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Robert Libutti ’02 (Sinking Spring, Pa.), a geology major and anthropology and sociology minor, is investigating how pop culture portrays our prehistoric human ancestors in an independent research project this term.

“I’m looking at a variety of media, mainly films, but also novels. I then compare what ‘Hollywood’ has to say about our distant relatives and what the anthropologic community has found by looking at scientific literature,” the senior explains.

“It’s very interesting to see how, over time, people’s notions of how ‘cavemen’ lived have changed as more scientific knowledge has been gained,” he says.

Libutti is working with Susan Niles, professor of anthropology and sociology. “Professor Niles is great to work with. She is really enthusiastic about the project, which in turn increases my interest level. Not only do I feel as though I can talk to her about the project, but we are developing a friendship on a personal level as well,” he says.

He adds, “I had previously taken Professor Niles’ class On Human Origins, where we discussed ancient relatives. This independent study reinforces the concepts touched on in that class.”

A graduate of Wilson High School, Libutti is a disk jockey with WJRH, the student-run campus radio station. He is a member of the Lafayette Organization of Science and Technology living group, in which all residents’ majors involve technology and science. He is last year’s recipient of the James L. Dyson Geology Award, which is presented annually to a geology major exemplifying outstanding academic achievements and character. He is working on a senior honors thesis as well.

Categorized in: Academic News