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Department of Anthropology Speaker Series presents: Tom Brutsaert

Dr. Paul & Natalie Strasser Legacy Room - 220 Eggers Hall

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Human Adaptation to High Altitude:  A half-century of study in Biological Anthropology.


In the late 1960s and early 1970’s, the anthropologist Paul Baker initiated a series of multidisciplinary studies of Peruvian high altitude Quechua populations in the Andes. The objective was to collect normative data on the biological characteristics of Quechua, and to test hypotheses of evolutionary and/or developmental adaptation to chronic altitude exposure.  Baker’s students carried this work forward in many disparate directions, including new geographical directions with novel studies of other altitude native populations in the Himalayas and in Ethiopia.  In the last decade, molecular genetic work has dramatically advanced our understanding of how humans adapt to high altitude.  This talk will take a historical perspective, but will also focus on recent developments in the field and Brutsaert’s own (recently completed) 4-year genetic study of Peruvian Quechua in Lima and Cerro de Pasco, Peru.

Dr. Tom Brutsaert is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Exercise Science in the School of Education at Syracuse University and an Associate Professor of Anthropology by Courtesy Appointment.

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