The third "Australasian Forensic Anthropology and Archaeology Newsletter" (AFAAN) has just been released. Run by Dr Samantha Rowbotham and A/Professor Soren Blau of the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine in Melbourne, the Newsletter features updates on research, teaching, and other developments in forensic anthropology from across Australasia. I wrote up a short report about the many different forensic anthropology presentations delivered at the Australasian Society for Human Biology conference held at the ANU in December last year. You can read in on p. 4 in the Newsletter:
Our paper looking at osteocyte lacunae densities and body size in fossil rodents from Timor is now out in the Biological Journal of the Linnean Society. You can have a look here: https://academic.oup.com/biolinnean/advance-article/doi/10.1093/biolinnean/blz197/5709529
Paper accepted in the Biological Journal of the Linnean Society - rat bone metabolism and the island rule
I'm so happy to have received a paper acceptance email this morning confirming that the editor of the Biological Journal of the Linnean Society is happy to have my Timor rat bone histology study published. This project investigated bone metabolism change with body size using an insular sample of small and giant murines from Timor island (late Quaternary). The assemblage was excavated as part of Sue O'Connor's long term project in Timor and is full of super interesting specimens. I was given permission to do invasive sampling for histology on ten femora. We estimated osteocyte lacunae densities in these samples to find that the giant murines had lower counts when compared to the small murines. We think this is evidence of bone metabolic adaptation to insularity. You can read up about the background to these wonderful creatures here:
Australasian Society for Human Biology 2019 & American Association of Physical Anthropologists 2020 meetings!
The 33rd Australasian Society for Human Biology conference just ended in Canberra and I am so happy to report that all my wonderful students did an excellent job presenting their research. Meg Walker was even awarded 1st prize for best poster presentation for her research on bone histology in an individual with a possible Klippel-Feil Syndrome, Type III.
My PhD student Karen Cooke presented the following:
Cooke KM, Mahoney P. Miszkiewicz JJ. Investigating the relationship between Type II, drifting osteons, and remodelling rates in ancient human cortical bone.
My masters student Meg Walker presented a poster and a talk:
Walker MM, Oxenham MF, Hiep TH, Nguyen TMH, Miszkiewicz JJ. Preliminary descriptions of bone histology of in an individual with a possible Klippel-Feil Syndrome, Type III from Neolithic Northern Vietnam.
Walker MM, Oxenham MF, Hiep TH, Nguyen TMH, Miszkiewicz JJ. The impact of ancestry and behaviour on bone metabolism at Mán Bạc, Vietnam.
I presented a case study from my DECRA project:
Miszkiewicz JJ, Matisoo-Smith L, Weisler M. Intra-skeletal remodelling and behaviour in an adult male from early prehistoric Marshall Islands, eastern Micronesia.
...and a little review of models within bioarchaeology and palaeoepidemiology co-authored with a colleague in my department:
McFadden C, Miszkiewicz JJ. Temporal consistency in the human response to evolving changing stimuli: bioarchaeological considerations.
I also just received an e-mail from the 89th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists organizing committee advising that my abstract about ancient human bone health at Taumako, Solomon Islands, has been accepted for presentation in Los Angeles, CA in April 2020:
Miszkiewicz JJ, Buckley HR, Dias Guimaraes NR, Walker MM, Kiko L, Kinaston RL. Human bone health at Taumako, ca. 700 – 300 BP Southeast Solomon Islands.
ASHB2019 delegates at the ANU in Canberra, 4 December 2019:
I genuinely don't know where to begin writing this short post because the news still feels so unreal. I received a wonderful e-mail yesterday from my university HR and College Dean to say that I have been successfully promoted to Level C!
For those in non-Australian university systems - level C (Senior Lecturer) is one step up from B (Lecturer). I have been at the ANU almost 4 years and I swear these past years feel as if they've flown by... I have been extremely busy setting up our Histology lab, teaching, and trying to publish as much as possible. With my ARC DECRA grant, awarded in 2018, that kicked in mid-2019, and a 6 month research leave at the start of 2019, it's really only the year 2019 when I took a deep breath, slowed down for a bit, and looked back at the period 2016 - 2019... I was applying for equipment and research grants left and right, pretty much non-stop, always worried in the back of my mind that my goal of setting up a hard tissue microscopy lab will not materialise. Multiple rejections and failures later, 4 years down the line - we have a fully functioning lab full of PhD, Masters, and Honours students!
I feel so appreciative of the ANU for recognising my efforts and commitment to the university - being promoted makes me feel rewarded for all the love and passion, and risk taking, I am putting into my academic adventures!