Kaedan O'Brien portrait
  • Grad Assist - Rsrch Focus (GR), Anthropology Department
  • Graduate Research Fellow, National Science Foundation
801-585-0885

Publications

  • Abraham, J.O., Rowan, J., O’Brien, K., Sokolowski, K.G., & Faith, J. T. (2024). Environmental context shapes the relationship between grass consumption and body size in African herbivore communities. Ecology and Evolution 14(2). Published, 02/2024.
  • Greiner, E., El-Shaarawi, W., Orlikoff, E., Sherwood, R., O’Brien, K., & Kingston, J. (2024). Dental Mesowear from the Tugen Hills Succession (Baringo Basin, Kenya) Demonstrates Increase in Mixed-Feeding Behavior of Late Miocene to Plio-Pleistocene Bovidae. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 112058. Published, 01/2024.
  • O’Brien, K.*, Irmis, R.B., Coltrain, J.B., Dalmas, D.M., Derieg, K.M., Evans, T., Richards, E.S., Richards, F.M., Rickart, E.A., & Faith, J.T. (2023). The utility of alpine cave fossil assemblages for zoological census: an example from northern Utah, U.S.A. Journal of Mammalogy. Published, 11/2023.
  • Goldstein, S., O’Brien, K., Adum, A., & Mwangi, J. (2023). A multi-component forager-to-herder sequence at Kapsoo Rockshelter (Chebinyiny) on the Uasin Gishu Plateau, Kenya. Azania. Published, 09/2023.
  • Ranhorn, K.L., Mavuso, S.S., Colarossi, D., Dogandžić, T., O’Brien, K., Ribordy, M., Ssebuyungo, C., Warren, S., Harris, J.W.K., Braun, D.R., & Ndiema, E. (2023). By the lakeshore: multi-scalar geoarchaeology in the Turkana Basin at GaJj17, Koobi Fora (Kenya). Quaternary Research. Published, 08/2023.
  • O’Brien, K., Podkovyroff, K., Fernandez, D.P., Tryon, C.A., Ashioya, L., & Faith, J.T. (2023). Migratory behavior in the enigmatic Late Pleistocene bovid Rusingoryx atopocranion. Frontiers in Environmental Archaeology. Published, 08/2023.
  • O’Brien, K., Hebdon, N., & Faith, J.T. (2023). Paleoecological evidence for environmental specialization in Paranthropus boisei compared to early Homo. Journal of Human Evolution 177, 103325. Published, 04/2023.
  • O’Brien, K., Tryon, C.A., Kimeu, B., Blegen, N., Rowan, J., & Faith, J.T. (2021). First appearance of Grévy's zebra (Equus grevyi), from the Middle Pleistocene Kapthurin Formation, Kenya, sheds light on the evolution and paleoecology of large zebras. Quaternary Science Reviews 256, 106835. Published, 02/2021.
  • Faith, J.T., Rowan, J., O’Brien, K., Blegen, N., Peppe, D.J. (2020). Late Pleistocene mammals from Kibogo, Kenya: systematic paleontology, paleoenvironments, and non-analog associations. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, e1841781. Published, 09/2020.
  • O'Brien, K., Patterson, D. B., Biernat, M. D., Braun, D. R., Cerling, T. E., McGrosky, A., & Faith, J. T. (2020). Ungulate turnover in the Koobi Fora Formation: Spatial and temporal variation in the Early Pleistocene. Journal of African Earth Sciences, 161, 103658. Published, 01/2020.
  • Patterson, D. B., Braun, D. R., Allen, K., Barr, W. A., Behrensmeyer, A. K., Biernat, M., Morris, S. E., O'Brien, K., Reeves, J. S., Wood, B. A., and Bobe, R. (2019). Comparative isotopic evidence from East Turkana supports a dietary shift within the genus Homo. Nature Ecology & Evolution, 3(7), 1048-1056. Published, 06/2019.

