Benjamin Fuller is a Marie Curie Incoming International Fellow from the USA at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany. The focus of his research is the use of stable isotope ratios to discover new information about modern and ancient infant nutrition, specifically breastfeeding and weaning practices. While past studies in this emerging area of bioarchaeology have only focused on bulk protein carbon and nitrogen isotope ratios, the aim of this project is to employ other elements (oxygen, hydrogen, sulfur) and single amino acids to develop a multi-pronged isotopic approach to understand infant health and nutrition in humans. These isotopic models derived from the analysis of modern humans with known dietary and medical conditions, can be used to glean the maximum amount of information from archaeological samples. Due to the multi-disciplinary nature of this research, the results of this project will not only be of importance to archaeologists and anthropologists, but will also benefit research fields such as medicine, forensics, nutrition, and ecology, all of which increasingly use stable isotope ratios.
Department of Human Evolution
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
Deutscher Platz 6