Research Projects and Collaborations
The lab currently has 5 ongoing research projects:
1. Homo faber: The Language of Techology. This three-year project, funded by NSF and the John Templeton Foundation, is investigating the hypothesis that human language is a special case of a more general capacity for complex, hierarchically structured, goal oriented behavior also seen in technology. The project is developing a novel integration of archaeology and neuroscience methods to investigate possible functional, anatomical, and evolutionary connections between language and tool-making. Project members include Xiaoping Hu & Zhihao Li (Biomedical Imaging Technology Center, Emory), Lewis Wheaton (Cognitive Motor Control Lab, Georgia Tech), Thierry Chaminade (Institut de Neurosciences de la Timone), and Nada Khreisheh (postdoctoral researcher, Paleolithic Technology Laboratory).
2. Gona Paleoanthropological Research Project, Afar, Ethiopia. Led by Dr. Sileshi Semaw of the Centro Nacional de Investigación sobre la Evolución Humana in Burgos, Spain. Multidisciplinary investigations of fossil and artifact bearing deposits dating from the Miocene to Middle Pleistocene, including the earliest known stone tools in the world.
3. Acheulean technology and cognition at Boxgrove, UK. Leakey and Wenner-Gren Foundation funded project in collaboration with Jan Apel (Lund University) and Mark Roberts (University College London). Lithic analyses of excavated collections from the Middle Pleistocene site of Boxgrove using 2D and 3D image analysis to identify skill-related variation and specific production techniques.
4. Action organization in stone tool-making. In collaboration with Aldo Faisal (Imperial College London). Statistical modeling of the hierarchical organization of experimental tool making action sequences.
5. Comparative chimpanzee/human brain structure and function. Project led by Erin Hecht (postdoctoral researcher, Paleolithic Technology Laboratory) in collaboration with colleagues in at Emory University, Yerkes National Primate Research Center, and the University of Parma. FDG-PET and DTI investigations of the neurophysiology and white-matter connectivity supporting tool use and social learning in chimpanzees and humans. Funding includes NIH, Wenner-Gren Foundation, Leverhulme Trust, and Emory Center for Systems Imaging.