Anthropology Lecture Series to Examine Ancient Human Microbiomes: UNM Newsroom


The University of New Mexico’s long-running project Anthropological Research Journal The 52nd Distinguished Lecture will welcome Christina Warinner, a bioarchaeologist at Harvard and the Max Planck Institute, best known for her research on the evolution of ancient microbiomes. Warinner is the leader in the cutting edge new field of archaeogenetics.

Monday, March 28 th
The JAR conference will begin on Monday, March 28 at 7:30 p.m. in the Anthropology Conference Room (Room 163) with Warinner discussing JThe evolution and changing ecology of the human microbiome. Humans have a deep and complex relationship with microbes. Beyond disease, microbes also profoundly shape human health and behavior through their activity in the microbiome and their various roles in food and cooking. And yet, scientists know very little about the origin, evolution or ecology of the billions of microorganisms that call us home, explained JAR Editor-in-Chief Lawrence Straus, Leslie Spier Distinguished Professor Emeritus Professor at UNM, the founding organizer of the lecture series since 1996.

Recent advances in genomics and proteomics technologies are opening up dramatic new opportunities in the field of microbial archaeology, allowing researchers to study the complex and diverse microbial communities that have long inhabited human bodies and their food systems, both in disease than in health. From epidemic diseases to alcoholic beverages, microbes have influenced the course of human history. This conference discusses the impact of emerging microbial research on how scientists study the human past and how we understand human and microbial cultures today.

Tuesday 29 March
Warinner’s visit to UNM will continue with a specialized seminar Archeology of the invisible Tuesday March 29 at noon in Anthropologie 178.

Advances in scientific technologies are transforming visions of the past and opening our eyes to a vast new type of archeology – an archeology of the invisible. This lecture focuses on recent microscopic and biomolecular discoveries that reveal unprecedented details about the human past and expand our understanding of ourselves and the ancient world.

Red Lady’s Jaw

Among many projects involving ancient humans and other primates, Warinner has been involved in ongoing studies of the oral biome of the 19,000-year-old Magdalenian Red Lady of El Miron Cave, showing that bacteria in the mouths of the Red Lady had been inherited from the Neanderthals who had disappeared in Cantabrian Spain some 20,000 years earlier. Warinner recently co-edited a special issue of Current anthropology on fermentation.

Current UNM COVID regulations require proof of vaccination and indoor masking. However, UNM could lift the mask mandate before the event.

Both events are free and wheelchair accessible. Anyone without a UNM permit can park in a metered space along Redondo Drive or Las Lomas to avoid a fine.

JAR has been owned and published by UNM since its founding by UNM professor of anthropology Leslie Spier in 1945. JAR, a highly respected international journal, has subscribers in approximately 50 countries and each in the United States. All lectures in the series are published in JAR. Lectures were given by many of the most important paleoanthropologists of the late 20th and early 21st centuries, including Elizabeth Vrba, Clark Howell, Donald Johanson, Loring Brace, Matt Cartmill, Fred Smith, Sally McBrearty, Richard Klein, Owen Lovejoy and others. , as well as primatologists, ethnologists, linguistic anthropologists, biological anthropologists.

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