutrition of wild mother orangutans during lactation. For this postdoc, Tim will be continuing work on primate nutrition, but this time with various species of lemurs found at Tsinjoarivo, Madagascar. One of his early projects will be studying the diet of the bamboo lemur, which includes foods very high in the deadly chemical cyanide. This primate’s daily intake of cyanide is four times greater than the amount that would kill a human and twelve times higher than the dose that would kill a similarly sized primate. How do these lemurs manage to handle such high levels of this toxin? Tim’s research will provide some answers. We wish Tim the best of luck!

Grad Affiliate Fred Foster Publishes Paper on Dental Evolution


CHES PhD student Fred Foster just published with coauthor P.J. Constantino a paper testing the hypothesis that wear resistance of tooth enamel changes as a tooth is worn down. Fred and his collaborator applied the microscratch test to the surface of three transverse sections cut through molars from an olive baboon, each of which simulated different degrees of microwear. The research, funded by CHES, showed that as macrowear accrues, the ability of baboon tooth enamel to resist microwear changes, such that a moderate degree of macrwear offers the best resistance to microwear. In the first use of helium ion microscopy to study tooth enamel, Fred imaged prism orientation at each of the three sample surfaces, which generated evidence suggesting different mechanical processes may be involved in the removal of enamel due to microwear, depending on the extent of microwear. The paper can be found at:

Foster, F.R. and Constantino, P.J. 2019. Macrowear and the mechanical behavior of enamel. In: Dental Wear in Evolutionary and Biocultural Contexts (C.B. Schmidt and J.T. Watson, editors). Elsevier, Amsterdam.

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