NEWS FROM OHIO STATEâ€™S DEPARTMENT OF
ANTHROPOLOGY SUMMER 2017
WELCOME Greetings Alumni, Faculty and Students! In the following pages, we provide you with an accounting of some of the high points of the work, study, research and engagement that the department has undertaken since I last communicated with you more than a year ago. This issue is especially close to me because it will be my last as department chair, concluding an incredible 16 years leading the department from one of relatively small size and stature to one that has accomplished major growth and acclaim. Since I began the position as chair in the summer of 2001, we have seen the following developments:
Moved out of a condemned building (Lord Hall) to Smith Laboratory housing newly renovated laboratories, offices, teaching and meeting facilities.
Increased the department faculty number from 10.5 to 20 (with two more to be added in the near future) covering considerable breadth of focus on problem and hypothesis-driven research and teaching in areas focusing on food, health, ecology and evolution, past and present.
Bringing the department ranking from very bottom to very top. Anthropology is ranked third of 182 anthropology programs offering a degree and fifth of 112 programs offering a PhD.
Saw three faculty (Samuel Stout, Jeffrey McKee and Clark Larsen) elected Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and one faculty (Larsen) elected Member of the National Academy of Sciences.
An Ohio State Distinguished Diversity Award (Crews).
Two Ohio State Alumni Distinguished Teaching Awards (Guatelli-Steinberg, McGraw).
Three Joan Huber Faculty Fellowship Awards (McGraw, Guatelli-Steinberg, Stout).
Established the Paul H. and Erika Bourguignon Lecture in Art and Anthropology, now in its 14th year, and supported by a generous endowment from alumna Elizabeth Salt (MA, ’78).
Creation of two research funds for support of graduate student research and travel (Clark Spencer Larsen Fund for Research and Travel, Elizabeth A. Salt Award Fund). We are again grateful to Elizabeth Salt for her generous endowment of the Salt Fund.
Saw graduation of 77 PhD students, of which I am proud to say that 17 worked under my direction.
Put physical anthropology on the national and international map, seeing its presence and leadership grow in meeting and other venues.
Saw a remarkable increase in placement rate of our PhD graduates – 95 percent in teaching and other doctoraldegree-appropriate employment, especially in STEM teaching and research.
Saw an impressive increase in admission of highly qualified, nationally competitive students to the graduate program.
Saw awarding of national fellowships from a wide range of private and public agencies, such as Fulbright Foundation and the National Science Foundation. In one year alone, three students received NSF Graduate Research Fellowships of the 13 awarded in the physical anthropology subdiscipline.
Saw major increases in external funding from National Science Foundation, including to professors Joy McCorriston and Mark Moritz for the socioecology/ archaeology research in Oman; and Scott McGraw in Ivory Coast, West Africa.
I want to thank all members of our growing anthropology community – especially our wonderful alumni, students, faculty and staff in making anthropology a superb academic unit on The Ohio State University campus. I am personally indebted to the deans that I have worked with over the years, including Randall Ripley, Paul Beck, Gifford Weary, Jan Box-Steffensmeier and David Manderscheid. Each played a role in seeing to it that our department meets its goals and achieves excellence. It is that support that built anthropology, placing it as a leading anthropology department nationally. I also want to thank all of the special alumni who have supported the programing of the department through their generous giving, participation in key events and letting us know that they are graduates of a unique and special program on the Ohio State campus. Thank you, all! Let’s all welcome the new chair, Kris Gremillion, and what lies ahead! With best wishes,
Clark Spencer Larsen, Chair Distinguished Professor of Social and Behavioral Sciences Department of Anthropology
IN THIS ISSUE 2 Greetings from the Chair 4 Meet the New Chair: Kris Gremillion
Larsen Named Distinguished University Professor 5 New Podcast Showcases Anthropology
Our Students 7 Gretchen Klingler 9 Mary Grace Thibault 10 Ashley Edes 11 Student Awards
Our Faculty: Research Highlights 14 Nicholas Kawa 15 Debbie Guatelli-Steinberg 17 Mark Hubbe
Faculty News, Awards and Publications
Giving to the Department of Anthropology
Cover Image: Students in Anthropology 5684: Dublin-Ohio State Summer Field School in Archaeology on site at the Holder-Wright Farm and Earthworks in Dublin, Ohio. HolderWright was used by Native Americans for about 11,000 years, after which, in 1810, the Holder family built a farm and continued farming the land until 2009. Led by principal investigator Jules Angel, the students examine the earthwork and ceremonial gathering places. Photo Courtesy of Jules Angel
Milestones: Big News in Anthropology
GREMILLION TO SERVE AS NEW CHAIR OF ANTHROPOLOGY DEPARTMENT Kris Gremillion has been appointed chair of the Department of Anthropology. Her appointment began on June 1, 2017. Gremillion earned her PhD in anthropology at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, in 1989 and served as a postdoctoral fellow at the Smithsonian Institution before joining the faculty in the Department of Anthropology at Ohio State in 1991. Gremillion is an archaeologist and paleoethnobotanist who studies the evolution of human diet and subsistence practices in ecological context. Her research applies evolutionary theory to explain long-term changes in the ecological relationships between people and their plant resources. She is particularly interested in how and why systems of agriculture and other forms of food production developed in ancient North America. Gremillion pioneered the application of human behavioral
ecology to the explanation of agricultural origins, using optimization models to examine the economic logic of food choice and land use. Her other major area of research is the transmission of botanical knowledge, dietary innovation and the emergence of novel cuisines in the context of colonialism. Gremillion has published many articles on human dietary variability in journals including American Antiquity, Current Anthropology and the Journal of Archaeological Science, as well as several edited volumes. In her book, Ancestral Appetites (Cambridge University Press, 2011), Gremillion demonstrates how evolutionary processes have shaped the diversification of human diet over several million years of prehistory. She is working on her second book about indigenous systems of food production in pre-Columbian North America.
