Evolutionary Anthropology


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Mother and infant chimp at Ngogo

This project provides insight into the structure of chimpanzee communities in Kibale National Park, home to the world's largest concentration of wild chimpanzees.


Dine sheepherder

In this project, we measure the relative contribution of environment and cultural history in explaining the behavioral variation of 172 Native American tribes at the time of European contact, across different categories of traits, including diet, technology, marriage practices and economic organization.  


At the heart of the project is the understanding of the composition of an ecosystem which appears poised at the tipping point of a major change based on what is known of terminal Miocene faunas elsewhere in the Old World. The Shuitangba fauna and environment provide an unusually clear and well-preserved picture of a distinctive regional ecosystem that contained long-established species alongside new arrivals.


Paleoanthropologists and earth scientists will collaborate to investigate the impacts of Earth system dynamics in our deep human past. This project will involve collecting paleoenvironmental records via drilling in East Africa and performing various analyses on the resulting sediment cores.


This research examines the coupled response of people and the environment in the Cape Floral region on the south coast of Africa to major fluctuations in global climate change during the time of the origins of the modern human lineage. 

Chimp family

This project involves the genetic analyses of the skeletons of 22 individual chimpanzees who died between 1966 and 1987. These chimpanzees were studied by primatologists, including Dr. Jane Goodall, prior to the common use of genetic testing.

Pinnacle Point on South African Coast

This project allows for climate modeling that produces “hind-casts” of the South African Cape climate during a glacial phase in the deep human past. The effort supports attempts at long-term climate forecasting by providing the background and paleo-models against which to test future projections. 

Volcanic erruption

In this project, researchers will apply a new dating method using volcanic ash to determine when a suite of uniquely human features first appeared in our evolutionary history and thus help us understand when, where and why our species evolved. 

Mother and baby lemurs

This project investigates the infectious disease exchange between human and nonhuman primates using two mycobacterial diseases – tuberculosis and leprosy – as case studies.

TB mycobacterium

The goal of this project is to analyze ancient DNA from skeletal samples dating before, during and after the “Age of Exploration” that show evidence of tubercular bone lesions and integrate these data with those of modern strains of tuberculosis to assess the evolutionary history of tuberculosis and its effects on human history.

Student researcher at Mossel Bay

The Mossel Bay Archaeology Project (MAP), led by Curtis W. Marean (ASU) and Peter Nilssen (Iziko South African Museums), is a long-term field study of the Middle Stone Age (MSA) in the Mossel Bay region.