Episode 139: How are reindeer herders in the Arctic circle metabolically adapted to cold climates?

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In this episode, Dr. Cara Ocobock (University of Notre Dame) talks to us about her investigations in human biology, anatomy, physiology, evolution, energetics and environmental adaptation. One the main projects she is involved in assesses cold adaptations among reindeer herders in Finland.

What are the daily and seasonal activities of reindeer herders living around the Arctic Circle in the north of Finland? How does Cara collect ethnographic and biological data that will give clues as to how these indigenous communities are adapted to the cold behaviorally and physiologically? What is brown adipose tissue, and how does this type of fat help cold populations live in such extreme conditions? How might Cara's insights be expanded to study global climate change's effects on human populations living in these high-latitude locales?

Besides her work with the reindeer herding cooperatives, Cara also shares some of her thoughts on how COVID-19 is affecting her research community and new research she would like to do studying the physical and emotional impacts of the current pandemic on athletes and weightlifters. Together with Dr. Christopher Lynn (he guested on Episode 54), Cara is also the co-host of Sausage of Science, another fantastic interview-based podcast about human biology and evolution. You can find Cara's and Chris' podcast, The Sausage of Science, on iTunes, Stitcher or the Human Biology Association webpage.

You can find more information in the show notes under the episode on our website.

If you have feedback or questions for Cara, you can find her on Twitter and on her website.

She has a new American Anthropologist paper that just came out over the weekend entitled, "Human energy expenditure in anthropology and beyond" - you can read Cara's thoughts on the paper in her latest blog post.

You can find Michael on Twitter and Instagram too.

The Arch and Anth Podcast is on Twitter and Instagram, and it has a Facebook page.

If you liked this episode and you want to help contribute to the show, please visit the Patreon page for details on how to do that.

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