Carnivorans hold a place of honor in real-world ecosystems, in nature conservation strategies, and in our imagination. In our work, we cross paths with carnivorans in the dusty caves of the Judean Desert, looking for evidence of the impact of humans on the recently-extinct Arabian leopard population of that region in deep time.
Uncovering the remains of ancient animals fills us with excitement; it is a symbolic act of resurrection, an excavation of life out of oblivion. But, it is frustratingly Orphic in that when all is said and done, we are left with little more than informed imaginations and dead bones. The restorationist’s vision of rebounding Nature is sundered from paleontology by the thin curtain of the present; piercing that veil, allowing restoration ecology to flow together with paleoecology, has for years now been a heart’s call for many lovers of the wild. This conference is a tribute to their work.
I am a broadly trained paleobiologist and zooarchaeologist studying the ecological adaptations of ancient mammal faunas to their habitats, with a focus in the biogeographical and environmental context of hominin evolution and human history. I am currently a Leverhulme Postdoctoral Fellow at the Department of Evolution, Ecology, and Behaviour, at the Institute of Infection, Veterinary, and Ecological Sciences at the University of Liverpool. I obtained my PhD in Evolutionary Anthropology at the Institute of Human Origins, Arizona State University, where I studied Plio-Pleistocene African suid evolution. I am involved in fieldwork and research in multiple projects in eastern Africa and the Middle East, covering archaeological and fossil records from the Miocene to the present. My approaches incorporate phylogenetic analyses, species distribution modelling, radiocarbon dating, and techniques of paleodietary inference, like stable isotope analyses and dental microwear.
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