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TBI is a research institution supporting scientific projects in the Turkana Basin, Kenya.

TBI Fellows

Post-doctoral fellows

Amanuel Beyin

Amanuel focuses his research on the early Holocene epoch, 10,000-7,000 years before the present. Through his archaeological investigation of western Turkana, Amanuel hopes to clarify the role this region played in human survival, the cultural contexts of human lakeshore adaptations in Africa, and the possible connections between the cultures of the Turkana Basin and those of the Sahara and Nile Valley during this time.

Francis Kirera

In addition to his position as a Postdoctoral Research Associate, Francis is also an affiliate researcher at the National Museums of Kenya. His research focuses on Plio-Pleistocene hominin paleoecology through the study and discovery of associated fauna. Other interests include spatial analysis and modeling of the Plio-Pleistocene fauna paleohabitats at Koobi Fora sites, Northern Kenya. He has participated in several paleontological field expeditions in Kenya. He received his PhD in Environmental Dynamics at the University of Arkansas.

Fredrick Kyalo Manthi

Kyalo is a Senior Research Scientist in the Department of Palaeontology at the National Museums of Kenya and a Post-doctoral Fellow at Stony Brook University. He received his PhD in 2006 from the University of Capetown. He has worked in many parts of the Turkana Basin. His main research interests are in the analysis of Pliocene and Pleistocene micromammals from Africa and their implications for reconstructing paleoenviroments during the course of hominid evolution.

Dino Martins

Dino Martins, a postdoctoral fellow at TBI and a Harvard University Ph.D. graduate, is an entomologist, writer and artist. His research is complimenting the climatic line of inquiry by establishing a collection of modern plants, insects and other small invertebrates as TBI builds a profile of the modern ecology. His research investigates the crucial role that insects play in pollinating plants.

Veronica Waweru

Veronica holds a PhD from the University of Connecticut and is a research affiliate of the National Museums of Kenya. She has participated in research projects at Lukenya Hill, the Kinangop plateau, Baringo and East Turkana (Kenya). Her research focuses on the origins of modern human behavior and lithic technology. She is particularly interested in projectile technology in the Middle to Late Pleistocene in East Africa, as well as the timing of domestication in East Africa, thermoluminescence dating, and Environmental Scanning Electron Microscopy.

 

Graduate fellows

Matthew Borths

Matthew Borths is a PhD candidate in Anatomical Sciences at Stony Brook. He earned a B.S. in Geology and a B.S. in Anthropology at The Ohio State University before studying early mammal evolution at the Universität Bonn as a Fulbright Fellow. His dissertation research will focus on the systematics and biogeography of hyaenodontid creodonts, an extinct, enigmatic lineage of terrestrial carnivores that thrived in Africa throughout the Paleogene. He hopes to clarify the origin and phylogenetic position of Africa’s first carnivores. He is also involved in projects searching for the mammalian fossil record in the Cretaceous rocks of Kenya and Madagascar.

Stephanie Carnation

Stevie Carnation earned her B.S. in Biological Sciences from The George Washington University and has interned at the National Museum of Natural History. The goal of her research is to gain insight into the emergence of bipedalism in early hominins through comparisons of living primate locomotor anatomy and evidence from the fossil record. Stevie is also interested in resolving the phylogeny of the australopithecines.

Natasha Gownaris

Natasha Gownaris earned her BS with a double major in Environmental Studies and Biology at Gettysburg College in 2009. At Gettysburg College, Natasha become more interested in the interplay between ecological and social issues and conducted marine science research. She is now a PhD student at the School of Marine at Atmospheric Sciences at Stony Brook University. For her dissertation, she will be studying how fluctuating water levels, due to dam and irrigation development along the Omo River and climate change, will impact the fishes of Lake Turkana. This research will include studying the lake’s food web, the movement patterns and spatial distribution of the lake’s fishes, and the salinity tolerance of the lake’s fishes. The findings of this research will have implications for the tribes surrounding the lake, who are shifting increasingly from pastoralism to fishing as a source of livelihood due to decreases in the availability of pasture.

Steven Heritage

Steven Heritage earned a BA in Biology and Anthropology from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Steven’s research interests are the systematic biology and paleobiogeography of placental mammals, focusing on the strepsirrhine and afrotherian clades. He aims to expand the known fossil record for Paleogene African placentals and use paleontological data to better understand early morphotypes and phylogenetic relationships.

Simone Hoffman

Simone Hoffmann holds a Diploma in Geology from the University of Bonn, Germany. Simone is broadly interested in the evolution and systematics of Mesozoic mammals in Gondwana. She wants to gain a better understanding of adaptations and diversity within the southern hemisphere lineages and compare these lineages to the better-documented Laurasian clades. She is especially interested in the convergent development of complex tooth patterns. Her research interests have led to field work in Argentina, Siberia and China.

Abigale Koppa

Abigale Koppa received her B.A. in Biology with a minor in Anthropology from Hamilton College, graduating magna cum laude. She is now a PhD student in Ecology and Evolution interested in the evolution of Homo sapiens from a paleoenvironmental perspective. She hopes to utilize both morphological and molecular techniques to analyze vertebrate fossil specimens spanning the late Pleistocene and Holocene in Kenya in order to study the evidence for climate change in the Turkana Basin over the past two hundred thousand years. This research will allow her to combine her interests in paleontology and evolutionary biology.

Sarah Pilliard

Sarah Pilliard earned a BA in anthropology from NYU and is currently a graduate student at Stony Brook University. Her research focuses on the spread of food production and the construction of monumental architecture around Lake Turkana 4000 years ago. She specializes in lithic technology, giving her a glimpse into the past economic and social lives of the herders and hunter-gatherers who lived around the lake.

Ian Wallace

Ian Wallace completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Minnesota (Twin Cities) and graduated summa cum laude. Ian is broadly interested in paleoanthropology, with a specific interest in how and why human ancestors moved around their landscape. He is a student of both physical anthropology and Paleolithic archaeology. Ian has participated in research projects in Kenya, France, Syria, and South Africa.