Teeth are a really useful indicator of past environments. This is possible because teeth have biological rhythms and key events get locked inside them. These faithful internal clocks run night and day, year after year, and include daily growth lines and a marked line formed at birth.
As biologists explore the variation across the genomes of living people, they’ve found evidence of evolution at work. Particular variants of genes increase or decrease in populations through time. Sometimes this happens by chance. Other times these changes in frequency result from the gene’s helping or hindering individuals’ survival.
Kathryn McGrath was awarded a Leakey Foundation Research Grant in our spring 2016 cycle for her project entitled “Understanding stress-related enamel defects in wild mountain gorillas.” Here she updates us on her progress.