Biological anthropologist James Holland Jones explains how diseases typically spread from animal to human populations and how that might change as our planet continues to warm. He also discusses how we might prevent future epidemics with limited vaccines by looking to community structure and identifying the key bridge populations. Without getting too apocalyptic… ok fine, getting a little apocalyptic… Jones also looks to diseases of the past to pick the one that is most likely to be a serious problem in the future, hemorrhagic fever hopefully not included. Hypochondriacs beware, it’s all infectious disease on this episode of Generation Anthropocene!
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James Holland Jones
James Jones is a biological anthropologist with interests in biodemography, life history theory, and the human ecology of infectious disease. Biological anthropology is the study of the origins and maintenance of human diversity and the axis of diversity that defines his research interests is the stunning variation across populations and through time in the fundamental quantities of demography: age-specific mortality and fertility rates. Two major sources of variation in human mortality are the differential impact of (1) infectious disease and (2) violence across populations and through time. Theory, in turn, predicts that fertility should respond to the variation in mortality. As a consequence, James Jones see studying both infectious disease and violence as necessary predicates for understanding the diversity of the human demographic experience. His work is broadly comparative and he uses studies of nonhuman primate life histories and infectious diseases to provide a broad perspective on these phenomena in humans.