When an archaeologist uncovers an artifact, while likely enthralled by the piece, they are more interested in what it can teach them about human behavior. Zooarchaeologists have a similar goal. UNC researchers Benjamin Arbuckle and Heather Lapham use ancient animal remains, texts, and iconography to understand how relationships with animals changed peoples’ lives and the world.
Professors Allen Hurlbert and Keith Sockman want their students out of the classroom as much as possible. Every other year, the UNC researchers lead an avian biology course that explores the physiology, anatomy, evolution, and behavior of birds. Throughout the semester, the class visits wildlife reserves across the state to see these lessons in the field.
David and Karin Pfennig have created a home away from home in the Arizona desert. For about five weeks every summer, the couple studies spadefoot toads. Long days and nights are filled with collecting specimen, conducting experiments, and recording observations. Not only do they bring along graduate students, but also a pair of special assistants — their daughters.