Portrait of Jessica Dolding-Smith

Jessica Dolding-Smith

PhD student
Biological Anthropology


PhD project: Researching human life history and the link to an underlying biological rhythm

We now know that biological rhythms have a big impact on human beings, such as telling us when to wake up and when to sleep, and the consequences that may come with going against our biological clock. What we still don’t know is whether biological rhythms have an impact on humans’ intriguing and unusual life histories. Specifically, through her project, Jessica is asking whether we can find a correlation between an underlying biological rhythm and how a human grows. 

Jessica will specifically be looking at juvenile skeletons from a wide range of time periods, as well as conducting histological work on teeth. This will not only give us a greater understanding of ourselves, but also help us in understanding the past, as well as the possibilities for forensic contribution.

Prior to starting this project, Jessica obtained her MSc from University College London (UCL) and a BSc from the University of Kent. Her MSc project looked at whether occlusal dental wear in the hominins of Sima de los Huesos were higher than when compared with Neanderthals and three modern human groups, and whether this outcome could be used to support or refute the anterior dental loading hypothesis. Her BSc project, on the other hand, explored whether cultural variation increased with increasing group size and how this could be applied to studying aspects of the past, such as the Acheulean tradition and east of the Movius Line. She also has experience in preparing human remains for archaeological analysis for the Museum of London Archaeology.

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