matthewborths

|Matthew Borths

About Matthew Borths

I am a graduate student in Anatomical Sciences at Stony Brook University and a Turkana Basin Fellow. I study the evolution of a group of extinct carnivorous mammals called creodonts, a group of mammals that once filled all the carnivorous niches of Africa before the continent was invaded by modern carnivores like dogs, cats, and hyenas. I was one of the teaching assistants for the Spring 2013 Field School. I'm originally from outside Cincinnati, Ohio and I did my undergraduate work at The Ohio State University where I studied Geology and Anthropology. I've done fieldwork in North Dakota, Utah, Madagascar, Egypt, Germany, Kenya and Oman.

Graduation and Goodbye

In Kenya, rain is a blessing. It is something to celebrate if you have rain on your wedding day. If rain is a blessing, then nature wanted to shower the last few days at the Turkana Basin Institute with signs that this was a blessed experience. As Dr. Matt Skinner from University College [...]

By | 2017-01-04T18:05:07+00:00 April 16th, 2013|Field Schools, General|Comments Off on Graduation and Goodbye

Lobolo and Eliye Springs: The final field for the field school

The Pleistocene is sometimes called the Ice Age, but ice was as rare 2 million years ago as it is today in the Turkana Basin. Instead the glaciers in the north caused the deserts and arid grasslands to expand as the ice advanced and the expansion of the forests when the ice retreated. Our early [...]

By | 2017-01-04T18:05:07+00:00 April 12th, 2013|Field Schools, General|Comments Off on Lobolo and Eliye Springs: The final field for the field school

Crawling to figure out how we stood

When scientists first set out to study human origins, the Victorian armchair theorists figured it was our big brains that set us apart from the animal kingdom. They expected the fossils of our earliest ancestors to have voluminous noggins but not be built for walking. This walking business would emerge after we realized how useful [...]

By | 2017-01-04T18:05:08+00:00 April 9th, 2013|Field Schools, General|Comments Off on Crawling to figure out how we stood

Basin of the Apes

Human ancestors. This is why the Turkana Basin is on the paleontological map. Sure it preserves an intact record of the grassland ecosystem taking over East Africa and the immigration and local radiation of bizarre and wonderful plants and animals, but it’s the human story that draws us to Turkana. It’s not an inexplicable bias. [...]

By | 2017-01-04T18:05:08+00:00 April 5th, 2013|Field Schools, General|Comments Off on Basin of the Apes

Independent discoveries from the fossils of Turkana

As part of the TBI Field School students get to work on new fossil material. Well, maybe not “new” in the normal sense of that word, but they get to work with material that no one else has laid hands on or thought about because it just came out of the ground a few days [...]

By | 2017-01-04T18:05:08+00:00 March 30th, 2013|Field Schools, General|Comments Off on Independent discoveries from the fossils of Turkana

Getting prepared to prep

Fossils usually aren’t very pretty when they come out of the ground. They’re usually caked in sediment or broken into tiny pieces that need to be reassembled. After they’ve been cleaned and put back together, the fossil is ready for interpretation, description, and display. Easier said than done. The process of getting a [...]

By | 2017-01-04T18:05:08+00:00 March 29th, 2013|Field Schools, General|Comments Off on Getting prepared to prep

Movin’ through the Miocene

African mammals started out weird. When the dinosaurs bowed out sixty-five million years ago after a rough season with a few Indian volcanoes and a rough weekend with an asteroid near Cancun, Africa was already a continent adrift. Much like the modern island continent of Australia, home to unique mammalian lineages like kangaroos, Tasmanian devils, [...]

By | 2017-01-04T18:05:08+00:00 March 27th, 2013|Field Schools, General|Comments Off on Movin’ through the Miocene

Paleontology off to a smashing start

The Turkana Basin if famous for preserving the fossilized remains of our bipedal ancestors. But, there are more than fossil hominins in the rocks piled up around Lake Turkana. The remains of horses, pigs, fish, hyaenas, and hippos (lots of hippos) also tumble from the rock, providing the ecological and environmental context for the evolution [...]

By | 2017-01-04T18:05:09+00:00 March 25th, 2013|Field Schools, General|Comments Off on Paleontology off to a smashing start