Katelyn McDonough is pursuing her PhD in Anthropology at Texas A&M University. Her dissertation research bridges ecological and anthropological approaches to investigate how plant communities and human diets have changed over the past 13,000 years. Katelyn’s work is based in the Fort Rock Basin of central Oregon where she has supervised archaeological excavations for the past six years. One of Katelyn’s projects examined the pants, pollen, and parasites in human coprolites (paleofeces) from the Connley Caves to reconstruct the diet of people who were there more than 4,000 years ago. This study showed that more than twelve types of plants, fish, birds, and mammals were on the menu. Katelyn is currently examining ancient botanical remains from 12,000-year-old fire pits to see how humans used plants during the end of the last Ice Age. Lastly, Katelyn is looking at fossil pollen grains in sediment cores to reconstruct central Oregon’s vegetation history. She hopes that her work can contribute to the understanding and appreciation of our natural landscapes and cultural heritage.
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