LARSEN NAMED DISTINGUISHED UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR Clark Spencer Larsen was named Distinguished University Professor in May. Ohio State’s Office of Academic Affairs awards the permanent, honorific title of Distinguished University Professor on a competitive basis to full professors who have truly exceptional records in teaching, research, scholarly or creative work and service. One to three appointments may be awarded annually to faculty members who have been at Ohio State for at least five years. Larsen will be formally invested with the title of Distinguished University Professor by the Ohio State Board of Trustees.
Distinguished University Professors automatically become members of the President’s and Provost’s Advisory Committee. In addition, recipients are awarded a $30,000 one-time grant to support their academic work and are expected to maintain a regular program of teaching, research, scholarly or creative work and service. In summing up Larsen’s extraordinary contributions to the field and to Ohio State, one of the many nominators on behalf of Larsen said, “Dr. Larsen has been a prodigious scholar, a tireless advocate for the science of bioarchaeology, a model of disciplinary service, a generous mentor and a highly effective administrator who guided the resurrection of a department at Ohio State.”
NEW PODCAST SHOWCASES ANTHROPOLOGY AT OHIO STATE “Anthropologists need a new way to distribute their research that is accessible to the general public,” said Mackie O’Hara, PhD student, anthropology, and podcast team member. “A podcast that speaks to the most basic aspects of our field, but also incorporates the exciting, current research going on here at Ohio State seems like a great way to get the field of anthropology out there.” O’Hara and A Story of Us fellow podcast member, graduate student Frances Sutton, tackle timely themes, drawing on the four subfields of anthropology: cultural anthropology, biological anthropology, archaeology and linguistics. Each semester, O’Hara, Sutton and a group of volunteer graduate students select a series-long theme and explore that theme in depth and introduce listeners to real-world applications that might be familiar. Series 1, which began in Autumn 2016, focused on the theme of migration and immigration. Podcasts covered issues from the Syrian refugee crisis to early hominin movement out of Africa. The series included 10 episodes: five content
episodes in which hosts reviewed key issues about a related topic and five conversation episodes with two Ohio State anthropologists discussing the issues in greater detail. “I am passionate about this podcast because I think podcasts are the best way for people of all backgrounds to learn about and engage with the diverse field of anthropology,” said Sutton. A Story of Us not only covers interesting and relevant topics, but allows us to share our field with anyone who has ever asked, ‘What do you do with a degree in anthropology?’ Series 2, which broadcasted spring semester, addressed the topic of childhood. Five episodes explored childhood mortality, growth and development, motherhood, pathologies and childhood in the archaeological record. Series 3, which will begin fall 2017, will focus on the topic of death. Download past episodes and subscribe to future episodes of A Story of Us on iTunes, Soundcloud, Stitcher and anywhere podcasts are found. Follow the students’ podcasts via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
In the Mont Febe neighborhood of Yaounde, Cameroon, where anthropology graduate student Kelly Yotebieng conducted her dissertation research on the global refugee crisis among urban refugees.
Erin Blankenship-Sefczec, graduate student, on location in Yemen.
ANTHROPOLOGY STUDENT NAMED OHIO STATE VETERAN AND MILITARY STUDENT OF THE YEAR Gretchen Klingler is a second-year student majoring in cultural anthropology and Arabic language and literature. This first-generation Buckeye from West Liberty, Ohio, is secretary of the department’s Undergraduate Anthropology Club. She is also an Air Force veteran and president of Vets 4 Vets, Ohio State’s chapter of Student Veterans of America. “I focus a significant amount of energy making sure that Ohio State military and veteran students are welcomed into our community and have a fluid transition out of the military and into college life,” said Klingler. For her dedicated work with veterans on campus, Klingler was awarded Ohio State’s first Veteran and Military Student of the Year award at the Ohio State Military Ball, held on Feb. 18, 2017. Mike Carrell, assistant provost and director of the Office of Military and Veterans Services, said Klingler was selected by her peers for her dedicated work with veterans on campus. “Whatever it might be, from our orientations for new students to social events to academic support events, Gretchen’s at those events, promotes those events, encourages other students to go (and) encourages other students to get involved,” Carrell said. For Klingler, being selected as the university’s first Veteran and Military Student of the Year is humbling. “To me, this award means that our veterans and military members at Ohio State are connecting, growing and thriving both during and after their service to our country, and I have been honored to be a part
of that success. However, this award could not have been developed without a number of deserving veterans to be nominated for it, which says so much about our student veterans and the ways in which Ohio State supports our success.” Klingler served six years as a career enlisted aviator and tactical systems operator, providing intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance information on targets from airborne assets. Klingler was deployed twice, once to Afghanistan in 2013 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), and once in 2014 to Djibouti and Iraq in support of OEF and Operation Inherent Resolve. She learned Arabic at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California, and served as a stand-in translator while she was in Iraq. And then she found her way to Ohio State. “I chose Ohio State because I had always wanted to be a Buckeye and anthropology was a perfect fit for me,” Klingler said. “I love learning about languages and religions, customs and taboos, food and subsistence practices, and gender roles and social structures. When I learned about the field of anthropology, it was like a lightbulb went off in my head — I had found my purpose.” When Klingler arrived at Ohio State in autumn 2015, she immediately became involved in the veteran community because she wanted to plug into a group of people who could directly relate to her experiences.
