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Biology graduate has article published with faculty member Patterson

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Kayla Allen, a May 2018 UNG graduate, had a paper published in Nature Ecology & Evolution with Dr. David Patterson, UNG assistant professor of biology. Their fossil research in Kenya was the basis for the article.

Kayla Allen had always been interested in Africa and wildlife. Her research with Dr. David Patterson, assistant professor of biology at the University of North Georgia (UNG), allowed her to explore both interests at the same time.

Now, their work together has been published as an article in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution.

The pair researched the dietary evolution of the genus Homo between 2 million and 1.4 million years ago. Their fossil research in Kenya yielded a large number of teeth, from which they used the carbon signatures to determine the mammals' diet. Hippopotamuses, giraffes and antelopes were among the mammals from which they found teeth.

Their research showed a dietary shift in the genus Homo during this period that could have included elevated consumption of grass material, or the animals that eat those grasses.

Allen, a May 2018 UNG graduate with a bachelor's degree in biology, is pursuing a master's degree in biology at Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville, Georgia. Three other students, now in graduate school at Arizona State University, Texas Tech University and University of Utah, also served as co-authors on the article.

Allen appreciates how the trip to Africa in summer 2017 that led to the paper took her out of her comfort zone. The article's publication is an enjoyable milestone, too.

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