Photo by: Purwo Kuncoro

Introducing the fall 2022 Leakey Foundation grant recipients

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We are pleased to announce the recipients of our fall 2022 Leakey Foundation Research Grants. 

These 32 scientists embody our mission of increasing scientific knowledge and public understanding of human evolution, behavior, and survival. Their diverse research projects span the globe and cover topics that range from climate change and ancient human migration to microbe transmission and the energetics of walking, climbing, and leaping.

This cycle, 60% of our grants were awarded to PhD candidates. We look forward to sharing more about our grantees and their work as their projects progress.


Devara Anil excavating fossilized skeletal remains of Bos sp. from a Palaeolithic site Motravulapadu, Andhra Pradesh, India.
Devara Anil excavating fossilized skeletal remains of Bos sp. from a Palaeolithic site Motravulapadu, Andhra Pradesh, India.
Photo credit: Mr. Zakir Khan

Devara Anil, Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda: Investigating multiple fossil beds from Motravulapadu, Andhra Pradesh: Implications for faunal responses to climatic, volcanic, and anthropogenic-driven changes during the Late Pleistocene in South Asia

Adrián Arroyo photo documenting use-wear traces of a capuchin monkey tool-use site at Serra da Capivara in Brazil.
Photo credit: Tomos Proffitt

Adrián Arroyo, Institut Català de Paleoecologia Humana i Evolució Social: Savanna chimpanzee technology from Dindefelo (Senegal)

Isabelle Clark, University of Texas at Austin: The development of territorial conflict and group identity in wild chimpanzees

Rebecca Cook hiking in Kauai, Hawaii.

Rebecca Cook, Duke University: Biomechanics of the early Homo pelvis using finite element analysis

John Dalton visiting a puzzle box designed for thick-tailed bushbabies (Otolemur crassicaudatus) at the Lajuma Research Centre, South Africa.

John Dalton, University of Colorado: Cognitive ecology of a nocturnal strepsirrhine primate and its implications on primate cognitive evolution

Edwin Dickinson (PI; left), Melody Young (co-PI; center), Michael Granatosky (co-PI; right) preparing for the first “Are you stronger than a lemur?” outreach program.

Edwin Dickinson, New York Institute of Technology: Determinants of grasping strength in primates

Rhianna Drummond-Clark in the field at the Issa Valley study site, during a chimpanzee search. From this high point, looking over a central area of the habituated communities home range, she can hear if they vocalize or see if they rustle a tree and then rush across the rugged terrain to locate them and begin a follow!

Rhianna Drummond-Clarke, University of Kent: Ecological drivers of bipedalism and arboreality in savanna-dwelling chimpanzees

Anastasia Eleftheriadou doing a surface survey on the island of Lemnos, Greece, where she was investigating the effects of post-depositional processes on Epipalaeolithic lithic scatters in terms of their spatial distribution and visibility.
Photo credit: Desgew Zerihun Mekonnen

Anastasia Eleftheriadou, Universidade do Algarve: Geo-archaeoinformatic approaches and multiscale mapping of coastal paleosols and archaeology in eastern South Africa

Zandra Fagernäs working in a ‘cleanroom’, or a laboratory adapted for research on ancient biomolecules.
Photo credit: Elizabeth Nelson

Zandra Fagernäs Globe Institute, University of Copenhagen: Decontamination of skeletal elements for the palaeoproteomic study of hominin evolution

Christian Gagnon conducting field work in Gariep, South Africa in 2018, where he was collecting data for a longitudinal study of obesity in savanna monkeys.

Christian Gagnon, Boston University: Validating selection using expression UCP1 in fibroblast-derived brown adipocytes

Neysa Grider-Potter working with the captive sifaka at Duke Lemur Center in preparation for fieldwork.

Neysa Grider-Potter, University of Texas at San Antonio: Locomotor energetics in sifaka: Contexts and consequences of terrestrial locomotion using arboreal anatomy

Johanna Henke-von der Malsburg observing wild lemurs in Isalo National Park, Madagascar.

