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Headshot of Katherine Brunson holding a domesticated pig skull

KATHERINE BRUNSON is a zooarchaeologist who studies the origins of China’s domesticated animals and the environmental impacts of animal domestication in East Asia. She is currently investigating the genetic relationships between domestic cattle and the extinct East Asian wild aurochs. She also co-directs the online Oracle Bones in East Asia project. Her research interests include ancient DNA, the origins of pastoralism in East Asia, extirpations and extinctions of China’s native mammals, oracle bones and the ritual aspects of animal domestication, bone artifact production techniques, and archaeological collections management. Dr. Brunson has participated in numerous archaeological survey and excavation projects across China and at the Maya site of Copan, Honduras. Her publications can be found here. Read more about her ongoing projects by clicking on the tiles below!

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Animals in China
Animals in China East Asia was once home to a wide variety of animal species that have been displaced over the last few thousand years…
Oracle Bones in East Asia
Oracle Bones in East Asia Project Photo by Katherine Brunson Oracle bones are a special type of bone artifact used for divination rituals. They are…
Zooarchaeology and The Tao River Project
Zooarchaeology and The Tao River Project Professor Brunson conducts fieldwork in China annually in order to investigate past human-animal interactions in East Asia. She collaborates…
Ancient DNA
Ancient DNA Ancient DNA (aDNA) reveals that animal domestication was a complex process in which there was frequent feralization and interbreeding between wild and domestic…