“Being mostly non-traditional students, living off campus and having had vastly different life experiences than the general student population, it’s difficult for veteran students to relate to and fit into the traditional college atmosphere.” Vets 4 Vets works to engage student veterans in activities on campus and in the Columbus community. The organization holds biweekly meetings, participates in campus and local events and career building opportunities, and dedicates a great deal of time to volunteering in the community. Under Klingler’s leadership, Vets 4 Vets active membership has tripled in the last academic year. “Being a part of the veteran community at Ohio State is very important to me, because it means I don’t have to leave a part of my life behind or forget my experiences that have brought me here.” Klingler will be attending the Expeditions Ethnographic Field School in Malta this summer, where she will focus her research on the cultural perceptions of irregular migration. Additionally, Klingler will be working with Anthropology Professor Jeff Cohen on the Ohio State continued...
Global Mobility Project, where she will be researching how Iraqi women adjust to their lives in the United States; how they manage language barriers and how they respond to increasing xenophobia, cultural expectations and religious misconceptions as they work to adapt to American culture.
field,” Klingler said. “I would like to use my experience to educate others on human interaction and the human experience, to work in resettlement and adjustment of immigrant and refugee populations, or to work closely with businesses that want to break into new markets in a culturally appropriate way.”
“My current career goal is to obtain a PhD in cultural anthropology or a related
Klingler will graduate in spring 2019.
GRADUATE STUDENTS EXCAVATE 2,400-YEAR-OLD TOMB IN IRAQ Anthropology graduate student Katie Downey, and Kyra Kaercher, from the University of Pennsylvania, presented their findings of an excavation of an Achaemenid Era Tomb at the American Schools of Oriental Research’s (ASOR) annual meeting in November 2016. A snake-headed bracelet found during the excavation helped the team to date the tomb. The remains in the tomb were jumbled, possibly indicating that the tomb had been plundered at some point and the disarray made it difficult to judge the age of the contents. The tomb was constructed toward the end, or just after, the time of the Achaemenid Empire (550 to 330 B.C.), an empire in the Middle East that was conquered by Alexander the Great in a series of campaigns, according to the archaeologists, led by Michael Danti, a principal investigator for ASOR’s Cultural Heritage Initiative.
WEATHER SPOTTER COMBINES HER LOVE OF CLIMATE AND CULTURES Before Mary Grace Thibault enrolled at Ohio State, she was already a selfdescribed “weather geek,” designing her own weather balloons and weather vanes and keeping a weather journal. So it made sense that she would enroll as an atmospheric sciences major. However, soon after her first year got underway, Thibault took a course on the prehistory of environment and climate and discovered her second love, anthropology. “I remember the class focused on the correlations existing in the paleoclimate records that align major El Nino events with the rise and decline of various empires such as the Maya, the Inca and the Egyptians,” Thibault said. “I was fascinated with how weather and climate impact people, so I was hooked.” Thibault declared a second major in anthropology during the autumn semester of her second-year. “The idea of
combining weather and anthropology for me seemed like an ideal pairing.”
such a stir 300 years after they threw it away.”
During her third year, Thibault participated in Irish Archaeology Field School, set in the town of Trim, County Meath, Ireland. Over the course of several weeks, Thibault learned how the abbeys and monasteries of the Black Friary were constructed and their role in the community. She took part in her first excavation, learning a range of techniques, including sites survey, excavation, laboratory protocols and artifact curation.
Thibault also has participated in the Penn State REU in Climate Science and was assigned to a field-work project in Key Largo, Florida, headed by Florida International University and the South Florida Water Management District. The 10-week project allowed Thibault the opportunity to observe firsthand the effects of sea level rise on the Everglades. Thibault also conducted field-work at the Great Basin National Park as part of the Department of Geography’s work with underground glaciers.
“The experience of unearthing objects that have not been seen in about three hundred years is very humbling,” said Thibault. “Excavation emphasizes the humanity that is represented in those layers of dirt. As artifacts are unearthed, you start imagining someone using them and never dreaming that a small piece of their cracked cooking pot would cause
Most recently, Thibault joined the Lord Denney’s Players, a theatrical group housed in the Department of English and assumed the character of Ariel in the department’s production of William Shakespeare’s, The Tempest. Thibault will be attending graduate school at Ohio State beginning autumn 2017.
