Biological anthropology

Check out some of these Conversations in Human Evolution with biological anthropologists from all over the world, just by clicking on their photos.

Emma Pomeroy

University of Cambridge

Dr Emma Pomeroy is a biological anthropologist and osteoarchaeologist of the McDonald Institute of Archaeological Research, University of Cambridge. She currently holds a lectureship in Department of Archaeology in the Evolution of Health, Diet and Disease. Her research considers how both past and present variation in human health, growth and morphology is shaped by evolutionary processes and interactions with natural and social environments. Previously, Emma has also held a Junior Research Fellowship at Newnham College, Cambridge, as well as a Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowship at Liverpool John Moores University, where she lectured in Biological Anthropology.

Rebecca Ackermann

University of Cape Town

Professor Rebecca Ackermann is a biological anthropologist at the University of Cape Town (UCT). She was the founding Director of the Human Evolution Research Institute at UCT, and is currently Deputy Director. She is also Deputy Dean of Transformation in the Faculty of Science at UCT. Her research focusses on evolutionary process, and specifically how gene flow, drift and selection interact to produce skeletal diversity through time, with a focus on human evolution. Rebecca is also engaged in discourse and policy development around sexism, racism and transformation of the discipline more generally.

Simon Underdown

Oxford Brookes University

Dr Simon Underdown is Reader in Biological Anthropology at Oxford Brookes University, UK. His research primarily focuses on the co-evolution of humans and disease, specifically how patterns of past human-disease interactions can help reconstruct human evolutionary processes. He’s undertaken fieldwork across the world, including South America, the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa. He is a passionate science educator, holding the position of Chair of the Royal Anthropological Institute’s Education Committee and is a Chartered Science Teacher, alongside appearing on radio, TV and in newspapers to discuss human evolution. He is former Chair (and current committee member) of the Society for the Study of Human Biology, and a member of the QAA Anthropology subject bench-marking panel.

Hila May

Tel Aviv University

Dr Hila May is a physical anthropologist based at the Department of Anatomy, Sackler Faculty of Medicine and the Dan David Center, Tel Aviv University, Israel. She leads the Biohistory and Evolutionary Medicine Laboratory at Tel-Aviv University, which has two principal fields of interest: 1) the evolutionary trade-offs between different anatomical structures during an evolutionary process of adaptation, and their impacts on modern human health and 2) the reconstruction of the everyday lives of past population through their skeletal remains. She has appeared many times in the media discussing the significance of new discoveries, such as the jawbone from Misiliya Cave. She also has published in a number of high-impact academic journals, such as Nature, Science and Journal of Human Evolution.

Tanya Smith

Griffith University

Professor Tanya Smith, human evolutionary biologist at the Australian Research Centre for Human Evolution (ARCHE) and the Griffith Centre for Social and Cultural Research (GCSCR) at Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia. Following a PhD in Anthropological Sciences at Stony Brook University, Tanya has held fellowships at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, in addition to a professorship at Harvard University. Her research at ARCHE and GCSCR focuses on primate dental development and growth, using tooth microstructure to resolve taxonomic, phylogenetic and developmental questions about great apes and humans, as demonstrated by her recent popular book The Tales Teeth Tell.

Trish Biers

University of Cambridge

Dr Trish Biers is the Collections Manager of the Duckworth Laboratory in the Leverhulme Centre for Human Evolutionary Studies, Department of Archaeology, at the University of Cambridge, UK. As well as curating and managing the human remains collections housed in the Duckworth Laboratory, Trish teaches about treatment of the dead, ethics, and decolonisation for the Department of Archaeology and runs courses at the Institute for Continuing Education at Cambridge. Her research interests include the bioarchaeology of death and burial, paleopathology and diet, mortuary archaeology of the Americas, museum studies focusing on human remains, repatriation and indigenous visibility and more! Previously, she has held positions in osteology and outreach at the Repatriation Osteology Laboratory in the Smithsonian Institution, Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology in Cambridge, and San Diego Museum of Man in California. She currently serves as Museum representative on the Board of Trustees for the British Association for Biological Anthropology and Osteoarchaeology and cofounded MorsMortisMuseum – a website dedicated to the role of human remains in museums.

