Check out some of these Conversations in Human Evolution with palaeoanthropologists from all over the world, just by clicking on their photos.
Natural History Museum, London
Professor Chris Stringer is a physical anthropologist and the research leader of Human Origins at the Natural History Museum in London, UK. Chris is one of the leading proponents of the ‘Out of Africa’ or ‘Recent African Origins’ hypothesis, which is currently the most widely accepted model for the origin of our species. He has excavated at sites in Britain and abroad, and currently is co-director of the Pathways to Ancient Britain project. Chris has published extensively in academic journals, such as Nature and Science, and has written numerous books, such as ‘The Origin of Our Species’ and ‘Our Human Story’.
George Washington University
Professor Bernard Wood is a comparative anatomist and palaeoanthropologist at George Washington University (GWU), Washington DC, USA. Bernard originally trained in medicine at the University of London before moving into full time research and teaching. He also previously worked at the University of Liverpool and was appointed Dean of the Medical School before moving to the USA in 1997. As well as holding the position of Professor of Human Origins at GWU, he is an Adjunct Senior Scientist at the National Museum of Natural History of the Smithsonian Institution. His research focuses on hominin systematics, and in particular on ways to improve the reliability of hypotheses about the relationships among fossil hominins. He is also interested in improving the accessibility of information about the hominin fossil record.
DITSONG: National Museum of Natural History
Dr Mirriam Tawane is Curator of the Plio-Pleistocene collection at the DITSONG: National Museum of Natural History in South Africa. Mirriam was awarded her Bachelor of Science degree, Master of Science degree and PhD in Paleoanthropology all from the University of Witwatersrand, becoming the first black South African female to qualify as a palaeoanthropologist in 2012. She has been involved in many public engagement initiatives over the years, as she is passionate about her country’s heritage and public engagement in human evolution. She has participated in several community projects to teach the general public about the palaeosciences in South Africa, the majority of which are carried out in the language choice of the audience.
Professor Rainer Grün is a world-renowned geochronologist and Professor of Archaeochemistry at Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia. Rainer is the former Director of the Australian Research Centre for Human Evolution and is an acknowledged leader in the field of electron spin resonance (ESR) and uranium-series (U-series) dating. His work has contributed immensely to our understanding of the timing of human evolution, for example through the development of non-destructive dating methods and the discovery of new, surprisingly young, dates from Broken Hill skull from Zambia, which revealed that Africa and Eurasia were inhabited by a whole range of hominin species just a few hundred thousand years ago!
University of Oxford
Professor Susana Carvalho is a primatologist and palaeoanthropologist at the University of Oxford, UK. Susana is the head of Primate Models for Behavioural Evolution Lab at Oxford, and has directed the Paleo-Primate Project Gorongosa in Mozambique since 2015, leading an interdisciplinary team to carry out an unprecedented approach to understanding human origins and adaptations. She was also one of the main founders of the field of primate archaeology, studying the stone-tool use of non-human primates to understand the origins of cultural behaviour.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Dr Isabelle Winder is an evolutionary anthropologist and Senior Lecturer in Zoology at Bangor University, UK. Her research covers a wide range of topics, from primatology, comparative anatomy, primate responses to climate change and, of course, human evolution! Isabelle currently holds a lectureship in Zoology at Bangor University where she teaches a number of specialist modules, including a field course in Uganda. She has also worked at the Palaeo Centre at the University of York and is an Honourary Research Associate in the Department of Musculoskeletal Biology & Institute for Ageing and Chronic Disease at the University of Liverpool.
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.
University of Witswatersrand
Dr Bernhard Zipfel has held the position of Curator of the Fossil and Rock collections housed at the Evolutionary Studies Institute, University of the Witwatersrand, since 2007. Bernhard is primarily interest in the the origins of hominin bipedalism and the biomechanics and evolution of the human foot, having originally trained and practised in clinical podiatry. He was formerly the Head of the Department of Podiatry at the University of Johannesburg (1990-2006), completing his PhD in paleoanthropology at the University of Witwatersrand in 2004. He has published a number of papers on South African hominin discoveries, as well numerous articles on human foot evolution.
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.