GRADUATE STUDENT FIRST TO STUDY ZOOHOUSED GORILLAS’ STRESS LEVELS Many graduate students at Ohio State have the goal of making a tremendous impact in their field of study. In the case of Ashley Edes, a graduate student in the Department of Anthropology, she’s already making waves in the field of primatology. Edes is the first to conduct a study on how zoo-housed gorillas’ social relationships can affect and decrease their stress levels over their lifetime. For several years, she has been studying the causes of stress in gorillas at a handful of zoos around the country, with the hope of improving their overall quality of life. Edes’ research is not just academic; she is following a passion sparked by her lifelong interest in primates. “There is something about great apes that has always fascinated and inspired me, and one day I decided to put that passion to work by helping gorillas living in zoos,” Edes said. “Zoos have done a tremendous job improving the health and welfare of their animals over the past several decades. One of my goals is to aid that mission and keep it moving forward by providing a scientific metric that can be used to directly assess each individual animal’s welfare and their likelihood of future health issues.” Edes has been conducting research at the Columbus Zoo since 2014, analyzing frozen serum samples and testing levels of biological indicators of stress, such as cortisol. She also has spent a considerable amount of time observing and recording gorilla behaviors, especially social relationships. “Stress is damaging to our health, and experiencing stressful events throughout our lives contributes to an increased risk of illness and shortened lifespan,” said Edes. “My research applies this concept to gorillas by estimating damage due to stress over the lifespan, or allostatic load, and then testing for associations with future outcomes, such as the development of chronic degenerative conditions like cardiovascular disease.” In April 2016, Edes published her research, “Assessing Stress in Zoo-Housed Western Lowland Gorillas Using Allostatic Load,” in the International Journal of Primatology. The American Society of Primatologists (ASP) recognized Edes’ work with the ASP Primate Welfare Award.
“As a new researcher, it can be difficult establishing your methodology and the importance of your work in the scientific community,” she said. “Receiving this recognition reaffirmed that I am on the right path and that my research is already making valuable contributions to primatology, endocrinology and veterinary science.” Edes credits much of her success to her mentors in the Department of Anthropology and the high expectations that they set for her and the other PhD candidates. “The Department of Anthropology has been a tremendous help in achieving my goals. I have an excellent advisor, Professor Douglas Crews, and the other members of my dissertation committee strongly support my research efforts,” Edes said. “The combination of high standards and open collaboration has given me many of the critical skills necessary to becoming an accomplished scholar in primatology.” Edes is optimistic that she will continue her studies on zoohoused gorillas after graduation and also be able to apply her knowledge and skills to other areas in the field of primatology. “I hope to continue my work while serving as a faculty member at a university or research scientist at a zoo,” Edes said. “In addition to gorillas, I also have started the work of expanding this research to other great ape species, (such as) chimpanzees, bonobos and orangutans. Because the stress response functions similarly throughout vertebrates, the possibilities of using this methodology to examine and improve welfare for animals in human care are endless.” See video go.osu.edu/ZooGorillas By Hannah Smith, ASC Communications student, fourth-year journalism major
2017 STUDENT AWARDS Undergraduate Majors Gretchen Klingler, Ohio State University’s first Veteran and Military Student of the Year; Ohio State Discovery Theme’s Global Mobility Research Grant Catherine Mendel, first place, Denman Undergraduate Research Forum, for her research on “Human Origins, Society, and Culture.” Inducted into Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society; Phi Sigma Theta. Awarded the Linda and Keith Monda International Experience Scholarship from Ohio State. For the latter, she will be participating in the summer semester program, “The History and Archaeology of Medieval Ireland: Trim and Blackfriary” Catherine Mendel and Gretchen Klingler, Department of Anthropology Best Undergraduate Student Award
Graduate Students Six anthropology graduate students were awarded the William S. Pollitzer Student Travel Award from the American Association of Physical Anthropologists: Malorie Albee, Colleen Cheverko, Melissa Clark, Emma Lagan, Katy Marklein and Nikki Weiss. The award helps students defray the costs of attending the annual American Association of Physical Anthropologists meeting in New Orleans Kelly Yotebieng was awarded a predoctoral Fulbright fellowship from the West Africa Research Association. The funding is for her project, “Enduring hardship: an ethnography of resilience among refugees in Yaoundé,” and supports her dissertation research in collaboration with the Centre for Population Studies and Health Promotion in Yaoundé, Cameroon
