Alemseged Lab

2024 AABA in Los Angeles

Apr 9, 2024

The Alemseged Lab team recently made it over to Los Angeles, California, to attend both the 2024 Paleoanthropology Society meeting (PSM) the 93rd annual American Association of Biological Anthropologists meeting (AABA), as well as to meet up with others in the field.

Zeray co-authored each of the students’ presentations and was able to introduce them to Don Johanson, before having dinner with him later.

Austin presented his talk on the “Effects of hip joint orientation and skeletal torsion on human locomotor biomechanics: Implications for interpretations of hominin locomotor diversity,” which was coauthored by Jamie B. Hall, Kevin M. Middleton, Jacob Thomas, Abdullah Alsharafi, Sam Weiss, Trent M. Guess, and Carol V. Ward.

Yared prepared two projects this year. At PSM, he shared his research on “Craniofacial development, variation and sexual dimorphism in extant nonhuman great apes.” At the AABA, he presented a poster titled “East African bovids show specialized molars to feed on a wear-inducing diet during the late Pliocene.”

Hannah presented “Locomotor signals in the clavicle of Australopithecus afarensis“, for which she won the Journal of Human Evolution’s Outstanding Student Prize. Congratulations, Hannah!

Laura’s talk on “Assessing inter- and intraspecific variation in carpal articular surface geometry in catarrhines” was additionally coauthored by Matthew Tocheri.

Maddie spoke about “Reconstructing woody cover in African habitats using Bayesian modeling and 3D shape variation of the bovid astragalus”. Too, she co-authored a poster titled “Paleoecological and Temporal Context of Area 123 Hominins in East Turkana, Kenya” with Owen Goodchild, Sahleselasie Melaku, Frances Forrest, David R. Braun, Dan V. Palcu, and Emmanuel K. NDiema.

Our team was able to meet up together, with fellow UChicago postdoc Jeff of the Tsegai Lab, for a nice dinner and share discussions spurred on by the conference.

We also caught up with one of our previous high school interns, Levi, who gave a presentation at each of the meetings. These were on “The effect of trait redundancy on parsimony-inferred tree topologies from a hominin character matrix” (PSM) and “Moving great ape osteobiographies forward: digitally linking macro and micro data and media at the individual level” (AABA). Levi is currently a senior at Haverford College and will graduate in May with degrees in Biology and Anthropology. This fall, he will be starting a PhD in Integrative Biology with John Huelsenbeck at University of California Berkeley and hopes to expand morphological phylogenetics and improve the quality of the hominin phylogenetic tree.

Aside from the wealth of research interests, one of our favorite aspects of attending conferences is seeing former lab members and prior cohort friends. Previous postdoc Faye stopped by to chat with our group, as did some friends from Addis Ababa University. We also caught up with former postdoc Andrew.

Overall, it was another successful year of sharing research and catching up with old friends. Looking forward to next year!



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