• Nelson's research focuses on the interaction of climatic, vegetation and faunal changes in the fossil record, particularly with respect to ape and hominin paleoecologies. 
  • Uses stable isotopic and dental microwear analyses to reconstruct paleohabitats, climates and diets. To better reconstruct the past, Nelson also works with modern ecosystems, including a modern chimpanzee site. 
  • Goal is to have a direct comparison between fossil and modern data to better interpret fossil ape and hominin adaptations.
  • Interested in the ecological requirements for fueling increasing body size, brain size and maternal investment that mark the evolution of apes and humans. 
  • Nelson, who has conducted field work throughout Asia, Africa and Europe, earned her B.S. at Duke University and Ph.D. at Harvard University. 

Additional areas of interest

Paleoanthropology, paleoecology, fossil apes and humans

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