Mary Beth Cole took second place in the poster division of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences at the 31st Edward F. Hayes Graduate Research Forum, for her poster, “Optimization of a Protocol for Visualizing Vascular and Cellular Pre Networks in Human Bone Using Multiphoton Confocal Microscopy.” She is also the recipient of the Larsen Award Mackie O’Hara, Melissa Clark and Erin Blankenship-Sefczek, the Ray Travel Award Natalia Zotova, the Ohio State Global Mobility Project grant for her project, “Religious affiliation, complex insecurities and stress: Central Asian Muslim immigrants in the U.S.” Gordon Ulmer, the Office of Energy and Environment travel award Jesse Goliath, the Department of Anthropology Diversity Committee Poster Competition Award Kelly Yotebieng, the Marianna Russell Technology Grant; the National Science Foundation REG award; the Elizabeth A. Salt Award, the Fulbright IIE Award; the West Africa Research Association Predoctoral Fellowship; the Ohio State Global Gateway Grant and the Ohio State Mershon Graduate Student Grant Ashley Edes, the 2016 Primate Welfare Award, American Society of Primatologists; the 2016 Alumni Grant for Graduate Research and Scholarships, The Ohio State University; 2017 Grant in Aid of Research, the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology; and the 2017 Presidential Fellowship, The Ohio State University
Emma Lagan, Career Development Grant: Institute of Archaeology, “Stressed Out” conference in London Colleen Cheverko, Ohio State Office of Energy and Environment Student Research Grant; Larsen Award Timothy Sefczek, Primate Conservation Inc.; Sacramento Zoo; and Metroparks Zoo Dara Adams, the Larsen Award Daniel Peart, the Elizabeth A. Salt Award Brianne Herrera, the Elizabeth A. Salt Award; the Alumni Grant for Graduate Research and Scholarships; and Science Visiting Scholarships, The Chicago Field Museum Aaron Comstock, Best PhD Dissertation in Anthropology: “Climate Change, Migration, and the Emergence of Village Life on the Mississippian Periphery: A Middle Ohio Valley Case Study” Mackie O’Hara, Best Master’s Thesis in Anthropology: “Investigating the Regularity of Linear Enamel Hypoplasi in Bornean and Sumatran Orangutans in a Primate Community from Sabah, Borneo” Erin Blankenship-Sefczek and Timothy Sefczek, GTA of the Year Emily Wolfe, the Ohio State Global Gateway Grant and the Ohio State Office of International Affairs Academic Enrichment Grant Kathleen Downey, Office of International Affairs Academic Enrichment Grant
Back row, left to right: Melissa Clark, Mary Beth Cole, Mackie Oâ€™Hara, Alex Wilkins, Malorie Albee, Emma Lagan Front row, left to right: Nikki Weiss, Rebecca Mayus, Alex Tuggle
Anthropology graduate students attended the 2017 American Association of Physical Anthropologists (AAPA) meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana, April 19 through 22. The AAPA meeting provided them the opportunity to present their research to scientists from many different fields for feedback on and access to invaluable career development and networking workshops.
Anthropology Professor Jeff McKee, recipient of an Emmy Award in the category of “Short Format Program Informational,” Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, for his leadership in the development of The Ohio State University’s “Surviving an Active Shooter” video.
AMAZONIA IN THE ANTHROPOCENE A second problem Kawa highlights in the book is the profound anthropocentrism embedded within the concept of the Anthropocene.
in the Anthropocene
“While it’s suggested that humans are coming to dominate the planet, every day we get news of how various forces and lifeforms that make up our environment are constantly pushing back against us: hurricanes, tsunamis, the Zika virus, flesh-eating microbes and CO2 in the earth’s atmosphere,” Kawa explained. “The Anthropocene should remind us that while our technologies have expanded our ability to impact the planet, a much broader array of lifeforms and forces is constantly thwarting our attempts to wrest control of the world around us.”
P E O P L E , S O I L S, P L A N T S, F O R E S T S
Nicholas C. Kawa
Nicholas Kawa is an assistant professor of anthropology and a member of Ohio State’s Initiative for Food and AgriCultural Transformation (inFACT), one of Ohio State’s Discovery Themes. Kawa investigates questions of humanenvironmental interaction, with specific focus on human relationships to plants and soils in the Amazon region.
Widespread alteration of the planet has led many scholars to claim that we live in a new epoch in geological time: the Anthropocene, a new age dominated by humanity. In May 2016, Nicholas Kawa published the book Amazonia in the Anthropocene: People, Soils, Plants, Forests (University of Texas Press), which is the first ethnographic monograph to directly engage this new geological epoch from the vantage point of the world’s largest tropical forest. In the book, Kawa highlights some of the flaws he sees in the current conceptualization of the Anthropocene. “To begin with, I point out its subtle Eurocentrism,” said Kawa. “Since the Anthropocene’s origins are often traced to industrial Europe, it is overlooked that people across the world have been implicated in and directly linked to the broader processes driving the Anthropocene.” Kawa shows that many of rural Amazonia’s contemporary inhabitants are descendants of migrants who moved to the region to tap natural rubber, which fueled the burgeoning tire and automobile industries in North America and Europe.
Perhaps due in part to their history of marginalization, rural Amazonians seem to both recognize and accept the simple truth that we as humans are not at the center of the universe. Kawa shares stories and metaphors used by Amazonians that speak to the ways that the environment responds to the human presence in the landscape. Sometimes this occurs through stories of massive snakes and mythological creatures, while in other cases, farmers describe the onslaught of weeds and pests that present continuous obstacles to their agricultural production. Collectively, these narratives shape a vision of human-environmental relations that differs fundamentally from the worldview that undergirds the Anthropocene. “Perhaps due in part to their history of marginalization, rural Amazonians seem to both recognize and accept the simple truth that we as humans are not at the center of the universe,” said Kawa. “As such, their perspectives offer a valuable counterpoint to the anthropocentrism deeply embedded in this new age.”
