Earth and environmental science

Check out some of these Conversations in Human Evolution with earth and environmental scientists from all over the world, just by clicking on their photos.

Yoshi Maezumi

University of Amsterdam

Dr Yoshi Maezumi is a palaeoecologist currently working at the University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Yoshi is a Marie-Curie Fellow and National Geographic explorer, currently working on a project called: “FIRE: Fire Intensity in Rainforest Ecotones”. Her research involves applying interdisciplinary approaches and methodologies to advance our understanding of long-term natural and anthropogenic paleoecological variability in the Neotropics. Yoshi also writes a blog called “Her Science”, which documents her experiences, adventures, and inspirations as a woman in science.

Stephen Rucina

National Museums of Kenya

Dr Stephen Rucina is a senior research scientist at the National Museums of Kenya, Nairobi, Kenya. Stephen specialises in palynology and East African palaeoecology, leading the Palaeobotany and Palynology Section at the National Museums of Kenya. He completed his PhD at the University of Amsterdam, examining Late Quaternary palaeoenvironments of Mount. Kenya and the Amboseli Basin in southern Kenya. His research primarily concerns eastern African quaternary environmental and climate change, which often links to human evolutionary questions.

Chris Hunt

Liverpool John Moores University

Professor Chris Hunt is an earth scientist from Liverpool John Moores University, UK. His research interests primarily lie in Quaternary Science. He currently teaches primarily in geography, with a specific focus on past human-environment interactions. After completing his PhD at University College Aberystwyth, Chris has held many research positions, most recently at Royal Holloway University, the University of Huddersfield and Queen’s University Belfast before taking up his professorship in Liverpool. He is founding editor of Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports and an editorial board member of Journal of Archaeological Science.

Mark Maslin

University College London

Professor Mark Maslin is a Professor of Climatology at University College London, UK, and Director of The London NERC Doctoral Training Partnership. Mark is a leading scientist with particular expertise in the causes of past and future global climate change and its effects on the global carbon cycle, biodiversity, rainforests and human evolution. He has published over 165 papers in journals such as Science, Nature, Journal of Human Evolution and The Lancet, with a current citation count according to Google Scholar over 17,500 (H=64 and i10 index=160). He has written 10 books, over 60 popular articles and appears regularly on radio and television.  His books include the high successful ‘Climate Change: A Very Short Introduction’ (OUP, 2014 and 2021), ‘The Human Planet: How we created the Anthropocene’ co-authored with Simon Lewis (Penguin, 2018), and ‘The Cradle of Humanity’ (OUP, 2017 and 2019) which bring together the latest insights from hominin fossils, geology and palaeoclimatology to explore the evolution of our ultrasocial brains. He was included in Who’s Who for the first time in 2009 and was granted a Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Scholarship in 2011 for his work on human evolution.

Ravi Korisettar

Indian Council of Historical Research

Professor Ravi Korisettar is a Senior Academic Fellow of the Indian Council of Historical Research, New Delhi, India. He is a key contributor to Indian Palaeolithic archaeology, specialising in geoarchaeological methods and approaches to understanding the relationship between prehistoric humans and their environments. He has published seven books in India and two abroad and is a Section Editor for Current Science, India’s leading science fortnightly journal. Ravi has also held the position of Honorary Director of the Robert Bruce Foote Sanganakallu Archaeological Museum in Karnataka since it’s establishment in 2010.

Andy Herries

La Trobe University

Professor Andy Herries is Head of the Department of Archaeology and History at La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia. He is a field palaeoanthropologist, geochronologist and geoarchaeologist, running The Australian Archaeomagnetism Laboratory (TAAL). TAAL applies magnetic and geophysical methods to the study of archaeological sites and artefacts. He also directs two field projects in South Africa – The Drimolen Cave Palaeoanthropology and Geoarchaeology Field School, looking at the transition from Australopithecus to early Homo and Paranthropus, and the Amanzi Springs Archaeology Project, looking at the transition from the Acheulean to the Middle Stone Age.

Rick Potts

Smithsonian Human Origins Programme

Professor Rick Potts is the Director of the Human Origins Program at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Washington DC, USA. He joined the Smithsonian in 1985, and has since focused his research toward understanding how Earth’s environmental change affects early human adaptation. He formulated the well-received Variability Selection Hypothesis, proposing that hominin evolution responded to environmental instability, an idea that lead him to develop many international collaborations among scientists interested in the ecological aspects of human evolution. Rick also leads excavations at early human sites in the East African Rift Valley, including the famous handaxe site of Olorgesailie, Kenya, and Kanam near Lake Victoria, Kenya.  

Felix Riede

Aarhus University

Professor Felix Riede is a climate change archaeologist at Aarhus University, Denmark. His research concerns the shifting interactions between humans and the environment, exploring how environmental changes, especially extreme events like volcano eruptions, have impacted past human societies as well as how humans have impacted the environment. He also promotes environmental ethical engagement and Open science. At Aarhus University, Felix leads the Laboratory for Past Disaster Science, which focuses on cultural transmission and climatic resilience within prehistoric European populations, as well as an ERC funded project CLIOdynamic ARCHaeology (CLIO-ARCH), which is developing computational approaches to Final Palaeolithic/earliest Mesolithic archaeology and climate change.

Matthew Bennet

Bournemouth University

Dr Matthew Bennet, Professor of Environmental and Geographical Sciences at Bournemouth University. Originally trained in geography, Matthew’s research primarily investigates ancient footprints and the application of ecological models to hominin evolution research. He joined Bournemouth University in 2002, where he was Dean of Applied Sciences from 2007 to 2010 and Pro Vice Chancellor of Research and Internationalisation from 2010 to 2014. In 2015, he was awarded a major NERC Innovation Grant to translate his footprint research in to a practical tool for use by forensic scientists.

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