SUNY Geneseo is hosting biological anthropologist Tanya M. Smith ‘97, Ph.D., for a lecture based on her recent book, The Tales Teeth Tell. The lecture kicks off the book’s North American launch. Smith’s talk takes place at 4 p.m., Tuesday, April 2 in Newton 204. Smith’s talk will be followed by a book signing. Copies of The Tales Teeth Tell will be available for sale. The event is free and open to the public.
A child’s teeth develop in faithfully-timed layers — similar to a tree’s rings. Biological anthropologists can mine this system to identify information about an infant’s growth, their diet, weaning age, stresses, and even seasonal climate changes. Well-preserved fossil teeth have the potential to reveal the conditions and adaptations of prehistoric people, as well as our closest-living primate relatives.
The Tales Teeth Tell (MIT Press, Oct. 2018) was characterized by Shelf Awareness as “an accessible, personal, often funny and occasionally controversial look into the murk of human evolution ... [the book] is chock full of fascinating science, but it's also the personal story of a woman of science immersed in her work.”
Smith, who attended Penfield High School in Penfield, N.Y., earned a B.S. in biology with a minor in anthropology at Geneseo and a Ph.D. in anthropology from Stony Brook University. She is a professor in the Australian Research Centre for Human Evolution and the Griffith Centre for Social and Cultural Research at Griffith University in Queensland, Australia. Smith has held a professorship at Harvard University, and a fellowship at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany.