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Dr. Elizabeth Berkeley
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JMU Faculty Elizabeth Berkeley


Fossil Evidence for Early Human Predation on Rhinos

Principal Investigator:

Dr. Elizabeth Berkeley


George Washington University/Smithsonian Museum of Natural History


The objective of this study is to identify where and when prehistoric humans started and continued hunting African rhinos. We propose to send two JMU students as interns in Dr. Briana Pobiner’s laboratory in the Human Origins Program at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History during summer 2014. The students will return to JMU in fall 2014 to analyze their data. The anticipated outcomes and deliverables of this project will be: 1) background information for future proposals examining how rhinos adapt to human hunting pressure, both prehistoric and modern. Other anticipated outcomes include 2) the opportunity to test hypotheses on human diets and social evolution, 3) providing two JMU students the unusual opportunity to conduct research in one of the world’s finest museums, and increase their skills in the areas of data collection, data analysis and science communication, 4) a case study for biology students. We anticipate two publications (one on the fossil results, one as a case study), one national conference presentation and several grant applications will result from this project. 

Awarded Funding: