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Department of Anthropology Colloquium ~ Dr. Michael Price

College Hall
Room 125
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About the event

Latent trait models and other Bayesian Solutions to the Osteological Paradox
Dr. Michael Price
Postdoctoral Fellow, ASU-SFI Center, Santa Fe Institute

Paleopathology continues to rely on skeletons as its primary source of data. Unfortunately, skeletons are not representative of past living populations because archaeologists can only directly study those individuals who died at a given age. It’s like inferring something about healthy, modern populations by only visiting hospitals filled with sick people. Such issues have been well-recognized within bioarchaeology at least since Wood et al. (1992) published The Osteological Paradox, but the simple truth is that hidden heterogeneity, selective mortality, and demographic non-stationarity continue to vex archaeologists. Bayesian models — for example, latent trait models, maximum likelihood multistate illness-death models, and importance sampling for age-at-death estimation — seem a sensible path forward. I report on recent work in this area.

Michael Price is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Santa Fe Institute. He received a PhD in Anthropology from Stanford University and a BS in Physics from Harvey Mudd College. Active research areas include improving age estimation techniques for skeletal data, reconstructing past demography, automating the geo-referencing of historic aerial images and recent UAV images, and understanding the evolution of economic preferences.

All are welcome to attend!