Biological Anthropology at Binghamton University
Biological anthropology (or physical anthropology) is the subfield of anthropology concerned with human biology. We study the full depth of human evolutionary history and the full breadth of modern human biological variation. Of course, as cultural evolution is one of the hallmarks of human history, lines between “biological,” “behavioral,” and “cultural” variation in humans are often obscure. Biological anthropologists view humans three-dimensionally in their biological, ecological, and cultural dimensions, and biological anthropology may be viewed as an integrative, biocultural science. The subdivisions of biological anthropology are numerous but include the basic fields of paleoanthropology, skeletal biology, forensic anthropology, bioarchaeology, primatology, human genetics, human population biology, and biomedical anthropology.
At Binghamton University, the diverse research interests of the faculty in biological anthropology cover: population genetics and molecular anthropology of Pacific and New World peoples [Ralph Garruto, Koji Lum, Michael Little]; human adaptations to high altitude stress [Ralph Garruto, Michael Little]; psychosocial stress [Gary James]; nutritional stress [Kathy Wander]; chronic and infectious disease stress--including malaria [Koji Lum], Lyme disease [Ralph Garruto], and neurodegenerative diseases [Ralph Garruto and Koji Lum]; hypertension and breast cancer [Gary James]; health transitions [Ralph Garruto and Koji Lum]; global health and epidemiology [Kathy Wander]; evolutionary medicine [Kathy Wander, Michael Little, Gary James]; women's and children’s health [Kathy Wander, Gary James]; nutrition and breastfeeding [Kathy Wander]; genetics of animal domestication [Andy Merriwether]; evolution of hominin hearing and language [Rolf Quam]; prehistoric and historic health and stress [Elizabeth DiGangi]; human rights [Elizabeth DiGangi]; ancestry and social race [Elizabeth DiGangi]; development of population-specific biological profile standards [Elizabeth DiGangi]; skeletal trauma analysis [Elizabeth DiGangi]; paleopathology [Elizabeth DiGangi]; forensic genetics [Andy Merriwether]; and the history of human biology and anthropology [Michael Little]. Each of the faculty members who contribute to these areas has ongoing field (Pacific, China, East Africa, North Africa, Europe, and South America) and laboratory-based research projects, many of which include undergraduate and graduate students. Prospective MS and PhD applicants are encouraged to contact relevant faculty in advance to discuss research opportunities in their area of interest.