Swallow Hall, a 19th Century Gothic Building,
home of the Department of Anthropology

Colleen B. Young

Paleontology, Ecuador, megatherium, eremotherium, fossil
Graduate Instructor
Biological Anthropology
Office Address: 
309 Swallow Hall, Department of Anthropology
Office Hours: 
Tuesdays: 12-2 PM; Wednesdays 10 AM - 1 PM; And by appointment. Email me @ cbyrm5@mail.missouri.edu.

Advisor: Libby Cowgill

Other advisors: Karthik Panchanathan and Matthew Gommper 

Previous advisors: Tim D. White, Kent Lightfoot, Patrick Kirch, Jun Sunseri, Anthony Barnosky, and Lise Mifsud

Education: Presently, PhD Student, University of Missouri.

M.A. in Anthropology; University of Missouri.

B.A. in Anthropology; University of California at Berkeley, highest honors

Bio: California grown with a passion for education, science, and positive change. My foundation as an anthropologist began at UC Berkeley, while working in the Department of Integrative Biology. I took diverse classes, including: Evolutionary Medicine, Medical Ethnobotany, Anatomy (with lab), Vertebrate Morphology (with lab), Human Osteology (with lab), Human Paleontology (with lab), and Primate Biology Group; I also minored in Native American studies. I worked in the Human Evolution Research Center (HERC) under the advisement of Tim D. White. In HERC I digitized the late F. Clark Howell's reprint collection; identified, catalogued, and packed for repatriation the Omo Ethiopian paleontological collection; edited the third edition of Human Osteology textbook; and identified human skeletal remains in the Hearst Museum of Anthropology for NAGPRA.

I worked with Kent Lightfoot, Patrick Kirch, and Jun Sunseri on my senior thesis that used a zooarchaeological collection from a Late Holocene site on Santa Cruz Island, California, to identify human impacts on biodiversity levels through time. Throughout my time at UCB, I was a leader for positive change and heavily involved in activities that opposed tuition hikes and the diminishment of campus resources. I graduated UC Berkeley with Highest Honors, and was awarded the Ted McCown Scholarship ($1500) for my overall excellence in the community and research, and a Certificate of Departmental Recognition for my leadership in activities that prevented reduction of library hours of the Anthropology Library. 

At the University of Missouri, I have received two National Science Foundation grants (Graduate Research Fellowship; and the Graduate Research Opportunities Worldwide) for my graduate research. Over the last few years, I have travelled to California to look at fox remains from the Channel Islands, Baja California Sur to explore isolated populations in the peninsula, and Mexico City to analyze human skeletal remains associated with the Pericu. 



"... the past never says things quite the way the present needs them said." - Bohannan and Glazer.

I've spent the majority of my undergraduate and graduate research interested in how anthropologists can use archaeological and paleontological datasets to address contemporary biological issues. As an undergraduate, I used a zooarchaeological assemblage from Santa Cruz Island, California, to understand changes in biodiversity levels throughout the Late Holocene. To do so, I identified over 2000 bird and terrestrial mammal specimens and measured how species richness and evenness changed with corresponding changes in archaeological materials through time.

Currently, I am interested in how body size and shape changes in insular human and non-human populations, and the types of heterochrony involved in these shifts. I am working with island fox, insular human, and hominin datasets to better understand how insularity affects morphology. Importantly, this recent project will help with interepretations of body size of modern humans in resource scarce or stressful environments, as well as understanding body size and shape changes in hominin fossil taxa. 

Travel / field experience: Coromandel Peninsula, New Zealand -- Kiwi bird and Maori cultural preservation (2008); Ecuador -- paleontology field assitant (2011); Navajo Reservation -- Bennett Freeze Rehabilitaion efforts (2010); Baja California, Mexico -- visited museums and collections (2014; 2016); Mexico City, Mexico -- visited museums and collections (2018).

Collection experience: California Amerindians at the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology (UC Berkeley); Avifauna and mammals from the Museum of Vertebrate Paleontology (UC Berkeley); Megatherium and eremotherium fossils (University de Libertad, Ecuador); Omo, Ethiopian, paleontological assemblage (Human Evolution Research Center, UC Berkeley); Pliocene and Pleistocene hominin casts (Human Evolution Research Center, UC Berkeley); Pliocene and Pleistocene hominin casts (University of Missouri, Columbia); Baja California skeletal collection (Centro - Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia); Cozumel carnivore collection (Department of Wildlife, University of Missouri, Columbia); Island and mainland fox collections (Vertebrate Zoology, Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, UC Santa Barbara); Pericu skeletal collection (DAF - Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, Mexico City). 

Technical experience: FileMaker Pro, Xray radiography, Geometric morphometrics, 3D scanner of human crania, website development.


In addition to my outlined teaching experience below, while at UC Berkeley I took a 2-year seminar with the Student Learning Center that instructed on teaching pedagogy, student collaboration, and alternative forms of classroom education.

2008 - 2009 - Cuesta Community College Tutor - Biology, Anthropology, Astronomy, and English

2008 - 2013 - Cuesta Community College - Reader

2009 - 2012 - UC Berkeley Study Group Leader - Student Learning Center for Biological Anthropology and Archaeology

2011 - UC Berkeley Archaeology - Outreach

2013 - University of Missouri, Columbia - Teaching Assistant, Human Origins

2014 - University of Missouri, Columbia - Teaching Assistant, Human Osteology 

2015 - University of Missouri, Columbia - Teaching Assistant, Human Origins

2018 - University of Missouri, Columbia - Graduate Student Instructor, Biological Anthropology Lab


Selected Publications: 

2018 "An Isolated Human Population from Early Holocene Baja California: The Pericu and their isolated body form" In prep.

2017 "Island evolution and body proportion shift of the Channel Island Fox" In prep.

2017 "Dwarfism, Gigantism, and Adaptive Radiation: examining the species in the species-area relationship" In prep.

2015 “Carnivores and Primates on Islands: Taxonomy and Management Conundrums” In prep. with Matthew E. Gompper

2015 “What Does the Fox Say? Body Proportions of Island Foxes and Implications for Insular Dwarfism.” In prep.

2014 “Analysis of Bird Remains from a Late Holocene Chumash Site on Santa Cruz Island, California” In prep.

2009-2011 “Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology skeletal reports”; Skeletal Reports Human Evolution Research Center, University of California, Berkeley Supervisor: Dr. Tim D. White