AI, Experimental archaeology, and the evolution of cooking Clarence E. Dammon Dean Academic Year 2023 Accepted Archaeology, data science, Artificial Intelligence, Human evolution Researchers debate the impact of fire usage on early hominins' biological and social adaptations. Fire usage led to changes in the hominin digestive system, extracting more nutrition and metabolic support for their larger brains. Some propose that the appearance of cooking increased nutrient extraction rates by approximately 50%, significantly impacting hominins' energy availability, even when these dietary items constituted only a small portion of their overall diet. Anthropologists have proposed an early date for the control of fire, potentially coinciding with the appearance of Homo around 1.8 million years ago, which aligns with the notable initial increase in hominin brain size. It has been widely assumed that hominins were skilled in controlling fire and cooking. However, the usage of fire for cooking and its impact on hominin evolution are still significant questions, with their answers depending on when and where it was employed. Although ancient archaeological sites have yielded fossil animal remains, evidence of fire use on these specimens is limited. The degree of burning observed on a fossil bone can be attributed to a cooking method like roasting. However, other bone surface modifications (BSMs) resulting from alternative cooking methods such as boiling, braising, or pit roasting are not as easily detectable. The archaeological literature lacks methods to detect such BSM evidence of the emergence of fire use for cooking. Using a set of experiments, this project will help evaluate whether BSM may be used as evidence of cooking. Erik R Otarola-Castillo Under instructor supervision, interns will conduct experimental archaeology to simulate butchery associated with cooking. Students will also analyze the resulting and available evidence in 3D. Moreover, we will search for ambiguous cases in the archaeological/paleoanthropological literature that warrant further investigation. Interns will learn the basics of (randomized-controlled) experimental design, 3D scanning of objects, data cleaning and analysis techniques, and the use of programming languages to conduct AI and data science work.

Interns will also aid in the preparation of Powerpoint presentations and data entry, management, and analysis. Following initial work, interns will also have the opportunity to contribute to the writing of manuscripts for publication and presentation at international professional conferences. Desired Candidate Qualifications: Candidates are required to possess a demonstrated interest and skill in two or more of the following: Anthropology, Archaeology, Human Evolution, and Human Ecology. in addition, candidates must have an interest in applying new technologies to answer problem-based scientific questions. Interested students must know how to use the library and their research procedures (e.g., inter-library loans) and have good basic-computer skills. Desired software knowledge includes ArcGIS, Word, Excel, and Access. Optional, but not required interests are in Computer science and statistics, and learning language skills like R, Python, Matlab, or C++. 3 10 (estimated)