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[演講公告]Using the Stable Isotopes to Decipher the Diets of Modern and Ancient Humans

Monday, May 30, 2016, 10:00 - 12:00
Location 地理教室一
講者: Stephen A. Macko
演講大綱:

Fundamental to the understanding of human history is the ability to make interpretations based on artifacts and other remains which are used to gather information about an ancient population.  Sequestered in the organic matrices of these remains can be information, for example, concerning incidence of disease, genetic defects and diet.  Stable isotopes have long been used to interpret diet and trophic interactions in modern ecosystems. In fact, using stable isotopes to quantify the influence of corn on the modern American diet was accomplished this way in the recent Independent Film on agriculture sustainability, “King Corn”. In this talk, it is also suggested that the isotopic compositions of a commonly overlooked material, human hair, may represent an ideal tool to be used in addressing human diets of ancient civilizations.

Hair can be well-preserved and is amenable to isotopic analysis for distinguishing sources of nutrition. Based on this observation, we have isotopically characterized hair from both modern and ancient individuals.  There is a wide diversity in carbon, nitrogen and sulfur isotope values owing, at least partially, to the levels of seafood, corn-fed beef and other grains in diet.  Using these isotope tracers, new information regarding historical figures (George Washington, 1799 AD) to perhaps the most ancient of mummies, the Chinchorro of Chile (possibly more than 7000 BP) as well as the Moche of Peru (1500 BP) and the best preserved mummy, the Neolithic Ice Man of the Oetztaler Alps (5200 BP), have  been deciphered.  It appears that the often-overlooked hair in archaeological sites may represent a significant new approach for understanding ancient human communities and their environments.

講者簡介:

Stephen Macko is a Professor of Isotope and Organic Geochemistry in the Department of Environmental Sciences at the University of Virginia. He received his PhD from the University of Texas in Chemistry. He has authored over 300 refereed research papers and books including the singular work in the field, Organic Geochemistry; he was elected a Fellow of the Geochemical Society and of the European Association of Geochemistry and was a Corresponding Editor for EOS, the publication of the American Geophysical Union. At the University of Virginia he teaches classes in Oceanography and Geochemistry. He received the All University Teaching Award at UVA and was a finalist for the State of Virginia Faculty of the Year award. He recently held the position of Program Officer for Geobiology and Low Temperature Geochemistry at the US National Science Foundation.

His research includes studies on chemosynthesis at cold seeps and hydrothermal vents using the Johnson Sea Link and Alvin submersibles; identifying geochemical biomarkers of climate change in high Arctic marine sediments and in soils of sub-Saharan Africa. He has been a scientist or chief scientist on numerous oceanographic expeditions, being involved in 5 legs of the Ocean Drilling Program including the Antarctic Legs 113 and 119 and the sub-Arctic Leg 105 and in dives to depths of over 500m in the submersible Johnson Sea Link. He was a principal research scientist on the High Arctic Canadian Ice Island during five field seasons. He has been long been involved with oil spill assessment, including the Ixtoc I oil well blowout, which was the largest accidental spill prior to the Gulf of Mexico incident of 2010, the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster. His laboratory has been featured on the Discovery and National Geographic television channels (The Moche Murder Mystery, Ultimate Guide to Mummies), the independent Peabody Award winning film, King Corn, as well internationally, including the Seoul Broadcasting System (SBS, Korea), Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation (MBC, Yeosu, Korea), Ríkisútvarpið Public Television (RUV,  Reykjavik, Iceland) and Japan Broadcasting Corporation (NHK).

學術召集: 黃誌川老師
附件:
Stephen A. Macko 演講公告20160530.pdf

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