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Elgart, Alison (Ph.D.)

Professor, Anthropology
Department of Justice Studies

MH 0157
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My research interests lie in human and primate evolution and dietary adaptations, primate conservation, and human paleopathology.  Any evolutionary study must examine the fitness of individuals, which is inferred through mortality rates or reproductive success.  Some broad questions that I am trying to answer with my research on primates include: how many gorilla species are there? What foods define the ecological niches of primate species?  How can we help endangered primates?  In the field of paleopathology, I examine the health of prehistoric southern Florida Indians, exploring questions such as to what diseases and trauma were they prone?  Although these questions may seem very diverse, they all can originate from the examination of diet, and consequently, health.  A population in poor health has a high mortality rate and/or low reproductive rate, and thus, low fitness.

I have taken students to study monkeys in Ghana as part of a Study Abroad. I also regularly offer a primate field school at the Lemur Conservation Foundation in central Florida.

I have recently entered into a partnership with the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, and we form teams of students to help find missing U.S. servicemen from foreign wars. We spend about a month at a site to investigate historic crash sites or historic internments.