Natalie O’Shea

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

New York, Graduate Center, City U. of

Grant number

Gr. 9837

Approve Date

April 29, 2019

Project Title

O'Shea, Natalie (New York, Graduate Center, City U. of) "Comparative phylogeography of baboons and vervets: A model for early modern human demography and biogeography"

Early modern human demography and biogeography are related to a wide range of important issues in modern human origins research, from the appearance of early markers of behavioral modernity in the archaeological record to the global dispersal of Homo sapiens in the Late Pleistocene. However, our ability to discern ancient patterns of population structure from the fossil record and patterns of variation in extant populations is limited. The phylogeography of other widely-distributed, ecologically-flexible primates can provide useful insights into past human demographic and biogeographic responses to rapid climate fluctuations in the African Pleistocene. Baboons (genus Papio) and vervets (genus Chlorocebus) are broadly co-distributed with each other and human populations in woodland and savannah habitats across sub-Saharan Africa, making them good ecological model taxa for early modern human populations. This study will utilize a multi-marker approach (SNPs, skull morphology, and paleoclimate data) to test for concordant demographic responses to Pleistocene climate change, identify putative glacial refugia, and assess the congruence of patterns of morphological and genetic population structure. The results of this work will provide a model for early modern human demography and biogeography and also expand our understanding of African faunal evolution more broadly.