Professor’s research team honored earlier this month

A biological anthropology professor at Seton Hall participated in a research team whose study was published on the front page of Nature Magazine this month.

Professor Rhonda Quinn began working in the summer of 2004 with the West Turkana Archaeological Project, which has been conducting archaeological excavations of early stone tool sites for over twenty years.

According to Quinn, the overall goal of the project is to “elucidate the behavioral, cognitive, and technological evolution of Pleistocene tool users and reconstruct early hominin habitats.”

As one of the members of the WTAP, Quinn said she is also reconstructing the ancient environments “in order to understand the selective pressures that influenced the behavioral and morphological evolution of early members of our genus.”

In particular, Quinn said she is looking at the role of climate and environmental change in human evolution using the method of stable isotopic geochemistry of ancient soils, lake sediments, and faunal teeth. “My research is closely aligned with the courses that I teach at Seton Hall,” Quinn said. “I think my excitement for my research often spills over into my courses.”

This semester, Quinn is teaching human evolution and introduction to physical anthropology.

“Both of these courses are concerned with the evolution of our lineage and feature my field sites and, in some cases, data that I have had a hand in collecting” Quinn added.

According to Quinn, next semester she will teach human osteology, an intensive course focused on interpreting the human skeleton for indicators of age, sex, pathology, activity, ancestry.

Quinn said this course is closely related to her second area of research into diet and mobility of anatomically modern humans.

“This course is essential for anyone thinking about careers in paleoanthropology, bioarchaeology, or forensic anthropology” Quinn said.

According to information provided on the Seton Hall website, Quinn has an extensive background in biological anthropology and geology. Quinn received her Ph.D. in biological anthropology with a minor in geology from Rutgers University.

Charlotte Lewis can be reached at

Rawan Eewshah can be reached at

Author: Staff Writer

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