While it has long been believed that humans evolved from one population in Africa, genetic evidence is pointing towards several interlinked groups in Africa instead. Dr. Jessica Thompson collaborated in an article for the Journal Trends in Ecology and Evolution along with 22 other authors. eScienceCommons interviewed Dr. Thompson about her research.
“What do giant rats and tiny ‘Hobbits’ have in common? They both lived on a tiny island in Indonesia and form an important piece of the puzzle for uncovering what it means to be human.”
This is the focus of Grace Veatch’s dissertation research, as she analyzes thousands of tiny and giant sized rat bones that were recovered in a cave site along with a human ancestor named Homo floresiensis.
“I hope to understand how these ‘Hobbit’s’ incorporated small mammals into their diet, and how this might compare to how modern humans also use this vital resource on an island depauperate of large game. Check out my research showcased in an online article through Sapiens.org for more information about this exciting research happening here in the Anthropology Department at Emory University.”
Finding ancient human remains in Africa is rare and most of the work done in this field is recent. A lot has happened in the last few years however. Emory’s eScienceCommons detailed Dr. Thompson’s role in the research.
Dr. Jessica Thompson hopes to learn more about migration patterns from the DNA of bones discovered in Malawi. It shows that the hunter gatherers that lived there as recently as 2,000 years ago are not genetically related to today’s population. Scientists previously relied on tools left behind to create migrations patterns. DNA now gives answers to whether populations mixed or whether one was forced out. The oldest samples from Malawi are over 8,000 years old. Dr. Thompson had help from graduate student Kendra Sirak with dating and DNA extraction of the 8,100 year old skeleton.
The work that Dr. Thompson collaborated in was featured in the New York Times.
Ioulia Chuvileva (PhD candidate) has published an article in Sustainability: The Journal of Record. The article uses Social Network Analysis to make visible the invisible connections and flows of the Mapping Emory’s Sustainability Project.
Dinah Hannaford (PhD, 2014), Assistant Professor of International Studies at Texas A&M University, has two major accomplishments coming up this year. Her first book, Marriage Without Borders: Transnational Spouses in Neoliberal Senegal, will be published in July, and she will be embarking on a Humboldt Fellowship in Germany in the Fall.
Dr. Hannaford’s book, Marriage Without Borders, is based on ten years of ethnographic research in Senegal and Europe. She examines the dynamics of transnational marriages: Senegalese men living in Europe who are married to Senegalese women back home. Her ethnographic study of these marital relationships shows how they reshape kinship, Islamic piety, and family care. Hannaford argues that “neoliberal globalization and its imperative for mobility extend deep into the family and the heart and stretch relationships across borders.” The book is a revised version of the dissertation research that she conducted while at Emory.
Dr. Hannaford has also been awarded the Humboldt Research Fellowship for Postdoctoral Researchers from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation for the 2017-18 academic year. She will be hosted by the Faculty of Social Sciences at Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany, and will work on a new research project about international development, domestic work, and return migration. We are excited to see her new contribution to these topics!
In a recent eLife article, Dr. Jessica Thompson discusses how the newly discovered Homo naledi creates more questions than it answers in terms of the evolution of humans. The new discovery certainly illustrates that the evolution of the modern human did not occur in the straight line that we once thought.
This article also made news in the Guardian.
For the journal Cultural Anthropology, Dr. Jenny Chio reflects on what journals and scholars can do to support, encourage, and create more critical and more challenging media-based work in anthropology. Read her article “Guiding Lines.”