Research Keywords

  • Vertebrate Paleontology
  • Ungulates
  • Strontium
  • Stable Isotopes
  • Seasonality
  • Quaternary
  • Paleoecology
  • Paleoanthropology
  • Migration
  • Equidae
  • Bovidae

Presentations

  • O’Brien, K., Podkovyroff, K., Fernandez, D.P., Ashioya, L., Cerling, T.E., & Faith, J.T. Isotopic evidence of seasonality and migration in the Last Glacial Period of Kenya (Poster). Wilkes Climate Summit 2023, Salt Lake City, UT, UTA. Poster, Presented, 05/2023.
  • O’Brien, K., Hebdon, N., & Faith, J.T. Is Paranthropus boisei an environmental specialist compared to early Homo? Evaluating faunal evidence from the Koobi Fora Formation, Kenya. Paleoanthropology Society 2022 Annual Meeting, Denver, CO, U.S.A. Poster, Presented, 03/2022.
  • O’Brien, K., Hebdon, N., & Faith, J.T. Is Paranthropus boisei an environmental specialist compared to early Homo? Evaluating the faunal evidence from the Koobi Fora Formation, Kenya. American Association of Physical Anthropologists 91st Annual Meeting, Denver, Colorado, U.S.A. Presentation, Presented, 03/2022.
  • O’Brien, K., Irmis, R.B., Coltrain, J.B., Dalmas, D.M., Evans, T., Richards E.S., Richards, F.M., & Faith, J.T. High-elevation census of montane ecosystems: Ecological implications for Quaternary vertebrates from Boomerang Cave, Utah, U.S.A. (Virtual Presentation). Society of Vertebrate Paleontology 81st Annual Meeting, Virtual Meeting. Presentation, Presented, 10/15/2021.
  • O’Brien, K., Irmis, R.B., Coltrain, J.B., Dalmas, D.M., Evans, T., Richards E.S., Richards, F.M., & Faith, J.T. Ecological Census implications, site description, and systematic paleontology of Boomerang Cave, a vertebrate assemblage in Cache County, Utah, U.S.A. (Virtual Presentation). Crossing The Palaeontological-Ecological Gap 2nd Meeting, Berlin, Germany. Presentation, Presented, 09/08/2021.
  • O’Brien, K., Tryon, C.A., Blegen, N., Kimeu, B., Rowan, J., Faith, J.T. First appearance of Grévy's zebra (Equus grevyi), Kapthurin Formation, Kenya (Virtual Presentation). Society of Vertebrate Paleontology 80th Annual Meeting, Virtual Meeting. Presentation, Presented, 10/15/2020.
  • O’Brien, K. & Faith, J.T. An evolutionary and ecological overview of Equidae from the Koobi Fora Formation Early Pleistocene record (Podium). Geological Society of America 2019 Annual Meeting, Phoenix, Arizona, USA. Presentation, Presented, 09/24/2019.
  • O’Brien, K., Bui, K., Hebdon, N., & Faith, J.T. Specialization and Niche Partitioning of Homo and Paranthropus in the Early Pleistocene of East Turkana (Podium). East African Association of Palaeoanthropology & Palaeontology 7th Meeting, Nairobi, Kenya. Presentation, Presented, 08/02/2019.
  • O’Brien, K., McGrosky, A., Allen, K., Biernat, M., Braun, D.R., Guerrero, A.B., Patterson, D.B., Torres, F., & Faith, J.T. Early Pleistocene grassland dynamics at East Turkana: Spatiotemporal patterns of mesic- and xeric-adapted ungulates and new insights into niche preferences of Eurygnathohippus and Kolpochoerus (Poster). Society of Vertebrate Paleontology 78th Annual Meeting, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA. Poster, Presented, 10/20/2018.
  • O’Brien, K., McGrosky, A., Allen, K., Anderson, L., Biernat, M.D., Braun, D.R., Guerrero, A.B., Hammond, A., Hunter, L., Seckinger, J., Torres, F., Zeller, R., Zerihun, D., & Patterson, D.B. Early Pleistocene grassland evolution at East Turkana, northern Kenya: Indications from shifting patterns of mesic and xeric adapted mammals (Podium). American Association of Physical Anthropologists 87th Annual Meeting, Austin, Texas, USA. Presentation, Presented, 04/12/2018.
  • O’Brien, K., McGrosky, A., Allen, K., Anderson, L., Biernat, M.D., Braun, D.R., Guerrero, A.B., Hunter, L., Seckinger, J., Torres, F., Zeller, R., Zerihun, D., & Patterson, D.B. Early Pleistocene grassland dynamics at East Turkana: Indications from shifting patterns of mesic- and xeric-adapted ungulates and new insights into ungulate niche preference (Poster). Paleoanthropology Society 2018 Annual Meeting, Austin, Texas, USA. Poster, Presented, 04/10/2018.