TOOTH BE TOLD: MILLIONS OF YEARS OF EVOLUTIONARY HISTORY MARK THOSE MOLARS In her book, What Teeth Reveal about Human Evolution (Cambridge University Press), Debra Guatelli-Steinberg explores what anthropologists like her have learned about our evolutionary history from the study of fossil teeth.
According to Guatelli-Steinberg, the evolution of our extended periods of growth and development can also be traced through teeth. Tooth growth and development, to a large extent, reflects the overall pace of growth and development of a species.
“If we were to draw up a list of differences between humans and our closest living primate relatives, chimpanzees, that list would include (among other things) our differences in brain size, ability to adapt to new environments, our reliance on cultural solutions to problems of survival and reproduction, the length of our periods of juvenile growth and dependency and the length of our lifespans,” said Guatelli-Steinberg. “Fossil teeth allow us to track the evolution of these unique human features as well as several others.”
“Consider the short developmental periods of dogs, whose first permanent teeth come in around six months of age,” said Guatelli-Steinberg. “By contrast, the first permanent teeth of humans come in at six years of age, and we take many more years than dogs to become adults capable of reproduction. Using incremental growth lines in teeth, dental researchers have been able to determine that early in human evolution, tooth development was rapid, like that of chimpanzees, whose first permanent molars come in around four years of age. Slower rates of development evolved along the Homo lineage, beginning most noticeably with the species Homo erectus.”
From the chemical analysis of teeth, dental researchers have shown that early in human evolution (with Australopithecus afarensis, the species to which Lucy belongs), diets expanded beyond the kinds of foods chimpanzees eat today. Early human ancestors incorporated sizeable quantities of tropical grasses and sedges in their diets, something chimpanzees don’t do even when these resources are available.
As these two examples show, it is possible to track aspects of human evolution through fossil teeth–tiny time capsules that allow us to reconstruct that past. Guatelli-Steinberg’s book synthesizes these insights not only over the long view of human evolution but also for particular species. Analyses of fossil teeth, for example, suggest that our Neanderthal cousins (like us) also continued...
ate a variety of foods, experienced frequent periods of dental growth disruption caused by physiological stress, and were on the faster end of (but still within) the modern human range of dental development. Finally, her book considers the teeth of modern humans — our dental afflictions and the ways that we treat our teeth. “Both of these aspects of modern teeth will give future anthropologists a lot to ponder,” Guatelli-Steinberg said. “If they analyze our dental chemistry, they’ll see wide within-population variation in diets that they will undoubtedly chalk up to our large brains and flexible behavior.”
Tooth growth and development, to a large extent, reflects the overall pace of growth and development of a species.
Guatelli-Steinberg notes that dental maladies have sky-rocketed only recently in human evolution, owing to the modern influx of sugary and soft foods into our diets. Future dental anthropologists will likely chalk this up to “evolutionary mismatch”— our teeth did not evolve eating the kinds of foods we eat today and so are not well adapted to them. “Who knows what future anthropologists make of the way different human cultures alter their teeth,” said GuatelliSteinberg. “It’s sobering to think that whatever we do to our teeth, future anthropologists will be watching!”
Debbie Guatelli-Steinberg is professor of anthropology and courtesy professor of evolution, ecology and organismal biology. She has conducted extensive research on fossil hominin teeth in Africa, Europe and Asia, and has published widely in the fields of dental palaeoanthropology and dental primatology.
HUBBE CO-AUTHORS NEW STUDY OF ANCIENT PALEOAMERICAN CRANIA
Mark Hubbe, associate professor, anthropology, is co-author, along with Noreen von CramonTraubadel, associate professor of anthropology at the University of Buffalo, State University of New York, of a new study published in Science Advances, analyzing the population history of ancient Paleoamerican crania from the Lagoa Santa region of Brazil in the context of global cranial variation.
Mark Hubbe and von Cramon-Traubadel applied a novel 3D cranial shape analysis to early Holocene skulls from the region of Lagoa Santa (Brazil). To situate their evolutionary history in a global context and to test for the most likely population history model for the Lagoa Santa sample, they applied a multiple-effects statistical model to the data that controls for the geographic distances between populations, while testing multiple phylogenetic trees of common ancestry against the morphological distances between populations. “Irrespective of which part of the skull was analyzed, the results showed that models that assume that Paleoamericans from Lagoa Santa share a last common ancestor outside of the New World are statistically better explanations than population history models that assume a common ancestor with other subarctic Native Americans,” said Hubbe. “This finding supports the notion that the New World was populated by several waves of dispersal over time.” The results also underscore the importance of looking at both genetic and morphological evidence when trying to disentangle the past history of the human species.
