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Larisa DeSantis

International collaboration draws new conclusions about ‘convergent evolution’ of saber-tooth cats

Jun. 26, 2020—International collaboration shows that marsupial saber-tooth cats were more closely related to possums than fearsome predators.

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Unexpected mammal provides insight into the lives of ancient hominins

Jun. 11, 2020—Paleontologist and associate professor of biological sciences Larisa DeSantis finds answers about early hominin diets are with an unrelated group of mammals—tapirs.

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Where are the quokkas? New study explains what happened to the “happiest animal in the world”

Feb. 21, 2020—The quokka, a small marsupial native to Australia, is an example of a species vulnerable to extinction in the country’s harsh surroundings. In a new study, researchers at Vanderbilt University demonstrate evidence for the dramatic decline of quokkas over the past century.

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Intense look at La Brea Tar Pits explains why we have coyotes, not saber-toothed cats

Aug. 5, 2019—The most detailed study to date of ancient predators trapped in the La Brea Tar Pits is helping Americans understand why today we’re dealing with coyotes dumping over garbage cans and not saber-toothed cats ripping our arms off.

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Panel discussion on STEM career paths set for March 12

Mar. 8, 2019—The Vanderbilt community is invited to a panel discussion on Tuesday, March 12, titled “ZigZags: Honest STEM Career Paths.” The discussion will be held at the Bishop Joseph Johnson Black Cultural Center.

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Childhood meeting with Bush inspired Vanderbilt’s DeSantis to be role model for others

Dec. 6, 2018—When Associate Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences Larisa DeSantis was 9 years old, she had the opportunity to meet with then-President George H.W. Bush in the Oval Office. The interaction with the 41st president would have a profound effect on her life.

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Climate change the likely killer of Australian marsupial lion

Oct. 19, 2018—The extinction of one of Australia’s top predators, the marsupial lion, was likely a result of changing weather patterns and loss of habitat rather than human impacts, a study led by Vanderbilt University paleontologist Larisa DeSantis has found.

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Koala teeth provide insights into diet

Aug. 22, 2018—Paleontologist Larisa DeSantis' latest research confirms that the shape of tooth wear best indicates the kind of food koalas and kangaroos ate, not whether it was covered in dust and dirt.

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Vanderbilt students offer firsthand look at Nashville’s distant past during Fossils at the Fort April 7

Mar. 22, 2018—Kids of all ages can find and take home a 400-million-year-old souvenir and learn all about the hunt for clues to the ancient past at Fort Negley April 7.

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Climate change took away ancient animals’ food supply; holds implications for today’s wildlife

Jun. 2, 2017—Analysis suggests that climate change had a significant impact on megafauna diets and was a primary factor in their extinction.

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Dark Side of the Mound: Vanderbilt researchers unearth clues to a mysterious Peruvian archaeological site

May. 29, 2017—By Seth Robertson   About 7,500 years ago a construction project of almost unfathomable scope began taking shape along the Pacific coast of what is today northern Peru. Initially a low-lying ceremonial mound, it would become in 4,000 years’ time a monument of staggering size—100 feet tall, 320 feet long and 180 feet wide—as generations...

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The tale teeth tell about the legendary man-eating lions of Tsavo

Apr. 19, 2017—Analysis of the microscopic wear on the teeth of three man-eating lions reveals that painful dental disease may have been what drove the cats to hunt humans instead of larger prey.

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