Fieldwork in the East African Rift Valley's Turkana Basin can contribute to an invaluable record of evolution and climate change over the last 4 million years.

An important component of my research involves collaboration with the National Museums of Kenya (NMK), the Turkana Basin Institute (TBI) and the West Turkana Archaeological Project (WTAP), to collect samples from herbivore fossil teeth at sites of hominin occupation during the Plio-Pleistocene. Using fine scale sampling and computer modeling, we work to reconstruct aspects of seasonal rainfall and resource availability.

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Sediments at Lomekwi in Turkana, Kenya, where I have worked in collaboration with the NMK and WTAP.

Individual fossil teeth that are isolated or fragmented contain a wealth of potential information about past environments.

By combining fossil collection with tooth histology, synchrotron imaging, stable isotope analyses and computer modeling, fossil samples of low worth to collections can be mined for detailed information about past feeding behaviors, landscape ecology, and dynamic environments that faced our ancestors.

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A Pliocene Alcelaphine molar sample prepared for isotopic and histological analysis.

Field schools are an important means of educating young scientists, and generating passion for paleontology and the places that make it possible.

I have been very fortunate to work with the Turkana Basin Institute as a teaching assistant for their inaugural Turkwel Field School, featuring classes in geology, ecology, paleontology, paleoanthropology and archaeology.

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Miocene sediments at Lothagam photographed during Craig Feibel's geology module for the TBI for the TBI field school.