Meet Tanya Smith, PhD

Tanya Smith, PhD, Associate Professor of Human Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University, is an expert on reconstructing the detailed history of individual humans and their hominid relatives by means of their teeth. In a SftPublic lab recording on December 13, 2013, Professor Smith explained how teeth record an individual’s intimate biography from birth to death Infant Fossil Teeth: Clues to Ancient Development: developmental stages, periods of stress, diet and health –an amazing store of information is chemically deposited in dental tissue, and it can be deciphered thousands of years later. Advanced technology such as the synchrotron make it possible today to analyze fossil teeth non-invasively.

In the lab recording, Professor Smith also talks about how she got into this field, and the various challenges it presents, especially the access to fossil teeth.