VOLUME 33, NUMBER 23 THURSDAY, April 4, 2002

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Anthropologists to hold meeting in Buffalo
Three UB faculty members among the 1,000 authors to present research papers

Contributing Editor

When the American Association of Physical Anthropologists meets in Buffalo Wednesday through April 13, members of the Department of Anthropology, which is hosting the event at the Adams Mark Hotel, will be among the 1,000 authors to address a variety of topics in the field.
  Pygmy Chimpanzees (Bonobos)

Primatologist Carol M. Berman, professor of anthropology, will present her research findings on the extent to which male-male relationships among bonobos are dependent upon mother-son relationships.

Bonobos, a tremendously erotic species, are, along with chimpanzees, our closest cousins among the apes. Sometimes called "pygmy chimpanzees," they live in only one section of the Congo River basin in female-centered, egalitarian groups. The uncommon social structure, sexual behavior and intellectual capacity of bonobos are held by many anthropologists to offer a unique glimpse into the roots of human nature.

Berman has published widely on primate behavior, particularly maternal behavior and social development; the evolution of animal behavior, and ethological methods.

Joyce Sirianni, SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Department of Anthropology, is a physical anthropologist whose research interests lay in craniofacial growth and development, and dental anthropology.

During the conference's dental anthropology/paleopathology session, she will address features of enamel microstructures in the teeth of pigtailed macaques.

Macaques, the cocker spaniel-sized monkeys most commonly used in medical research, often are referred to as the second most successful primate. Macaques have quite complex social and behavioral systems. Their complicated calls and gestures have been discovered to have specific meanings, and tool-use and cultural innovations have been observed among them.

Because of their physical similarity to humans, some macaque biological systems—the visual, reproductive and immune systems, for instance—have been used as a model of human systems.

Sirianni's research includes the study of the similarities in the fetal craniofacial complex of macaques and humans. She is the author, with Daris R. Swindler, of "Growth and Development of the Pigtailed Macaque," an atlas of longitudinally gathered information on the growth and development of Macaca nemestrina.

Ted Steegman, professor of anthropology, will present a paper on scientific discipline and intellectual freedom during the late 1950s at the University of Michigan, from which he received his doctorate in 1965. Steegman will address the dominating paradigms in physical and cultural anthropology, archaeology and linguistics at a time when American universities were enjoying a period of optimism and growth.

"It was a time," says Steegman, "when the rising intellectual tide was being expressed at emerging centers of anthropological and biological theory, like the University of Michigan."

Steegman's research is in the field adaptive human biology and physical anthropology in the subarctic, China and Canada.

Other subjects to be covered at the conference include biodiversity in Northeast Africa; the nutritional status, physical activity and productivity of various groups of hominids and non-hominids, past and present; forensic anthropology; modern morphometric techniques; South African paleoanthropology, and primate cognitive ecology.