Mentors: Laura Ogden, Anthropology; Mark McPeek, Biology
Kes Schroer investigates the impact of competition on human evolution. Her work focuses on interspecific competition and the ecological pressures that can occur between species sharing the same habitat and resources. Her research spans human and hominin communities from 3 million years ago to the present and uses a combination of field and computational approaches. In 2014 and 2015, she published the results of character displacement analyses that suggest early humans and the extinct hominin group Paranthropus directly competed for food in East Africa and that this competition likely contributed to the particularly small teeth of humans today. Currently, Schroer is building an ecological niche model that combines both dietary and climatic information in order to pinpoint where ancient humans and Paranthropus lived in East Africa and estimate the geographic extent of overlap between these two groups. Her approach has implications for understanding how humans diverged from their close relatives, where and how hybridization may have occurred between different hominin groups, and how humans and nonhuman primates continue to compete for resources today.
Schroer’s work has been featured in the Journal of Anatomy, the journal Evolution, and the International Journal of Primatology. Her popular course “Your Inner Chimpanzee”, which investigates the tenuous biological line between humans and apes, was featured in Dartmouth Now. She is a research mentor in the Women in Science Project, Sophomore Scholars, and Neukom Scholars programs at Dartmouth and serves as a guest lecturer in the Anthropology in Action series. Schroer is a featured speaker and panelist at Dartmouth’s Center for the Advanced of Learning (DCAL) on the topics of science communication and open science/open access. Her commitment to open science resulted in an invitation to participate in the National Science Foundation’s Data and Software Citation Workshop in 2015, which worked toward new standards for federally-funded scientific research.
- Schroer K and Patterson D.. Isotopic and morphological signals of dietary competition among fossil hominins and Theropithecus in East Africa, c. 2.5-1.4 million years ago. Journal of Human Evolution.
- Schroer K, Gordon A, and Richmond B.. How long were australopith toes? Journal of Humn Evolution.
- Dartmouth NOW Students Go Climbing in the Footsteps of Chimpanzees