Susanne Cote

Grant Type

Conference Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Calgary, U. of

Grant number

Gr. CONF-727

Approve Date

September 1, 2016

Project Title

Cote, Dr. Susanne, U. of Calgary, Calgary, Canada - To aid workshop on 'Early Adaptive Evolution of the Hominoidea,' 2018, Nairobi, Kenya, in collaboration with Dr. Fredrick Manthi

Preliminary abstract: The early Miocene fossil record of East Africa preserves the earliest evidence of important modern ape characteristics such as upright posture, prolonged life histories, and dietary breadth. These key adaptations signal a fundamental adaptive shift in our ancestors and ultimately become some of the principal axes by which early hominins evolve and diversify. Over the past five years, we have used funding from the NSF to conduct extensive research at seven early Miocene fossil areas in Kenya and Uganda, incorporating standardized protocols for fossil collection, geological sampling, taphonomic analysis, and paleoecological reconstruction. Building on this body of research, we will convene a capstone workshop to consolidate, synthesize, and interpret our results. The fundamental aim is to connect shifts in early ape adaptations to understand the environmental contexts in which they evolved. Our workshop will include paleoanthropologists, vertebrate paleontologists, and geologists — from both within and beyond the project personnel — coming together to share data from all seven research areas in order to build a synthetic, regional picture of the changing patterns of ape adaptive evolution.