Karnu Taylor is a Martu woman, senior custodian of the Warnman Estates in the heart of Karlamilyi and internationally renown artist. Mrs. Taylor is a mother, grandmother, and guide for generations of Martu, and has worked for many years mentoring Rebecca Bliege Bird and Doug Bird in Martu values of land and resource use, social relationships and their importance for sustaining Martu country and communities. Mrs. Taylor's sister-in-law (Nyalangka Taylor) and her grandson (Curtis Taylor) have co-published with the Bird's a number of important articles on Martu country and practice.
Rebecca Bliege Bird is Professor of Anthropology at Penn State with interests that range from social signaling, the evolution of cooperation, gendered relationships in subsistence economies, fire ecology in foraging societies, complex human-natural coupled systems and resource management. She has worked in Indigenous communities since 1993 when she began her dissertation fieldwork in the Torres Strait Islands, but now spends much of her time in Australia's Western Desert.
Brian Codding and Nyalangka Taylor
Nyalangka Taylor is a Manyjilyjarra Martu woman and senior custodian (with her brothers Muuki and Waka Taylor) of the Kulyakarta estates in the far kayli (north) of Martu country. She is a renowned hunter, ecologist, translator and artist at Martumili Artists. As cultural mentor under the leadership of Martu elder Kumpaya Girgaba, she has provided guidance and support for a generation of Martu and scholars. She has co-authored a number of well recognized scientific articles with Dr. Codding and the Birds.
Brian Codding is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Utah. His research focuses on the ecology of foraging economies and the ways in which populations interact dynamically with their natural and social environments. Since 2007 he has worked closely with Doug and Rebecca Bird, Nyalangka Taylor and many other Martu on issues of customary subsistence and environmental variability. He has published widely on the nature of Aboriginal foraging strategies and adaptive systems in Australia, and also maintains long-term archaeological and ethnographic projects in California and North America's Great Basin.
Doug Bird and Curtis Taylor
Curtis Taylor is a young Martu cultural leader, filmmaker, screen artist and hunter whose home country lies in the Warnman estates of Karlamilyi. He grew up with his family in Parnngurr community. He currently works for Curious Works and coordinates the Martu Trust School Holiday Program at RMP Project Management. In 2011 Mr. Taylor received the Western Australian Youth Art Award and Wesfarmers Youth Scholarship. His screen work has been shown widely in international film festivals and exhibitions, and he served as co-curator and artist-in-residence for the groundbreaking national exhibit Yiwarra Kuju: The Canning Stock Route Project.
Curtis has worked closely with Doug and Rebecca Bird and Brian Codding since he was a teenager. Based on his cultural expertise and tireless work on the Martu Ecological Anthropology Project, as well as his deep commitment to Martu country, he has gone on to co-author a number of important articles with our team. When not at working in Perth or at home in the Western Desert, Curtis is undertaking film and media studies at Murdoch University.
David Zeanah is Professor of Anthropology at Cal State University Sacramento where he served for many years as departmental chair. He is trained as an archaeologist but has broad interests in evolutionary ecology, hunter-gatherer organization, subsistence strategies and settlement. He joined the Martu Ecological Anthropology project in 2009, and has since published a number of key studies on factors influencing changing human environmental relationships and subsistence in the Western Desert.
Brooke Scelza is Associate Professor of Anthropology at UCLA. She spent a number of years working with the Martu Ecological Anthropology Project, living in Parnngurr where she collaborated with community members on a large project focused on parental and grand-parental investment. She has since developed a long-term ethnographic project with Himba pastoralists in Namibia focused on reproductive ecology, demography and health. She has published widely in international science journals on her work with both Martu and Himba.
Michael Price is a postdoctoral scholar in the HEnDy lab at Penn State. He specializes in human behavioral ecology, focusing particularly on the mathematical and computer modeling of human behavior. Some of the models he uses are: optimal foraging theory, costly signaling, evolutionary game theory, and agent based modeling. He was born and raised in the Indonesian province of Papua (formerly Irian Jaya) on the island of New Guinea. His PhD thesis from Stanford U developed novel evolutionary approaches toward understanding human decision making with a set new models for behavioral ecology. He is currently developing an agent based model of Indigenous subsistence, land use, climate and fauna for the Martu Ecological Anthropology Project.
Christopher Jazwa is a postdoctoral scholar in the HEnDy lab at Penn State where he is working on land modification in the Western Desert of Australia. His research is a new component of our team's ongoing NSF sponsored project on resource use and landscape ecology among Martu. The new project involves using stable isotopic measurements from collagen of kangaroo bones from the archaeological record to reconstruct macropod diet and potential landscape level changes in anthropogenic habitat modification in the past. Dr. Jazwa completed his PhD in Anthropology at Penn State with his thesis focused on the archaeology of human-environmental interaction in California's Channel Islands. He has published widely on his archaeological and ecological work.
James O'Connell (with Jacob Jones, 1974)
James O'Connell is Distinguished Emeritus Professor of Anthropology at University of Utah. Professor O'Connell and Doug Bird have collaborated for many years on a range of projects, and have co-published a number of key theoretical reviews of human behavioral ecology and it's impact on archaeology. O'Connell has also served as a mentor and advisor for much of the Martu Ecological Anthropology Project. Over his career Professor O'Connell has revolutionized how archaeologists and ethnographers approach and understand human-environmental dynamics. He has spent many years involved in ethnographic and archaeological work in Australia, Africa, and North America, with many dozens of highly influential articles, edited volumes, and books.
Peter Veth (with Kirriwirri "Mack" Gardener)
Peter Veth is the Ian Potter Chair in Rock Art and Professor of Archaeology at University of Western Australia. He has been involved in archaeological, ethnohistoric, ethnographic and maritime studies throughout Australia, Torres Strait, Maluku Province Indonesia, East Timor and Pitcairn Island. Beginning with surveys in the SE Kimberley and the Great Sandy Desert in 1980, he has now carried our several hundred projects, often in large multi-disciplinary teams, throughout Greater Australia. He has worked with Doug and Rebecca Bird since 1997, and has been fundamental in organizing and facilitating the Martu Ecological Anthropology project since its inception in 2000.
Luis Fernandez is a tropical ecologist, and Research Associate at the Carnegie Institution's Department of Global Ecology. Luis also holds positions as Senior Research Associate at Stanford University's Department of Anthropology and Research Assistant Professor at the Department of Biology at Wake Forest University.
Luis is the Director of the Carnegie Amazon Mercury Ecosystem Project (CAMEP), a multi-institution research initiative that examines the impacts of artisanal gold mining, mercury contamination and deforestation on natural and human ecosystems in the Amazonian region of Madre de Dios, Peru. He joined the Martu Ecological Anthropology team in 2014 to develop data collection protocols in the field with Martu. He is now contributing his expertise to modeling human environmental interactions in the Western Desert with our team in HEnDy and Penn State.