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Tracing our Evolutionary History

The quest to understand our origins has been a topic that has kept many paleoanthropologists engaged in reconstructing the evolutionary tree in the past few years. Fossil specimens from different sites in the world have been the primary source of data, most of which are from the Late Miocene period (11.6-5.3mya), and the Plio-pleistocene period [...]

By |2020-04-07T10:26:47-07:00April 5th, 2020|Field Schools, Origins Field School, Spring 2020|Comments Off on Tracing our Evolutionary History

Understanding Anatomy and Osteology in Human Evolution

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, students and instructors returned back to their home countries around mid-March. Since then, the Origins Field School has been utilizing virtual classes for its remaining two courses. Underway is the Human Evolution course, taught by Dr. Carrie Mongle. She is a postdoctoral research fellow at the American Museum of Natural [...]

By |2020-03-30T12:42:26-07:00March 29th, 2020|Field Schools, Origins Field School, Spring 2020|Comments Off on Understanding Anatomy and Osteology in Human Evolution

Bird-watching with the locals

On Monday, students were introduced to the basics of anthropometrics, which are fundamental to understanding human physical variations in populations. Students have come to find out the importance of measuring weight, height, and body fat percentages in assessing diets and life-histories. As emphasized by our instructor, Zane, local adaptations influence much of the body form [...]

By |2020-03-17T09:28:32-07:00March 15th, 2020|Field Schools, Origins Field School, Spring 2020|Comments Off on Bird-watching with the locals

Well-digging exercise

Water is a vital but scarce resource for pastoral communities in the Turkana Basin. The situation has been worsened by climate change, which often results in prolonged periods of drought or floods. Water sources determine the movement pattern and settling sphere of people and their livestock. During dry seasons, the Daassanach move around in search [...]

By |2020-03-10T10:08:39-07:00March 10th, 2020|Field Schools, Origins Field School, Spring 2020|Comments Off on Well-digging exercise

Cultural Immersion among the Dassanach

Over time, anthropologists have been exploring the complexities of different societies through human and cultural interactivity, mainly by living, and practicing the community's way of life to acquire first-hand information from an "insiders" perspective. This week, the students have been introduced to the Dassanach culture, where they have been observing, conducting discussions, and interacting with [...]

By |2020-03-09T10:07:27-07:00March 7th, 2020|Field Schools, Origins Field School, Spring 2020|Comments Off on Cultural Immersion among the Dassanach

Excavating Fossils at Buluk

A trip to Buluk on Monday morning marked the start of our last week studying Vertebrate Paleontology. The middle Miocene site of Buluk sits on basaltic sediments dated to about 16mya. The faunal interchange during the early Miocene, as a result of a terrestrial connection between Eurasia and Africa, was the main factor that brought [...]

By |2020-03-02T10:05:52-08:00March 1st, 2020|Field Schools, Origins Field School, Spring 2020|Comments Off on Excavating Fossils at Buluk

Studying Osteology at the Field School

Our main focus this week has been trying to understand mammalian bone structure and functions. Students learned about mammalian evolution and adaptation to different ecological habitats. Bones tell us about the diets, locomotion style, and types of environment animals occupied. For instance, zebras have high crowned teeth (hypsodont), designed to better handle the tough foods [...]

By |2020-02-24T13:20:32-08:00February 23rd, 2020|Field Schools, Origins Field School, Spring 2020|Comments Off on Studying Osteology at the Field School

The history of the Earth unrolled

  As we start our new course, Vertebrate Paleontology, taught by Prof. Ellen Miller of Wake Forest University, students are ready to put in practice all the amassed knowledge and skills from the last two courses (Ecology and Geology) in reconstructing paleoenvironments, and describing geological contexts in which fossils are found. The week started with [...]

By |2020-02-20T08:39:40-08:00February 19th, 2020|Field Schools, Origins Field School, Spring 2020|Comments Off on The history of the Earth unrolled