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).
Churchill, SE, Walker, CS, and Schwartz, AM. "Home-range size in large-bodied carnivores as a model for predicting neandertal territory size." Evolutionary anthropology 25.3 (May 2016): 117-123. Full Text
Dirks, PHGM, Berger, LR, Roberts, EM, Kramers, JD, Hawks, J, Randolph-Quinney, PS, Elliott, M, Musiba, CM, Churchill, SE, de Ruiter, DJ, Schmid, P, Backwell, LR, Belyanin, GA, Boshoff, P, Hunter, KL, Feuerriegel, EM, Gurtov, A, Harrison, JDG, Hunter, R, Kruger, A, Morris, H, Makhubela, TV, Peixotto, B, and Tucker, S. "Geological and taphonomic context for the new hominin species Homo naledi from the Dinaledi Chamber, South Africa." eLife 4 (September 10, 2015). