Jamie Hodgkins, PhD, University of Colorado, Denver presents
New species belonging to the genus Homo are discovered more and more frequently. Paleoanthropological research has revealed that our own family lineage is far more complex than once thought, yet it is also true that through time this diversity has been whittled down to one remaining species, Homo sapiens. Understanding why our species has survived when others did not is key to determining what makes us “human” and where we fit into the natural world. Reconstructing landscapes use patterns, hunting, and foraging behaviors, and the mobility of early modern humans and our closest fossil relatives the Neandertals can help tease apart ecological factors that contributed to our success. Using a combination of zooarchaeology, isotope geochemistry, and aerial photography this talk will summarize work currently in progress to reconstruct the daily foraging habits, and nutritional choices of early modern humans in Africa and of Neandertals in Europe. Reconstructions of the ecological changes to the environment experienced by hominids in both of these locations will also be discussed.