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Fall 2015

Inquiry Magazine Archive

  • Spring 2016

    Spring 2016: Premium Blend

    Found in everything from space shuttles to dental fillings, composite materials have thoroughly infiltrated modern society. But their potential is still greatly untapped, offering researchers ample opportunity for discovery.

  • Fall 2015

    Fall 2015: Collision Course

    Within the particle showers created at the Large Hadron Collider, answers to some of the universe’s mysteries are waiting.

  • Spring 2015

    Spring 2015: Almost Human

    Model systems like pigeons can help illuminate our own evolutionary and genomic history.

  • Fall 2014

    Fall 2014: Small Wonder

    UT Arlington's tiny windmills are bringing renewable energy to a whole new scale.

  • Winter 2014

    Winter 2014: Overdue for an Overhaul

    The stability of our highways, pipelines, and even manholes is reaching a breaking point.

  • 2012

    2012: Mystery solved?

    Scientists believe they have discovered a subatomic particle that is crucial to understanding the universe.

  • 2011

    2011: Boosting brain power

    UT Arlington researchers unlock clues to the human body’s most mysterious and complex organ.

  • 2010

    2010: Powered by genetics

    UT Arlington researchers probe the hidden world of microbes in search of renewable energy sources.

  • 2009

    2009: Winning the battle against pain

    Wounded soldiers are benefiting from Robert Gatchel’s program that combines physical rehabilitation with treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder.

  • 2009

    2007: Sensing a solution

    Tiny sensors implanted in the body show promise in combating acid reflux disease, pain and other health problems.

  • 2006

    2006:Semiconductors: The next generation

    Nanotechnology researchers pursue hybrid silicon chips with life-saving potential.

  • 2005

    2005: Imaging is everything

    Biomedical engineers combat diseases with procedures that are painless to patients.


Digging into the Past

UT Arlington anthropologist awarded prestigious grant to research early humans in South Africa 

coastal cave in South Africa

A coastal cave in Knysna, South Africa, holds clues to early man.

Anthropologist Naomi Cleghorn and a team of researchers have uncovered never-before-seen evidence of early human evolution in the dirt near Knysna, South Africa.

The site is located inside in a coastal cave that overlooked a large, coastal plain 20,000 years ago, when sea levels were much lower. Dr. Cleghorn believes the spot dates to a rarely represented time period, between 18,000 and 44,000 years ago.

“There has been a lot of work done on sites dating back from 50,000 to 120,000 years ago, as well as plenty of research at sites from less than 18,000 years ago,” the assistant professor says. “However, there are only a few South African coastal sites dating between those time periods. The population in the region leading up to that era was one of the largest on Earth compared to other groups around the globe. But there’s a drop-off in sites dating between 18,000 to 44,000 years ago, and this needs an explanation. We got very lucky and found a site right in the sweet spot.”

Cleghorn’s work is part of a larger, international paleoscape project that brings together experts in climate modeling, archeology, agent-based modeling, and anthropology.

Her team includes researchers from South Africa, Brazil, Australia, and Canada, as well as current UT Arlington student Sara Watson, 2015 master’s degree graduates Erin Nichols and Christopher Shelton, and alumni Daniel Peart and Hannah Keller. The project was funded by a grant from the prestigious Leakey Foundation, which supports projects that examine the origins of early humans.

Cleghorn’s research promises to extend the conversation about what happened to humans living in South Africa so many millennia ago.

“The goal is to figure out what the population was doing during that time,” she says. “Was there really a de-population event, like some believe? Looking at it genetically, it doesn’t seem so. Others argue that a climate downturn may have had an impact on the population—we’ll be able to test that.”

Photograph by Hoberman Collection/Corbis

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