James E. Loudon

(PhD, University of Colorado, 2009)
Office: 211 Flanagan Building
Telephone: 252-737-1263

About Me

I am an anthropologist who focusses on the behavioral ecology of nonhuman primates. I have several research foci including stable isotope ecology, primate parasitology, and ethnoprimatology. At present, I am engaged in a number of projects addressing questions of primate life history and feeding ecology via stable isotope analysis. For one of these projects, my colleagues and I are using Chacma baboons (Papio ursinus) to broaden our understanding of the dietary patterns of our early ancestors. Baboons are often referred to as ecological analogs for early hominins because they are large, omnivorous monkeys that inhabit the savanna ecosystems that were once utilized by the australopithecines and early members of the genus Homo, and probably eat many of the same types of foods that our ancestors ate. Understanding the stable isotope compositions and the mechanical and nutritional properties of the foods consumed by these baboons not only informs us about baboon feeding ecology, it has much promise for informing us about the dietary patterns and feeding adaptations of our ancestors.

I am also interested in the interplay between primate hosts and their parasites. My dissertation work focused on the parasite ecology of Verreaux’s sifaka (Propithecus verreauxi) and ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta) inhabiting the Beza Mahafaly Special Reserve (BMSR) in southwest Madagascar. My dissertation work included the local Mahafaly peoples’ perspectives of the sifaka and lemurs that live in the forests that they use at BMSR. I have also used this ethnoprimatological approach to understand how the Balinese perceive the temple macaques they live among.

I live in an anthropology household. My wife, Michaela is also an anthropologist who works in American Samoa examining how psychological and social stress affects the health of pregnant mothers. We live in Greenville, North Carolina with our dog Uli (not an anthropologist) who is more affectionately known as “Pants France.” Uli likes to swim in the Tar River, chase squirrels, and eat meat.

Department News

 Dr, Bailey's article, "A New Online Strategy in Teaching Racial and Ethnic Health and Health Disparities to Public Health Professionals" was accepted by the Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities. It will appear in the 2016 issue of the Journal.

Excavations in the Western Negev Highlands: Results of the Negev Emergency Survey 1978-89  by Dr. Benjamin Saidel and co-author M. Haimon was published December 2014 by British Archaeological Reports. See here for more.


Haley Drabek translated the Tyrrell Water Management Study finalized in 2014 into 9 separate brochures, one for each proposed water management district. She spent six weeks visiting property owners in each district to explain the benefits of participating in the localized water management district and asking for signatures of intent to join.

Anna Claire researched existing oral history booklets at the Tyrrell Visitor Center and then interviewed elderly Tyrrell County residents who grew up in the county. She taped these interviews for safe keeping at the Visitor Center and is currently writing narrative reports of the collected information, one for each conversation partner. These reports will be bound and held at the Tyrrell County Visitor Center for interested readers. Anna Claire has also been involved with a group of children in the county with a diverse ethnic background. Under Anna Claire's direction the children are currently writing a newsletter that will report on the children's experiences of growing up in Tyrrell County, exploring their favorite places, activities, and hopes for their future.  

 Click here to see Anthropology's latest Newsletter

East Carolina ranks number one for the second consecutive year as the provider of graduate degrees for the Register of Professional Archaeologists registrants! Read more here

 Dr. Holly Mathews and Dr. Laura Mazow were recognized for their outstanding teaching methods by students during the Spring 2015 semester from the College STAR.

Student response for Dr. Mathews:

"She gives feedback and forces her students to expand their mind and explore alternate theories or explanations. She wants her students to discuss topics in class instead of just listening to her talk the entire time."

Student response for Dr. Mazow:

"We have a small class which allows many opportunities for a lot of class discussion...She always provides feedback and answers to our journal entries and is always available when we need help." 

Congratulations to them both!

This summer two undergraduate anthropology students at East Carolina University, Tyler Beasley and Anna Lawrence, worked as interns for the Hyde County Office of Planning and Economic Development through the State Employees' Credit Union Foundation public service internship program. Both interns worked on research projects aimed at improving economic development by better understanding the needs of the local business community.


Marina Clough, also an undergraduate anthropology student at East Carolina University, completed an internship at Wanchese Industrial Park and provided an overview of webpages and print media that write or advertise about sailing related events, helped plan the Regatta of Sail NC and conducted 40 interviews with participants.

Dr. Charles Ewen interviewed for the New York Times. Is it the Roanoke Island Colony? Read more to find out!