Faculty of Science and Engineering: Environmental Sciences - The timing of the great ape's last stand in southern Asia; defining a precise extinction window

Faculty of Science and Engineering: Environmental Sciences - The timing of the great ape's last stand in southern Asia; defining a precise extinction window

Department

Environmental Sciences

Project Name

The timing of the great ape's last stand in southern Asia; defining a precise extinction window

Project Description

A highly motivated student that is passionate about Quaternary Science is invited to join an international research team supported by an ARC funded Discovery Project (“Unravelling the mystery of the great ape’s last stand; primate extinction versus human survival in southern Asia”) led by Dr Kira Westaway in the Department of Environmental Sciences, Macquarie University. The aim of the project is to determine precisely when and why a large megafaunal species become extinct in Southern China

The mystery surrounding the disappearance of Gigantopithecus blacki, the largest ever primate, has never been resolved despite evidence for contemporaneous human survival in the region. This project will provide critical new insights into the fate of primates in southern Asia where evidence for megafaunal extinction is rare. Applying multiple dating techniques modelled across key sites will identify a precise extinction window and enable a focused comparison of behaviour and past environmental conditions to determine why the ape failed and humans persevered. This will generate a new understanding of past extinction in comparison with human adaption and survival.

The successful candidate will join the team at the MQ luminescence dating facility and apply luminescence and U-series dating techniques to cave sites in the southern Chinese region of Guangxi to define a precise window of extinction for G.blacki. Knowledge or experience of geochronological and/or luminescence techniques is recommended but not required.

OTHER IMPORTANT INFORMATION

This project will involve fieldwork to remote areas in Southern China, working in cave environments and laboratory analysis of luminescence samples in red light conditions and therefore requires experience in science related disciplines and/or geoscience fieldwork. Interested candidates are encouraged to get in contact with Dr Kira Westaway to discuss the project before applying.

(associated with DP170101597)

Contact
Dr Kira Westaway
kira.westaway@mq.edu.au
02 9850 8429 or 0424285977

This scholarship is available to eligible candidates to undertake either a:

  • Research Training Pathway MRes Year 2 Scholarship (MQRTPMRES) followed by a possible Macquarie University Research Training Program Scholarship (MQRTP) for a 3 year PhD. This is referred to as an MRes/PhD ‘bundle offer’.

OR

  • Direct entry into a 3 year PhD program.

The value and tenure of the scholarship is:

  • The MQRTPMRES Year 2 full-time stipend rate is $26,682 per annum (2017 rate) tax exempt
  • The MQRTP full-time stipend rate is $26,682 per annum (in 2017 tax exempt, for up to 3 years (indexed annually)
  • The scholarship is comprised of a Tuition Fee Offset and a Living Allowance Stipend.

Applicants will need to complete a HDR Candidature and Scholarship Application Form and arrange for two academic referee reports to be submitted to the Higher Degree Research Office. The application form and further information can be found on the Application page.  

To be eligible for a scholarship, applicants are expected to have a record of excellent academic performance and preferably, additional relevant research experience and/or peer-reviewed research activity, awards and/or prizes in line with the University’s scholarship rating guidelines. Refer to the Rating Scholarship Applicants section for more information about these guidelines.

Macquarie University will advise the successful applicant of entitlements at the time of scholarship offer.

Please quote the allocation number on your application.

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