Danny Longman

Loughborough University

Dr Danny Longman is a Lecturer in Physiology at Loughborough University. Danny graduated from the University of Cambridge with a BA (Hons) in Natural Sciences, as well as a MPhil and PhD in Human Evolution. Before joining Loughborough University in 2019, he also held a position as a Post-Doctoral researcher at Cambridge. His research considers human adaptability and function in the context of human evolution, and has recently helped defined the sub-discipline of Human Athletic Palaeobiology. This involves using contemporary sports as a model to study evolutionary theory. Away from work, Danny is a keen sportsman, with a passion for ultra-endurance sport, exploration and travel.

Katerina Harvati

Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen

Professor Katerina Harvati is a palaeoanthropologist at the Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen, Germany. Katerina is the leader of the Palaeoanthropology group at the Senckenberg Centre for Human Evolution and Palaoenvrionment (SCHEP), whose research focusses on Neanderthal paleobiology and modern human origins; functional anatomy, adaptation and relationship of skeletal morphology to genetics and environment in primates and humans; growth and development in human and non-human primates; and human skeletal analysis. Katerina’s research has contributed hugely to the understanding of how morphological variability relates to population history and the environment, and her recent work on the fossil human remains from Apidima Cave, Southern Greece, may have pushed back the arrival of Homo sapiens in Europe by more than 150 thousand years.

Fiona Jordan

University of Bristol

Professor Fiona Jordan is an evolutionary and linguistic anthropologists from the Department of Anthropology and Archaeology at the University of Bristol, UK. Fiona’s research primarily seeks to understand the evolution of cultural diversity using data, methods and theory from a variety of disciplines, such as biology, psychology, anthropology, and linguistics. She is the leader of the excd (Evolution of Cross-Cultural Diversity) lab, based at the University of Bristol, which investigates how the staggering, yet not infinite, variety in human culture has evolved. Prior to her professorship, she has also worked at University College London in the Centre for the Evolution of Cultural Diversity and the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguists in the Netherlands.

Lauren Schroeder

University of Toronto

Dr Lauren Schroeder is an Assistant Professor in Biological Anthropology at the University of Toronto. She received her PhD in Palaeoanthropology from the University of Cape in 2015. Prior to forming the Schroeder Lab at the University of Toronto in 2017, Lauren joined the Department of Anthropology at the University of Buffalo as a Postdoctoral researcher in the Buffalo Human Evolutionary Morphology Lab. Her lab’s work focusses on evolutionary processes and variability in hominin morphological evolution through applying innovative quantitative methods and theory from evolutionary biology. Lauren also engages in decolonisation initiatives aimed to transform the field of biological anthropology.

Simon Greenhill

Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History

Dr Simon Greenhill is a Senior Scientist in the Department of Linguistic and Cultural Evolution at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Jena, and the ARC Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language at Australian National University. Simon’s research primarily focuses on the evolution of languages and linguistic diversity, and what this can tell about about human prehistory. His research mainly uses Bayesian phylogenetic methods and he has helped build a number of large-scale linguistic and cultural databases. He is also one of the editors of Language Dynamics and Change, and he is on the editorial board of the Journal of Language Evolution.

Habiba Chirchir

Marshall University

Dr Habiba Chirchir is an Assistant Professor of Biology at Marshall University. Habiba is interested in the relationship between skeletal anatomy and behaviour through the study of trabecular and cortical bone. Her work mainly focusses on comparative studies of fossil hominins, modern humans, primates and other mammals, involving data collection in museum laboratories. Prior to her position at Marshall University, Habiba worked at the Smithsonian Institution as a Peter Buck Postdoctoral Fellow, where she continues to be a Research Associate.

Shara Bailey

New York University

Professor Shara Bailey is a Professor and Associate Chair of the Department of Anthropology at New York University and Director of the Center for the Study of Human Origins. Shara is a biological anthropologist whose research focuses on using dental morphology to understand human evolution. She was awarded her undergraduate degree in Psychology and Anthropology from Temple University, and then went on to receive her masters and PhD degrees in Anthropology from Arizona State University. Following her PhD, Shara worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the Center for the Advanced Study of Human Paleobiology at The George Washington University, before moving to the The Max Planck Institute Department of Human Evolution in Germany as a Research Scientist. Shara joined the faculty at NYU in 2005.

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