Here we go! Our very first, of what is hopefully going to be a long interview series! I am happy and proud to say that Molly Selba will be our first guest! A big thank you to her!
So lets get started!
- To start off, why don’t you tell us a little about yourself and what you do?
My name is Molly Selba and I am a PhD student in the anthropology department at the University of Florida. My research interests include comparative anatomy and cranial morphology. I am most interested in how cranial morphology (or the shape the skull) varies within and between species.
2. What drew you to this field?
I have always wanted to be an anthropologist! I think humans are fascinating and I enjoy studying everything about them… including their diverse and complex family tree!
3. What do you personally hope to accomplish?
My goal is to make human evolution more accessible to teachers across the US. Many teachers want to teach evolution but don’t necessarily have the materials or background information they need to do it… that is where I come in! I help teachers generate 3D models of hominin fossil crania and provide accompanying lesson plans in order to increase access to ‘hands-on’ learning materials for their classroom.
4. Where do you see yourself in five years?
In five years, I hope to have graduated with my PhD and have a job where I can still teach others about anthropology and human evolution!
5. What is your favorite discovery and why?
I personally love the story of the discovery of Taung child. You can read more about the discovery here: https://www.press.uchicago.edu/Misc/Chicago/284158_brain.html
6. Favorite Anthropologist?
I really admire the work of the whole Leakey family… they made many amazing discoveries and paved the way for the field of paleoanthropology as we know it today. The Leakey Foundation continues to support anthropological research and they have a wonderful podcast called Origin Stories. You can find more information on the Leakey family here: https://leakeyfoundation.org/about/the-leakey-family/
7. What advice would you give to budding anthropologists?
Keep asking questions! Read articles and books, visit museums if you can… there is so much to learn about what it means to be human!
8. What is your favorite project that you have worked on?
I was able to plan and host a teacher workshop for 20 educators to come to the University of Florida to learn about human evolution over the course of four days. It was an amazing experience getting to connect with these educators and help them bring human evolution into their classrooms.
9. Do you have any suggested books?
Thinking Big: How the Evolution of Social Life Shaped the Human Mind by Robin Dunbar, Clive Gamble, and John Gowlett is a really interesting book about the role of neuroanatomy in human evolution.
10. What is your favorite hominid and why?
My favorite hominid is Homo heidelbergensis – specifically, the cranium Kabwe 1. This cranium is notable for its robust facial features and the fact that it is one of the oldest known to have cavities!
Stay tuned for the next interview! If you’re interested in being interviewed, or know someone who is, have them contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will see what we can do!