I am a biological anthropologist with research interests in Asia (specifically Southeast Asia). My research involves characterizing the initial migrations of early Homo into this region about 1.6 mya. These investigations of the evolution of Homo erectus are cross-disciplinary, encompassing the study and discovery of human fossil remains, as well as use of paleoecological and geochronologic methods in the Sangiran Dome, Java (Indonesia). Most recently, I co-led an international collaborative focused on site formation and taphonomy of the Late Pleistocene hominin site of Ngandong, Java. Our 2008 fieldwork identified fluvial facies with locally-derived volcaniclastic sand and abundant mud mixed with gravel. This structure contains evidence for the geological processes that likely deposited the bones prior to their fossilization. Our 2010 fieldwork re-analyzed the discovery beds, performing terrace surveys using modern techniques in order to: 1) produce a depositional model for the site; 2) understand the faunal taphonomy; 3) develop a predictive framework for locating fossiliferous deposits in other areas of the Solo River 20 m terrace. Results on these objectives will prepare the way for refining the geological age and assessing the significance of the Ngandong Homo erectus fossils.
In addition to the study of our own genus, I also continue to research non-human primate evolution in Asia with particular emphasis on the evolution and dietary adaptations of Gigantopithecus using dental isotope analysis. Past field projects have also included the study of Eocene primate evolution in Myanmar, Miocene hominoids of India and China, and Plio-Pleistocene cercopithecoids. I incorporate my research into my work as co-author to the biological anthropology text, Introduction to Physical Anthropology, 13th ed., (Jurmain, R., Kilgore, L., Trevathan, W., Ciochon, R.L., 2011, Wadsworth-Cengage).
Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science; Fellow National, The Explorer’s Club, New York; Phi Beta Kappa