FACULTY NEWS, AWARDS AND PUBLICATIONS
McCorriston and Moritz Study Ancient Environments and Human Societies in Oman Anthropology Professors Mark Moritz and Joy McCorriston, along with Ian Hamilton, Ohio State professor of evolution, ecology and organismal biology, have been awarded a $1.6 million grant from the National Science Foundation’s Dynamics of Coupled Natural and Human Systems (CNH) Program for their proposal, “Pastoral Territoriality as a Dynamic Coupled System.” The project aims to test whether the dynamics of woodlandgrassland-woodland cycling is coupled with pastoral territorial use of grazing lands and represents a long-term, non-linear pattern with broad implications for development and sustainability of human environments. Using archaeological, ecological, geochemical, paleoclimate and botanical methods in fieldwork, the team will recover and study proxy data on ancient environments and human societies in Dhufar, Oman. Headed by McCorriston, Moritz and Hamilton, the project engages senior collaborators from two U.S. universities, two in the UK, one in Germany and from the Ministry of Heritage and Culture, Sultanate of Oman and the Oman Botanical Garden. The five-year project will provide education and training opportunities for graduate, undergraduate and high school students in the transdisciplinary study of complex social-ecological systems, and it will further collaborations between researchers in the U.S. and Middle East.
Syvertsen to Assess Substance Abuse and Mental Health in HIV Care Assistant Professor Jennifer Syvertsen is part of a consortium recently awarded a $2.5 million grant for its “East Africa International Epidemiologic Databases to Evaluate AIDS Regional Consortium,” sponsored by the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). This research consortium aims to establish a sentinel behavioral cohort to assess the effects of substance use and mental health issues on engagement in the HIV care cascade among newly enrolling HIV+ patients in three East African countries, and use qualitative methods to understand the social and contextual issues shaping retention in care and subsequent health outcomes. Syvertsen’s role in the project is to work with an interdisciplinary team of physicians and public health specialists to lead the qualitative component of the study.
FACULTY NEWS, AWARDS AND PUBLICATIONS Clark Spencer Larsen Elected to the National Academy of Sciences
Photo courtesy of Kevin Allen
Clark Spencer Larsen, Distinguished Professor of Social and Behavioral Sciences; professor and chair, Department of Anthropology, was elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, one of the most prestigious honors an American scholar can receive. The academy announced the election of 84 new members and 21 foreign associates from 14 countries in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research. “Professor Larsen has dedicated his career and scholarship to deepening our understanding of the human condition,” said Ohio State President Michael V. Drake. “I am thrilled that another Ohio State scientist will be sharing his expertise more broadly as a National Academy member.” Larsen’s primary work is in the history of the human condition, viewed from the perspective of health, quality of life, adaptation and lifestyle during the last 10,000 years of human evolution. He directs the La Florida Bioarchaeology Project, involving the collaboration of scientists from the United States and elsewhere. In collaboration with Richard
Steckel, Kimberly Williams, and Charlotte Roberts, Larsen co-directs the Global History of Health Project, involving scientists from around the world, with current focus on the study of skeletons from Europe. Larsen is also co-director of the Field School in Medieval Archaeology and Bioarcheology at Badia Pozzeveri (Lucca, Italy), an academic program aimed at training students in archaeological and bioarchaeoloigcal field and lab methods. He co-directs the study of the human remains from Catalhoyuk (Turkey), an early farming community dating to 9,000 years ago. Larsen is the author of, Our Origins: Discovering Physical Anthropology, one of the most widely used textbooks in the field. He received his BA in anthropology from Kansas State University; an MA in anthropology; and PhD in biological anthropology from the University of Michigan. He served as president of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists and as editor-in-chief of the American Journal of Physical Anthropology.
Yerkes to Conduct Research in Hungary and Israel Professor Richard Yerkes received a grant from the Field Museum in Chicago to travel to Hungary for a pilot study for the next phase of his Körös Regional Archaeological Project in Hungary. He also received funding support from Tel Aviv University to travel to Israel with undergraduate student Rachel Parker, for collaborative study of lithic artifacts from the Ein Zippori site. His project, “Indigenous Native American Perspectives on Functions of Large Hopewell Bifaces from Mound 25, Hopewell Mound Group (33Ro27), Ross County, Ohio,” was funded by the Seneca Nation of Indians.
Sam Stout Selected Huber Faculty Fellow
Jeff Cohen Leading Project on Global Mobility
Samuel Stout, professor of anthropology, was selected as Joan N. Huber Faculty Fellow for 2017 in recognition of his first-rate scholarship.
Anthropology Professor Jeff Cohen and four other Ohio State faculty members are leading a universitywide project on global mobility. The Global Mobility Project, a Humanities and the Arts Discovery Theme pilot project, integrates the insights of the arts, humanities and social sciences to encourage conversation and investigation of how local culture and individual decision-making inform and reflect the complex global forces behind mobility. Cohen is joined by Ohio State faculty Vera Brunner-Sung (theatre), Theodora Dragostinova (history), Yana Hashamova (Slavic and East European languages and cultures) and Robin Judd (history, literature and film studies).
