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  Proyecto Zooarqueologico del Area Maya  
  Role: Director  

I am tackling the need for accurate ancient biodiversity and habitat distributions head-on by creating a regional survey of zooarchaeological remains and using them to map ancient distributions and use patterns across the Maya world.

We currently face a crisis in environmental degradation and loss of biodiversity that is largely the result of human impact on the world around us. Zooarchaeology provides a long chronological perspective on human impact on environments and animal populations by charting changing taxonomic distributions in relation to anthropogenic activities and other factors that cause environmental change. The study of archaeofauna also provides detailed information on the complexity of the human/animal relationship, allowing a more sophisticated understanding of the cultural factors that drive human responses to, and uses of, the natural world. This combination of biological distribution information and anthropological perspectives on human behavior has the potential to provide fundamental lessons for modern conservation research.

I am creating a regional database of accurate information on ancient animal use across the Maya world. This database is based on standardized zooarchaeological research and will be used to evaluate the impact of human activity on the ancient animals of Mesoamerica through detailed analyses of ancient faunal distributions and human animal use patterns. This research provides the foundation for sophisticated modeling of ancient human impact on faunal populations in combination with improved recognition of the social factors motivating ancient animal use choices.

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