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  • Gildas Merceron (Keynote Speaker)

    Directeur de Recherche
    Paleontology, Evolution, Paleoecology, Paleoprimatology
    CNRS   Université de Poitiers Poitiers, France

    Dr. Gildas Merceron applies dental micro- and meso-wear patterns and stable oxygen and carbon isotope composition of tooth enamel from ungulates and primates as proxies to describe climatic and environmental changes during the Cenozoic.

  • Andrew W. Barr

    Visiting Assistant Professor
    The George Washington University, Washington DC, USA

    Dr. Andrew Barr is a paleoanthropologist interested in understanding the environmental context of early human evolution. His research uses principles of functional morphology to characterize the habitat-specific adaptations of fossil mammals. He then uses these results to trace the prevalence of different habitats through time, as a proxy for the environmental conditions faced by hominins. 

  • Kendra Chritz

    Postdoctoral Fellow
    Human Origins Program, Department of Anthropology,
    Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History: Washington D.C.

    Dr. Kendra Chritz is an isotope geochemist who studies human-environment interactions in fossil, archaeological and historic records. Her research explores the reciprocal interactions between people and the ecosystems they live in: the environmental context of human cultural and biological evolution, long term effects of anthropogenic land use change and disturbances, and urban ecology.

  • Larisa R.G. DeSantis

    Assistant Professor
    Earth and Environmental Sciences
    Vanderbilt University Nashville, Tennessee, USA

    Dr. Larisa DeSantis runs the DREAM Lab at Vanderbilt University conducting interdisciplinary research aimed at understanding ecological and evolutionary responses to global change, at a variety of spatial and temporal scales. Specifically, she studies how stable isotopes and dental microwear record floral and faunal dynamics, while clarifying the ecology of extant mammals. 

  • Andrew Du

    Andrew Du

    Postdoctoral Scholar
    Organismal Biology and Anatomy
    The University of Chicago Chicago, Illinois, USA

    Dr. Andrew Du is interested in how our understanding of ecological communities changes with temporal, spatial, and taxonomic scale. He studies the modern large mammal skeletal assemblage of Amboseli National Park, southern Kenya, which acts as a "scale-bridge" between living and fossil communities. He uses his knowledge of community scaling relationships to interpret the fossil large mammal communities in the Omo-Turkana Basin, southern Ethiopia and northern Kenya.   

  • Regan E Dunn

    Negaunee Interdisciplinary Postdoctoral Fellow, Integrative Resource Center
    Field Museum of Natural History Chicago, Illinois, USA

    Dr. Regan E Dunn has been developing proxies to reconstruct vegetation structure, quantified as Leaf Area Index (LAI), in the fossil record using the morphology of leaf epidermal cells from phytoliths and leaf cuticles. She uses these methods to dissect past ecosystem change in new ways to examine how forest canopies have changed through major events in Earth's history including: 1) Climatic events (e.g. Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum, Eocene-Oligocene Transition), 2) Biotic crises (e.g. K-Pg), 3) Major tectonic episodes (e.g. Andean and Laramide orogenies), and 4) Significant periods in mammal evolution (e.g. evolution of hypsodonty in South America, hominid evolution in East Africa).

  • Fire Kovarovic

    Associate Professor of Human Evolution
    Durham University: Durham, United Kingdom

    Dr. Fire Kovarovic is a palaeoecologist and palaeoanthropologist interested in everything mammalian. Her work ranges from reconstructing hominin environments in Africa to developing analytical approaches for using mammalian remains in palaeoecological studies, including ecomorphology and community analysis. She also co-directs the “Bones of Ol Pejeta: Neotaphonomic and Ecological Survey” (BONES) project at Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya, a long-term study investigating neotaphonomic signatures in mammal death communities in natural habitats

  • Dan Peppe

    Associate Professor
    Terrestrial Paleoclimatology Research Group, Geosciences
    Baylor University Waco, Texas, USA

    Dr. Dan Peppe’s research is focused on reconstructing ancient climates and ecosystems through time in North America and East Africa, and on developing paleoclimate and paleoecological proxies. To do this, he integrates methods in paleobotany, paleoclimatology, ecology, stratigraphy, sedimentology, and paleomagnetism. Results from his research help address questions aimed at understanding the underlying dynamics between environmental, biotic, and climatic change through time.

  • Robert S. Scott

    Associate Professor
    Rutgers New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA

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    Dr. Rob Scott is an evolutionary anthropologist focused on how our lineage and close relatives (the hominins) survived and responded to changes in ecology, environment, and climate. Specifically, his research emphasizes the influence of diet and dietary change in human evolution. He is the co-developer of key methods for quantifying dental microwear for use in reconstructing ancient diets.

  • Amy Rector

    Assistant Professor
    Virginia Commonwealth University Richmond, Virginia, USA

    Dr. Amy Rector’s primary research includes reconstructing paleoecological contexts for early human evolution in eastern and southern Africa, as well as identifying and analyzing fossil mammal communities to characterize their biogeographic and ecological affinities through space and time.