The Department of Anthropology at Texas A&M University offers students training in Biological Anthropology, a biologically-based science that deals with the adaptations, variability, and evolution of primates and human beings, including their living and fossil relatives. Texas A&M biological anthropologists draw on a wide range of theoretical perspectives and methodological techniques to investigate aspects of bioarchaeology, primatology, and hominin evolution across the Pliocene and Pleistocene.
Participating faculty include Drs. Sheela Athreya, Darryl de Ruiter, Sharon Gursky and Lori Wright. All of the faculty in the Biological Anthropology program utilize an interdisciplinary, scientific approach in our anthropological research. The Biological Anthropology program is organized around three principal research themes:
Behavioral ecology and conservation of non-human primates, focusing on the relationship between group living and ecological pressures such as predation and the temporal distribution of resources, as well as primate conservation.
Bioarchaeology, paleodiet and paleopathology of human skeletal remains, examining the relationship between culture and biology in ancient human societies through study of skeletal growth and development, health, and bone chemical analysis of diet.
Paleoanthropological investigation of Pliocene and Pleistocene hominins, including Middle Pleistocene Homo in Europe and Asia as well as the South African australopithecines and their surrounding animal paleocommunities.
Our interdisciplinary, scientific approach to the study of primates, humans, and their fossil ancestors provides broad-based training in all aspects of biological anthropology. Today our faculty direct field- and laboratory-based projects in many areas of the world, including North and Central America, Europe, Asia, and Africa.
Graduate student training is theoretically and methodologically based. All students must complete a core curriculum course in biological anthropology, and are expected to become proficient in a range of theoretical topics including the principles of evolution and natural selection, human variation, molecular and population genetics, bioarchaeology, and primatology. Because of the diverse nature of biological anthropological research conducted by our faculty, students are exposed to a wide range of field- and laboratory-based techniques and research questions. Thus, graduate-level dissertation research can be either field-based, laboratory-based, or a combination of the two. Recent graduates and current students in biological anthropology have been actively engaged in field projects in the USA, Indonesia, Denmark, Brazil, Guatemala, South Africa and Botswana. Students in biological anthropology are expected to develop and design original research projects that are both theoretically and methodologically sound. Particular emphasis is given to obtaining external research funding, and to publication of original research in leading peer-reviewed journals.