Max Planck Research Group on Plant Foods in Hominin Dietary Ecology

Chelsea Leonard Bio    CV    Publications

Chelsea LeonardI am an anthropologist with a background in evolutionary ecology and archaeology. I am broadly interested the evolution of human diets. Assumptions about diet play a central role in prominent hypotheses about the evolution of hominin life history, social organization, sexual division of labor, cognitive capabilities, and gut morphology. Diet choice models like the prey model and the patch choice model are among the most successfully applied evolutionary ecology models and are used extensively in archaeological research. However, testing models and hypotheses about diet change in human evolution requires specific information about available and consumed foods.  Ancient plant use and availability is not easily identified by traditional archaeological methods. Analysis of starch grains and phytoliths in dental calculus deposits is gaining popularity as a way to learn about plant consumption in archaeological contexts. My research focuses on testing this method with the Ovatwa forager-argriculturalists in Northwestern Namibia. I hope to determine how well plant microremains in Ovatwa dental calculus reflect both reported and observed Ovatwa diet.

Plant Foods and Hominin Dietary Ecology Group
Department of Human Evolution
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
Deutscher Platz 6
D-04103 Leipzig

phone: 0049 (0) 341 3550 751
fax: 0049 (0) 341 3550 399
email: chelsea_leonard[at]