Erik Trinkaus


Erik Trinkaus

Erik Trinkaus, PhD, (December 24, 1948) is a prominent paleoanthropologist and expert on Neanderthal biology and human evolution. Trinkaus researches the evolution of the genus "Homo sapiens" and recent human diversity, focusing on the paleoanthropology and emergence of late archaic and early modern humans, and the subsequent evolution of 'anatomically modern' humanity. Trinkaus is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, a contributor to publications including "Natural History" and "Scientific American", and is frequently quoted in the popular media. Trinkaus is the Mary Tileston Hemenway Professor of Physical Anthropology at Washington University in St. Louis

Education

Trinkaus received his bachelor of arts degree in Art History and Physics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and his master's and PhD degrees in anthropology from the University of Pennsylvania, the latter in 1975.

cientific influence

Trinkaus' research findings and analyses of archaeological materials have made significant contributions to the understanding of early modern human biology, particularly in the areas of Neanderthal extinction and intelligence, the mitochondrial Eve theory, and the contributions of Neanderthal DNA to the human gene pool.

Trinkaus' research emphasizes the biological implications of behavioural shifts that could have been caused by interactions between Neanderthals and anatomically modern Pleistocene humans. His research addresses the 'origins of modern humans' debate, the interpretation of the archaeological record, and patterns of recent human anatomical variation, principally through his analysis of human fossil remains. His research involves biomechanical analysis of crania and post-cranial remains, respiratory and thermal adaptations, interpretations of ecogeographical patterning, evaluations of neuroanatomical evolution, life history parameters, and differential levels and patterns of stress, and interrelationships between these anatomically-based patterns.

In 1999, Trinkaus and his colleagues documented that Neanderthals roamed central Europe as recently as 28,000 years ago, the latest date yet established for Neandertal fossils worldwide.

As findings of potentially hybrid Neanderthal/modern fossils in places like Portugal have emerged in recent years, Trinkaus has broadened his research to include the complex patterns of human evolutionary change through the Early and especially Middle Pleistocene, especially with regard to the diversity, paleobiology and behaviour of early modern humans.

Research projects

Trinkaus' recent research has primarily focused on three projects. The first involved the early Upper Paleolithic (ca.25,000 B.P.) child's skeleton from the Abrigo do Lagar Velho in Portugal, a specimen which indicates some degree of admixture between the Neandertals and early modern humans in Iberia. The second concerns the largest known sample of early modern human remains, of the Paleolithic Gravettian culture, from the Dolni Vestonice and in the vicinity of Pavlov in southern Moravia, Czech Republic, dated between 25,000 and 27,000 B.P. The third began in 2002 with the discovery in Romania of early modern human remains in the Pestera cu Oase, dated to 35,000 B.P., which represent the earliest modern humans yet discovered in Europe.

External links

* [http://www.artsci.wustl.edu/~anthro/blurb/b_trink.html www.artsci.wustl.edu] - 'Erik Trinkaus, PhD', Washington University in St. Louis (faculty home page)
* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/sci/tech/newsid_323000/323657.stm BBC.co.uk] - 'Neanderthals "mated with modern humans"', BBC (April 21, 1999)
* [http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2005-05/wuis-nfs042805.php Eurekalert.org] - 'Earliest European modern humans found' (September 22, 2003)
* [http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2005-05/wuis-nfs042805.php Eurekalert.org] - 'Neandertal femur suggests competition with hyenas and a shift in landscape use' (May 2, 2005)
* [http://www.niu.edu/PubAffairs/presskits/carnivore/release.html NIU.edu] - 'Meaty discovery: Neandertal bone chemistry provides food for thought', Tom Parisi, Ann Nicholson, Northern Illinois University
* [http://news-info.wustl.edu/sb/page/normal/101.html WUStL.edu] - 'Erik Trinkaus: Mary Tileston Hemenway Professor of Physical Anthropology', Washington University in St. Louis


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