logo billedefrise

Abstracts Guest Speakers

Origin and spread of infectious diseases – insights from ancient DNA

Ben Krause-Kyora, Professor of Ancient DNA Analysis at the Institute of Clinical Molecular Biology, Kiel University, Germany

Emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases is an important topic in modern health care. By connecting knowledge in history, anthropology and microbiology to describe the epidemic pathogens in ancient populations through co-evolution palaeomicrobiology can provide relevant information concerning modern infectious diseases. This can supply better comprehension of the determining factors in epidemics, such as the sources of pathogens and their routes of introduction and transmission among human populations in the long term. Due to advances in molecular analysis over the last two-decade ancient DNA (aDNA) of pathogens offers a new approach for the study of infectious diseases and host-pathogen interaction. The presentation will summarize the evidence obtained by aDNA research about the origin and spread of pathogens and the host-pathogen co-evolution.


The State of the Science in Forensic Anthropology

Stephen D. Ousley, Associate Professor, Department of Computing and Information Science, Mercyhurst University, Erie, PA, USA

Forensic Anthropology has made great strides in the last decade in its traditional areas and in new directions in response to new challenges and opportunities. Human identification has been aided by DNA analysis, though forensic anthropologists need to be aware of how the data are collected and categorized. Another positive development is the increasingly routine CT-scanning of the deceased. There are still large and growing anatomical collections, but the age of virtual collections has begun, facilitating new research possibilities. A number of forensic anthropology books have been published recently with a strong emphasis on science, unlike at times in the past. The National Institute of Justice has funded many recent research projects in forensic anthropology. This presentation will highlight advances in the US, with which the author is most familiar, but will also take note of international developments, as forensic anthropology is becoming increasingly international in scope, theory, and practice.


From the outer morphology to the inner structure. Recent advances and perspectives in the study of the hominin fossil record

Roberto Macchiarelli, Professor at the Dept. Geosciences of the Univ. of Poitiers and at the National Museum of Natural History of Paris (UMR 7194 CNRS), France

Along the last two decades, significant methodological advances in the characterization of the primate dental and bony tissues have deeply affected our traditional research strategies and fostered new concepts and new questions in paleoanthropology. Coupled with the integration of the third dimension in structural visualization and the geometric morphometric-based quantitative assessment of shape variation, a significant enhancement occurred in the analytical shift from the hard outer morphology (the “container”) to the virtually rendered inner structure (the “contents”). Thanks to by now routinely utilized techniques of high resolution noninvasive exploration, extraction and imaging of the taxon-specific 'hidden' features, such integration has greatly improved our understanding of the evolutionary, adaptive, and functional patterns characterizing the fossil hominin dentition and postcranial skeleton.

Funding support provided by the French CNRS.