My primary research interests build on my dissertation research on the environmental, social and nutritional dimensions of insectivory by the chimpanzees of Gombe National Park, Tanzania. As a research associate at CASHP I will expand my research focus to examine how faunivory (referring to consumption of animals, whether invertebrate or otherwise) relates to rank, community range use, and patterns of health and reproductive success among the chimpanzees of Gombe and elsewhere.
Ultimately I want to apply insights from the study of chimpanzee behavioral ecology to modeling the behavior and diet of human ancestors. For example, I am interested in (a) identifying what (if any) critical nutrient requirements for chimpanzees are likely to be met through the consumption of animal prey, and (b) evaluating whether chimpanzee-like foraging behaviors, including insectivory, might be inferred from archaeological or paleoecological traces or from hominin skeletal and dental remains.
Prior to joining CASHP in 2013 I taught Introduction to Biological Anthropology, Primate Behavior and Ecology, and a seminar on The Human Animal (exploring the concept of human uniqueness, or lack thereof) at Kenyon College. I hold a Ph.D. in Integrative and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Southern California. Under the guidance of Dr. Craig Stanford, I tested an array of hypotheses regarding insect prey choice by the Kasekela community of chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii) of Gombe National Park, Tanzania. I also hold a M.A. in Anthropology from the University of Alberta, where I completed a thesis on patterns of food processing among white-faced capuchins (Cebus capucinus) in Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica (supervised by Dr. Linda Fedigan).