IMG 3231Last night's "Featured Research" Evening highlighted the research CHES Graduate Affiliate Fred Foster is doing on the microstructure and mechanical behavior of primate tooth enamel. Fred is applying methods from material science engineering to look inside the teeth of extant primates and link fine details of dental structure to functional (adaptive) properties that help teeth resist failure or damage when chewing challenging foods. The research will shed much light on dietary ecology in primates, but ultimately Fred will carry the insights he gains to the hominin fossil record, where he will address and resolve questions about the evolution of teeth and diets of extinct hominins.