Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The National Geographic Society Waitt Grants Program has awarded Anthropology Assistant Professor Siobhán Cooke, with collaborators Melissa Tallman of Grand Valley State University and Andres Link of the Universidad de Los Andes, a $15,000 grant in support of the proposed project, “Primate Paleontology in the Magdelena Valley, Colombia.”

The project will build on two seasons of pilot research at a site in La Venta, Colombia, that showed differences in the types and quantities of animals in rock strata. These differences may be correlated with environmental shifts over time.

“My colleagues and I are honored to receive this grant from the National Geographic Society Waitt Grants Program,” Cooke said. “Our project will help us to better comprehend how South American monkeys have evolved in the face of a changing environment—a topic that has implications for understanding how environmental change may affect species survivorship today.”

Previous research in the area focused on the geology of the region as well as the description of new species. Cooke’s project will use fossil collection and analysis to create a more nuanced picture of animal population changes in response to environmental and geological transformation over the 2 million-year geological sequence of the site.

Siobhán Cooke