Biological Anthropology

Biological Anthropology is a branch of Anthropology that studies humans from a bio-cultural perspective. This means studying those factors, biological and cultural, that result in and help us explain human variation - including understanding human origins, adaptation to different environments, human health, growth and development.

Our program at the University of Otago incorporates both laboratory and fieldwork. Regionally we have a strong focus on the Pacific and Southeast Asia and our students often undertake fieldwork with our staff. We have a state of the art ancient DNA laboratory, facilities for isotopic studies, and human osteology laboratories and anatomical teaching collections. We work closely with iwi and indigenous communities in our studies of past populations and on issues of both modern and ancient human health and adaptation.

Lisa excavating a burial urn for aDNA on Isla Mocha, Chile
Dr Buckley (foreground) and Dr Rebecca Kinaston excavating on Watom island
A human cranium buried in a Lapita decorated pot from Teouma, Vanuatu
Field accommodation in Emirau, PNG
Lisa collecting genographic sample, Nukunonu, Tokelau
Lisa genographic sampling on Atafu, Tokelau
Lisa sorting shells, Isla Mocha, Chile
Lisa with Chilean colleagues on Isla Mocha, Chile
Michael collecting samples in Noumea, New Caledonia
Packing up on Isla Mocha, Chile
Removing samples for aDNA Isla Mocha, Chile
Danielle Dyer, past Biological Anthropology student