Johanna Henke-von der Malsburg, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology: Assessing stone-tool selection decisions in wild Burmese long-tailed macaques

Nicholas Holowka using ultrasound to measure foot muscle size in a research participant in Guachochi, Mexico. Photo credit: David Ramos

Nicholas Holowka, State University of New York at Buffalo: The kinematics and energetics of natural terrain walking in Batek foragers of Malaysia

Laura Hunter, University of Chicago: Carpal morphology, covariation, evolvability in catarrhines, and their impact on inferring locomotor behaviors in extinct hominoid taxa

Spencer Irvine, Yale University: Early primate locomotion: The importance of leaping to primate origins

A clear day while doing high-altitude fieldwork in the Himalayas (Pheriche, Nepal).

Kelsey Jorgensen, University of California, Los Angeles: How does hypoxic stress shape the genomic and physiological evolution of Nepali Sherpa?

Catherine Kitrinos, University of Massachusetts, Amherst: Bats, baboons, and berries: Microbial transmission at Kasanka National Park

John Lower poses with a curious adolescent chimpanzee, named Wenka (background), in Kibale National Park, Uganda.
Photo credit: Elaine Kozma

John Lower, University of New Mexico: Mechanisms of collective inter-group aggression among wild chimpanzees in Uganda

Sara Lucci at Kibale National Park in Uganda recording behavioral data on baboons.
Photo credit: Jessica Rothman

Sara Lucci, University of Texas at San Antonio: Early life adversity and gut microbiota composition in Colobus vellerosus

Jordan Lucore collecting fecal samples at the Taboga Forest Reserve in Guanacaste, Costa Rica for her dissertation research on white-faced capuchin gut microbiomes.

Jordan Lucore, University of Michigan: Gut microbiome-host endocrine interactions in white-faced capuchins

Risa Luther conducting research on dietary ecology and nutrition in Kibale National Park, Uganda.

Risa Luther, University of Minnesota: Differential tooth wear among primate dietary categories

Dr. Hila May (middle lower photo) with her colleagues – Dr. Omry Barzilai and Natalia Gubenko (from right to left in the left lower photo) at Emireh Cave, Israel (upper and lower right photos), during the excavation season of 2022.

Hila May, Tel Aviv University: Back to Emireh Cave: Tracing the origin of modern humans

Kate McGrath teaching at the State University of New York, Oneonta.

Kate McGrath, State University of New York, Oneonta: 3D analysis of dental stress markers in the Atapuerca hominins

Hasinala Ramangason in Ranomafana National Park in Madagascar at the end of a day of behavioral follows on frugivorous lemurs.

Hasinala Ramangason, University of Calgary: Feast and famine: Nutrigenomics of frugivorous lemurs in southeastern Madagascar

Jack Richardson, George Washington University: The role of social play in the development of gorillas

Elena Robakiewicz collecting water samples from a cave in southwestern Angola. Photo credit: Daniela DeMatos

Elena Robakiewicz, University of Connecticut: Early/Mid-Pleistocene environments of Paleolake Suguta, Kenya: Implications for hominin migration and evolution

Alex Sacco observing wild emperor tamarins (Saguinus imperator) at Estación Biológica Los Amigos (EBLA) in the lowland Peruvian Amazon rainforest. Photo credit: Ryan Peters

Alexandra Sacco, Washington University: A dynamic microbiome: Implications for reproduction and plasticity

Irene Solano-Megías doing field work at DGS site in Olduvai Gorge (Tanzania).
Photo credit: Dr. José Manuel Maíllo-Fernández

Irene Solano Megías, Consorcio CENIEH: Techno-cognitive skills of Homo sapiens ca. 80-70 ka: The Middle Stone Age (MSA) at Gona, Ethiopia.

Nathan Thompson with a cast of a gorilla skull.

Nathan Thompson, New York Institute of Technology: Did angular momentum conservation govern the evolution of human bipedalism?

Emma Thurau, Hunter College: Balancing nutrients and toxins in wild monkey diets: A chemical phenotype approach

Working with the Paranthropus casts in the Hominin Paleobiology lab at The George Washington University’s Center for the Advanced Study of Human Paleobiology. Photo credit: Tiara Jenkins

Alexis Uluutku, George Washington University: The role of character displacement and ecological niche incumbency in hominin evolution

Peter Ungar studying oral health of Hadza foragers of Tanzania.

Peter Ungar, University of Arkansas: Dental microwear and diets of Paleogene primates from the Fayum: Contributions to understanding the evolution of anthropoid communities

Kelsey Witt, Brown University: Identifying super-archaic introgression using demographic modeling



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