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September 2017 vol 1.0
It is fall again, and faculty and graduate students have returned from the far-flung corners of the globe (or just around the block) with research to examine, analyze, ponder, discuss, write up, and publish! Some research articles that were published over the summer are highlighted in the Research section below.

IHO had a "Welcome Back" luncheon with nearly 70 people attending—a testament to the growth of the IHO team from faculty, to postdoctoral researchers, to IHO-affiliated graduate and undergraduate students, to new IHO staff. Several members of IHO's Research Council attended to share food and talk with scientists and students.

IHO's annual New York lecture (see Events below), new research, and great Phoenix weather are on the way, so join us in welcoming fall!


Featured stories

Articles highlighting news, partnerships, and research

Primates and Paleoanthropology—A once-in-a-lifetime adventure!

Are you ready for a real adventure that is more than just viewing wild animals from a platform or landrover? This is the trip for you!

Follow long-time chimpanzee researcher Ian Gilby through the forest at arguably the world’s most famous chimpanzee research site—the Gombe Stream Research Center, founded by Jane Goodall in 1965.

Then, experience the quintessential African animal reserve at the Ngorongoro Crater and visit Oldupai Gorge—one of the most important paleoanthropological sites in the world. End the trip in Rwanda in search of gorillas at the famed Dian Fossey reserve and trek to find endangered golden monkeys.

You won't find a trip of this depth and immersion in understanding our closest primate cousins offered anywhere else. Do not miss this opportunity!
Travel + Learn—More information

Excellence + Research = Impact

High-achieving IHO scientists and students. Plus forward-thinking research in laboratories and at field sites across the globe—funded by private and public organizations and individuals. Equal a strategic impact that is creating novel approaches to the solution of pressing and newly emerging scientific questions in human origins science. Read how the facts add up to impact in the new IHO Fact Sheet (PDF).

Training the next generation of human origins scientists—from middle school to PhDs!

Graduate excellence

During 2017, five doctoral students completed the long road to receiving their PhDs under the mentorship of IHO scientists. Congratulations to these new PhDs!

Hallie Edmonds
The functional morphology of the primate zygomatic arch in relation to diet
Kaye Reed PhD, advisor

Halszka Glowacka
Biomechanical constraints on molar emergence in primates
Gary Schwartz PhD, advisor

Genevieve Housman

Primate skeletal epigenetics: Evolutionary implications of DNA methylation patterns in the skeletal tissues of human and nonhuman primates
Anne Stone PhD, advisor

Maria Nieves-Colon

The population history of the Caribbean: Perspectives from ancient and modern DNA analysis
Anne Stone PhD, advisor

Simen Oestmo
A formal modeling approach to understanding stone tool raw material selection in the South African Middle Stone Age: A case study from Pinnacle Point, South Africa
Curtis Marean PhD, advisor

Undergraduate excellence

This year’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Dean’s Medalists includes IHO undergraduate student assistant Alexandra Norwood, who was part of the IHO team since her sophmore year. Alexandra won two Dean's Medals—one for the School of Human Evolution and Social Change and one for the School of Earth and Space Exploration. In addition to her work at IHO, she was a research assistant with Kaye Reed in South Africa. Read more about her ASU journey here.

NEW—A resource for middle school students and teachers

Ask An Anthropologist (
Many resources on the web provide facts about how we became human, but too few provide classroom teachers with curricular tools and content that engage young people in human origins and the scientific method.

Inspired by Ask A Biologist and the Webby-award winning Becoming Human, Ask An Anthropologist aspires to build an online community of science and social studies educators focused on middle- and high-school learners.

New Publications

The newest developments in human origins science 
Archaeology: Early signs of human presence in Australia Curtis Marean Nature: News & Views July 2017

Late Pliocene Bovidae from Ledi-Geraru (Lower Awash Valley, Ethiopia) and their implications for Afar paleoecology Faysal Bibi, John Rowan, Kaye Reed Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology July 2017

Male reproductive skew is higher in bonobos than chimpanzees  Martin Surbeck, Kevin Langergraber, Barbara Fruth, Linda Vigilant, Gottfried Hohmann Current Biology July 2017

Australopithecus sediba and the emergence of Homo: Questionable evidence from the cranium of the juvenile holotype MH 1 William H. Kimbel, Yoel Rak Journal of Human Evolution June 2017

How the second-order free rider problem is solved in a small-scale society Sarah Mathew American Economic Review May 2017

Late Pliocene environmental change during the transition from Australopithecus to Homo Joshua R. Robinson, John Rowan, Christopher J. Campisano, Jonathan G. Wynn, Kaye E. Reed Nature: Ecology & Evolution May 2017

Featured events

Events for anyone with an interest in learning about human origins
Photo of a Chimpanzee

The Ape Within: Wild Chimpanzees and the
Origins of Humanity

Friday, November 10, 2017
5:30 to 8:30 pm
The Metropolitan Club, NYC

Join us in November for a lively and engaging evening at the Metropolitan Club in New York City. Cocktails and conversation will be followed by a compelling presentation by IHO research scientist Ian Gilby. Click the title above for more information or reserve your space below. 
Reserve your tickets now

CARTA Symposium

Friday, September 29, 2017
1:00 to 5:30 pm
Salk Institute, La Jolla, CA

CARTA—the Center for Academic Research and Training in Anthropogeny—offers free, webcast public symposia that "explore and explain the origins of the human phenomenon." The next symposia is titled "Cellular and molecular explorations of Anthropogeny." It is free to join the webcast. IHO researchers are affiliated with the CARTA program.
More info

April 2017 Science Symposium Video

To wrap up research results for the $4.9 million John Templeton Foundation grant funded in 2014, IHO researchers took the stage to review what questions they wanted to answer and what answers—or new questions—were discovered along the way. Read more about:
The original grant
The 11 research projects

Watch the video

Noted and quoted

IHO science coverage and expertise quoted in the media

The Bone Wars
Science Friction (ABC Australia) (31:46)
Bill Kimbel is interviewed in an extended radio story about the Homo naledi discovery. Interview includes Lee Berger, Elen Feuerriegel, and Darren Curnow. 

Inspiration links The Beatles, a fossil, and NASA mission
While most NASA missions are acronyms, when a proposed NASA mission to explore Jupiter's Trojan asteroids was in search of a name, this particular mission took a different path. Primitive bodies like the Trojans are fossils of these first planetary building blocks and hold valuable clues to how the planets formed. That link to our beginnings inspired the mission's principal investigator to name the spacecraft after the Lucy fossil.

True altruism seen in chimpanzees, giving clues to evolution of human cooperation
What motivates male chimps to risk life and limb on patrol missions? These can be costly excursions—about a third of the time, they meet chimps from a rival group, and occasionally the encounters turn bloody. Kevin Langergraber and his colleagues suggest that by patrolling to protect the group, the entire group becomes more attractive to females. He adds that such cooperative behavior may serve as an evolutionary basis for human cooperation within huge, diverse communities.

Of interest

Top stories from around ASU

ASU selected as nation's most innovative school for third straight year

U.S. News & World Report has named ASU as the most innovative university all three years it has had the category, recognizing the university’s groundbreaking initiatives, partnerships, programs, and research.

ASU's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences has banner year for philanthropy

IHO is grateful to be supported by its Research Council, Executive Board, and other members of its donor community to fund student scholarships, research, outreach, and institute operations.Two of our long-time Executive Board members, Laura and Herb Roskind,  are featured in this article that highlights support around the college. 
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