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Why do research if you can’t share it?

Collaborative research takes a team of specialists, but behind that team stand all the people – probably you, reading this site – who support our work. The most important form of support is their curiosity and the simple human drive to know more about our origins. Giving back a piece of what we discover is one of the most rewarding parts of my work.


Outside of the university classroom, I have engaged in outreach to school children, community members at our field site, and the general public through site visits, activity days, public lectures, and the production of educational materials – including even an interview at Radio Dinosaur, the Karonga Community Radio in Malawi, and the Malawian Airlines Tiyende! in-flight magazine.

You can hear me weighing in on the most interesting discovery in human evolution in 2021 at the Leakey Foundation’s “Origin Stories” podcast (spoiler alert: it’s DNA from dirt!). And at Peak Human I rambled about the evolution of human diets from start to finish. What do we know, and what do we only hope we can know?

You can also check out my part in the CARTA Anthropogeny symposium “Humans: The Planet-Altering Apes“, where I talk about the “Human Transformation from Environmental Managers to Ecosystem Damagers“. A dire trajectory indeed! But hopefully we can learn to better leverage the tools of archaeology and paleoenvironmental science to understand and gain insight from the truly long-term connections between humans as a part of their environments. Have a look at what I say about it in my TEDx talk in Johannesburg Salon LIFE.

In addition to commenting in the media, have also written articles for The The Conversation, a platform for academics to write FOR YOU:

Early ecosystem change in central Africa

Ancient human DNA across eastern Africa


I have started to try to make my voice heard more broadly through the Public Voices Fellowship, where I became a member of the 2022 cohort of the OpEd Project. My first opinion piece was published in The Scientist about why we need to recognize disparities in field science.

I am busy curating the new Human Origins exhibit at the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History during its massive, multi-year renovation.

In 2022, I travelled to Malawi to develop relationships with stakeholders…

Gift exchange at the house of Inkosana Thomas Nkosi near Mount Hora in Malawi.

…liaise with media such as radio…

…and make a major improvement to archaeological collections infrastructure at the National Repository.

New curation cabinets at the Malawi National Repository built by the Malawi Ancient Lifeways and Peoples Project. Photo: Fredrick Mapemba

While there, I also managed to work with representatives from the Uraha Foundation and Malawi Department of Museums and Monuments to develop a new exhibit on the Stone Ages of Africa at the Cultural and Museum Centre, Karonga.

Stone Ages of Africa exhibit at the CMCK featuring artifacts recovered and studied by the Malawi Earlier-Middle Stone Age Project.
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