Stout is nationally and internationally recognized as a leading skeletal biologist. It is his standards that are used in virtually every bone lab where microscopy and methods relating to same are employed in research in the United States and elsewhere. Stout has been an invaluable contributor to the growth of physical anthropology at Ohio State. He built a skeletal biology / bone histology / dental histology section of the Bioarchaeology Research Laboratory in the department and introduced new courses in skeletal biology and forensic anthropology, attracting top undergraduates and superb graduate students to the department. Huber Fellows are nominated by department chairs and receive an annual cash award of $6,000 a year for three years to further their research programs.
Focusing on two main research questions — what does it mean to leave home and how do communities accept newcomers — the team will build the foundation for a permanent program on global mobility with research, creative, instructional and public outreach missions.
FACULTY NEWS, AWARDS AND PUBLICATIONS McGraw Receives NSF Award for Primate Skeleton Research
Cook Publishes New Book on Fort Ancient Culture Robert Cook, associate professor of anthropology, is author of the forthcoming book, Continuity and Change in the Native American Village: Multicultural Origins and Descendants of the Fort Ancient Culture (Cambridge University Press, 2017). In his book, Cook addresses two common questions asked in archaeological investigations: Where did a particular culture come from and which living cultures is it related to. These questions have been central to Cook’s archaeological research over the last few decades. Cook brings a theoretically and methodologically holistic perspective to these questions in study of the origins and development of Native American villages in the North American midcontinent.
Anthropology Professor Scott McGraw received an award from the National Science Foundation, for his project, “Biomechanical significance of bone material variation in the primate locomotor skeleton.” McGraw and his team — consisting of anthropologists, functional anatomists and engineers — are using the monkey skeletons from McGraw’s study site in Ivory Coast to examine how different patterns of locomotion influence the material property of bone. They are exploring how the architecture and biomechanical properties of the bones differ as a function of the different ways the bones are used by the different monkey species. This will help us better understand how bone works generally and how primate bones (including humans) are shaped by different patterns of movement.
“The focus is on the poorly understood Fort Ancient culture, the last Native Americans to live in the middle portion of the Ohio River Valley prior to European arrival,” said Cook. “Fort Ancient is best considered to be part of the broader Mississippian culture that spread throughout much of the Eastern U.S. between about A.D. 1050 and the time of European settlement and displacement of indigenous peoples. The implications of Cook’s findings are very important for broadening our understanding of cultural evolution in general and linkages to descendant communities in particular. Cook is the recipient of The Ohio State University’s Mentoring of Undergraduate Research Award and twice received the Scholarly Accomplishment Award. He has authored dozens of journal articles and book chapters and is the author of SunWatch: Fort Ancient Development in the Mississippian World (2011).
Give to Anthropology Dear Alumni and Friends: Please consider making a gift or donation to the Department of Anthropology. Each and every gift makes a tangible difference in the lives or our students and faculty. All gifts are tax deductible as permitted by law. Here are some examples of funds you may wish to consider. For more giving opportunities, visit our website at anthropology.osu.edu
A gift to the SCIENCE AND CONSERVATION IN AFRICAâ€™S RAINFORESTS FUND (313356) supports studentâ€™s travel expenses to Africa, anti-poaching patrols in selected rainforests, wildlife education materials and materials for programs in rural African schools. Sponsors exchange programs for African and Ohio State undergraduates.
A donation to the BOURGUIGNON LECTURE IN ART AND ANTHROPOLOGY FUND (311079) will ensure that the only annual Anthropology department-sponsored event will continue on into the future.
A donation to the DANIEL HUGHES MEMORIAL FUND (20331) ensures that more of our best and brightest graduate students have the opportunity to travel to and present their research at professional conferences.
A gift to the ELIZABETH A. SALT ANTHROPOLOGY TRAVEL FUND (646305) will allow graduate students engaged in dissertation research to study and conduct field research abroad.
Non-Profit Org. U. S. Postage PAID Columbus, OH Permit No. 711
DEPARTMENT OF ANTHROPOLOGY 4034 Smith Laboratory 174 West 18th Avenue Columbus, Ohio 43210 anthropology.osu.edu @OhioStateAnthropology @OSUanthro
The Smith Lab Pop-Garden Project is a collaboration of Ohio State’s InFACT, a Discovery Theme Initiative, the Department of Anthropology, GrOSU, Sustainable Growing Club at Ohio State, Knowlton School of Architecture and Ohio State Landscape Services. Various colored corn and grains are grown — all food varieties that can be popped — and crops that both serve as food and serve for aesthetics.
Anthropology Professor Scott McGraw is director of the TaÏϊMonkey Project, Ivory Coast TaÏ National Park. The park is home to a number of endangered primate species including this one, the Western red colobus monkey. McGraw and his team study the behavior, ecology and anatomy of the community of primates at TaÏ. Recent discoveries have implications for understanding the evolution of diet, disease and bone structure in humans.
Professor Richard Yerkes, Kyra Pazan (BA, 2014), and Dr. Panagiotis Karkanas (American School of Classical Studies at Athens) collect samples from a Neolithic tell in Hungary for micromorphological and phytolith analysis. Animal dung traces and remains of plant-used fodder in the samples revealed that livestock were kept in stables.