Grants, Contracts & Research Gifts

  • Evaluating Seasonality and Migration as Ecological Drivers of Technological Transition in Human Evolutionary History. PI: J. Tyler Faith. Co-PI(s): Kaedan O'Brien. National Science Foundation, 02/01/2023 - present. Total project budget to date: $30,700.00
  • Reconstructing paleoclimate, seasonality, and ancient migratory systems in the Late Pleistocene of the eastern Lake Victoria Basin, Kenya. PI: Kaedan O'Brien. Wilkes Center for Climate Science & Policy, 11/01/2022 - present. Total project budget to date: $3,000.00
  • Seasonality as a driver of ungulate migration patterns at the Late Pleistocene site of Kibogo, Kenya. PI: Kaedan O'Brien. Paleontological Society, 08/15/2022 - present. Total project budget to date: $1,200.00
  • Seasonality, migratory systems, and the MSA-LSA transition in eastern Africa. PI: Kaedan O'Brien. Leakey Foundation, 08/15/2022 - present. Total project budget to date: $14,972.00
  • Reconstructing Late Pleistocene Paleo-migration in the eastern Lake Victoria Basin, Kenya. PI: Kaedan O'Brien. Society of Vertebrate Paleontology, 08/15/2022 - present. Total project budget to date: $3,000.00
  • Tracking Late Quaternary Ungulate Migration and Seasonality in Kenya Using Stable Isotopes. PI: Kaedan O'Brien. Global Change & Sustainability Center, University of Utah, 05/01/2022 - present. Total project budget to date: $3,000.00
  • Is Paranthropus boisei an environmental specialist compared to early Homo? Evaluating the faunal evidence from the Koobi Fora Formation, Kenya. PI: Kaedan O'Brien. Global Change & Sustainability Center, University of Utah, 03/01/2022 - present. Total project budget to date: $500.00
  • An evolutionary and ecological overview of Equidae from the Koobi Fora Formation Early Pleistocene record. PI: Kaedan O'Brien. Associated Students of the University of Utah , 09/01/2020 - present. Total project budget to date: $250.00
  • Multiproxy assessment of African fossil horse dietary ecology. PI: Kaedan O'Brien. Global Change & Sustainability Center, University of Utah, 05/01/2020 - present. Total project budget to date: $3,000.00
  • Early Pleistocene grassland dynamics at East Turkana: Spatiotemporal patterns of mesic- and xeric-adapted ungulates and new insights into niche preferences of Eurygnathohippus and Kolpochoerus. PI: Kaedan O'Brien. Global Change & Sustainability Center, University of Utah, 03/01/2019 - present. Total project budget to date: $500.00
  • Early Pleistocene grassland evolution at East Turkana, northern Kenya: Indications from shifting patterns of mesic and xeric adapted mammals. PI: Kaedan O'Brien. Associated Students of Madison, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 03/01/2018 - present. Total project budget to date: $350.00

Languages

  • Spanish, functional.
  • Swahili (macrolanguage), functional.

Geographical Regions of Interest

  • Kenya
  • South Africa
  • United States of America