Steven E. Churchill
Professor in the Department of Evolutionary Anthropology
I am a human paleontologist studying morphological and behavioral adaptation in archaic and modern humans of the Middle and Late Pleistocene. Through comparative functional-morphological analysis of human fossil remains, coupled with investigation of the archeological record of prehistoric human behavior, my students and I conduct research in the following inter-related areas:
1) The ecology, energetics and adaptive strategies of premodern members of the genus Homo (especially the Neandertals [Homo neanderthalensis] of Europe and western Asia and Middle Pleistocene archaic humans of Africa [variously attributed to H. heidelbergensis, H. rhodesiensis or H. helmei] ) and early members of our own species [H. sapiens] in Africa, the Near East and Europe.
2) The evolution of human subsistence strategies across the Middle and Late Pleistocene, with an emphasis on the nature of the hunting methods employed by various groups.
3) The evolution of subsistence technology, especially the origins of true long-range projectile weaponry.
4) The community ecology of humans and large-bodied carnivores in Pleistocene Europe and Africa.
In addition to this basic research, our team is also actively engaged in fieldwork in southern Africa, with the goal of improving our understanding of the morphology and behavior of Middle Stone Age-associated early modern humans and their immediate ancestors (African Middle Pleistocene archaic humans).
de Ruiter, DJ, DeWitt, TJ, Carlson, KB, Brophy, JK, Schroeder, L, Ackermann, RR, Churchill, SE, and Berger, LR. "Mandibular Remains Support Taxonomic Validity of Australopithecus sediba." SCIENCE 340.6129 (April 12, 2013). Full Text
DeSilva, JM, Holt, KG, Churchill, SE, Carlson, KJ, Walker, CS, Zipfel, B, and Berger, LR. "The Lower Limb and Mechanics of Walking in Australopithecus sediba." SCIENCE 340.6129 (April 12, 2013). Full Text
Vincenzo, FD, Churchill, SE, and Manzi, G. "The Vindija Neanderthal scapular glenoid fossa: Comparative shape analysis suggests evo-devo changes among Neanderthals." Journal of Human Evolution 62.2 (2012): 274-285. Full Text
Pickering, R, Dirks, PHGM, Jinnah, Z, de Ruiter, DJ, Churchill, SE, Herries, AIR, Woodhead, JD, Hellstrom, JC, and Berger, LR. "Australopithecus sediba at 1.977 Ma and Implications for the Origins of the Genus Homo." SCIENCE 333.6048 (September 9, 2011): 1421-1423. Full Text
de Ruiter, DJ, Churchill, SE, Brophy, JK, and Berger, LR. "Regional survey for Middle Stone Age deposits of the Virginia-Theunissen area of the Free State." Navorsinge van die Nasionale Museum Bloemfontein 27 (2011): 1-20. (Academic Article)
Kivell, TL, Kibii, JM, Churchill, SE, Schmid, P, and Berger, LR. "Australopithecus sediba hand demonstrates mosaic evolution of locomotor and manipulative abilities." Science 333.6048 (2011): 1411-1417. Full Text
Dirks, PHGM, Kibii, JM, Kuhn, BF, Steininger, C, Churchill, SE, Kramers, JD, Pickering, R, Farber, DL, Mériaux, A-S, Herries, AIR, King, GCP, and Berger, LR. "Geological setting and age of australopithecus sediba from southern africa." Science 328.5975 (2010): 205-208. Full Text
Hartstone-Rose, A, Werdelin, L, Ruiter, DJD, Berger, LR, and Churchill, SE. "The Plio-Pleistocene ancestor of wild dogs, Lycaon sekowei n. sp." Journal of Paleontology 84.2 (2010): 299-308. Full Text
Macias, ME, Wall, CE, and Churchill, SE. "Size and shape in the primate forelimb." 2012.
Kivell, TL, Kibii, JM, Churchill, SE, and Berger, LR. "Evolution of the hominin hand: old and new evidence from the Plio-Pleistocene." 2011.
De Ruiter, DJ, Carlson, K, Brophy, J, Carlson, KJ, Churchill, SE, Schmid, P, Kibii, JM, and Berger, LR. "Craniodental remains of Australopithecus sediba from Malapa, South Africa." 2011.
Walker, CS, and Churchill, SE. "Territory size in Canis lupus: implications for Neandertal mobility." 2011.
Hatala, KG, Churchill, SE, Ullinger, J, and Sheridan, SG. "Activity-related changes in the geometry, of the proximal femur: A study of two Near Eastern samples." 2010.
Brophy, JK, de Ruiter, DJ, Churchill, SE, and Berger, LR. "Accumulating agent and paleoenvironment of the hominin-bearing site of Plovers Lake, South Africa." 2006.
Miller, SF, Yokley, TR, Churchill, SE, Franciscus, RG, Hublin, JJ, and Eaves-Johnson, KL. "A new technique for reconstructing the vocal anatomy of fossil humans." 2003.
Berger, LR, Churchill, SE, and de Ruiter, DJ. "Plover's Lake: A hominin-bearing Middle Stone Age site in the Witwatersrand Area, South africa." 2003.
Yokley, TR, and Churchill, SE. "Archaic and modern human distal humeral morphology." 2002.