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).
Dissertation Research: Determinants of Form in the Pubis of Middle-to-Late Pleistocene Homo awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2001 to 2004
Cultures in Contact: The Italian-American Riparo Bombrini Project awarded by Josiah Charles Trent Memorial Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2001 to 2002
Churchill, S. E. Thin on the Ground: Neandertal Biology, Archeology and Ecology. 2014, pp. 1–453. Scopus, doi:10.1002/9781118590836. Full Text
Salem, P. E., and S. E. Churchill. “Penetration, tissue damage, and lethality of wood-versus lithic-tipped projectiles.” Vertebrate Paleobiology and Paleoanthropology, 2016, pp. 203–12. Scopus, doi:10.1007/978-94-017-7602-8_14. Full Text
Walker, C. S., and S. E. Churchill. “Territory size in Canis lupus: Implications for Neandertal mobility.” Reconstructing Mobility: Environmental, Behavioral, and Morphological Determinants, 2014, pp. 209–26. Scopus, doi:10.1007/978-1-4899-7460-0-12. Full Text
Churchill, S. E., and J. A. Rhodes. “The Evolution of the Human Capacity for “Killing at a Distance”: The Human Fossil Evidence for the Evolution of Projectile Weaponry.” Vertebrate Paleobiology and Paleoanthropology, 2009, pp. 201–10. Scopus, doi:10.1007/978-1-4020-9699-0_15. Full Text
Churchill, S. E. “Bioenergetic perspectives on Neanderthal thermoregulatory and activity budgets.” Vertebrate Paleobiology and Paleoanthropology, 2006, pp. 113–33. Scopus, doi:10.1007/978-1-4020-5121-0_7. Full Text
Yapuncich, Gabriel S., et al. “Predicting body mass of bonobos (Pan paniscus) with human-based morphometric equations.” American Journal of Primatology, vol. 82, no. 2, Feb. 2020, p. e23088. Epmc, doi:10.1002/ajp.23088. Full Text
Walker, Christopher S., et al. “Morphology of the Homo naledi femora from Lesedi.” American Journal of Physical Anthropology, vol. 170, no. 1, Sept. 2019, pp. 5–23. Epmc, doi:10.1002/ajpa.23877. Full Text
Di Vincenzo, F., et al. “Distinct among Neanderthals: The scapula of the skeleton from Altamura, Italy.” Quaternary Science Reviews, vol. 217, Aug. 2019, pp. 76–88. Scopus, doi:10.1016/j.quascirev.2018.11.023. Full Text
Friedl, Lukas, et al. “Femoral neck and shaft structure in Homo naledi from the Dinaledi Chamber (Rising Star System, South Africa).” Journal of Human Evolution, vol. 133, Aug. 2019, pp. 61–77. Epmc, doi:10.1016/j.jhevol.2019.06.002. Full Text
Brophy, J. K., et al. “A comparison of hominin teeth from Lincoln Cave, Sterkfontein L/63, and the Dinaledi Chamber, South Africa.” South African Journal of Science, vol. 115, no. 5–6, May 2019. Scopus, doi:10.17159/sajs.2019/5739. Full Text
Miller, Ian F., et al. “Speeding in the slow lane: Phylogenetic comparative analyses reveal that not all human life history traits are exceptional.” Journal of Human Evolution, vol. 130, May 2019, pp. 36–44. Epmc, doi:10.1016/j.jhevol.2018.12.007. Full Text
Holt, B., et al. “The Middle-Upper Paleolithic transition in Northwest Italy: new evidence from Riparo Bombrini (Balzi Rossi, Liguria, Italy).” Quaternary International, vol. 508, Mar. 2019, pp. 142–52. Scopus, doi:10.1016/j.quaint.2018.11.032. Full Text
VanSickle, Caroline, et al. “Homo naledi pelvic remains from the Dinaledi Chamber, South Africa.” Journal of Human Evolution, vol. 125, Dec. 2018, pp. 122–36. Epmc, doi:10.1016/j.jhevol.2017.10.001. Full Text
Yapuncich, Gabriel S., et al. “Morphometric panel regression equations for predicting body mass in immature humans.” American Journal of Physical Anthropology, vol. 166, no. 1, May 2018, pp. 179–95. Epmc, doi:10.1002/ajpa.23422. Full Text Open Access Copy
Walker, Christopher S., et al. “Evaluating morphometric body mass prediction equations with a juvenile human test sample: accuracy and applicability to small-bodied hominins.” Journal of Human Evolution, vol. 115, Feb. 2018, pp. 65–77. Epmc, doi:10.1016/j.jhevol.2017.03.009. Full Text Open Access Copy
Williams, Scott A., et al. “Relative size and scaling of the lumbo-sacral joint in fossil hominins: Implications for function and phylogeny.” American Journal of Physical Anthropology, vol. 165, WILEY, 2018, pp. 301–301.
Friedl, Lukas, et al. “Femoral neck and shaft structure in Homo naledi.” American Journal of Physical Anthropology, vol. 165, WILEY, 2018, pp. 90–90.
Feuerriegel, Elen M., et al. “The upper limb of Homo naledi: New material from the Lesedi Chamber, Rising Star System, South Africa.” American Journal of Physical Anthropology, vol. 165, WILEY, 2018, pp. 84–84.
De Ruiter, Darryl J., et al. “New craniodental remains of the type specimen of Australopithecus sediba.” American Journal of Physical Anthropology, vol. 165, WILEY, 2018, pp. 65–66.
Walker, Christopher S., et al. “Accuracy of human-based morphometric equations for predicting bonobo body mass.” American Journal of Physical Anthropology, vol. 165, WILEY, 2018, pp. 292–292.
Cook, Rebecca W., et al. “A comparison of lateral iliac flare measurement methods and their correlation with lesser gluteal moment arms.” American Journal of Physical Anthropology, vol. 165, WILEY, 2018, pp. 53–53.
Green, David J., et al. “Three-dimensional morphology and comparative anatomy of the Australopithecus sediba scapula.” American Journal of Physical Anthropology, vol. 165, WILEY, 2018, pp. 105–105.
Churchill, Steven E. “The functional significance of iliac buttressing in the genus Homo.” American Journal of Physical Anthropology, vol. 162, WILEY, 2017, pp. 144–45.
Bastir, Markus, et al. “Geometric morphometrics of hominoid thoraces and its bearing for reconstructing the ribcage of H. naledi.” American Journal of Physical Anthropology, vol. 162, WILEY, 2017, pp. 111–12.
Kivell, Tracy L., et al. “Functional interpretation of the Homo naledi hand.” American Journal of Physical Anthropology, vol. 159, WILEY-BLACKWELL, 2016, pp. 192–192.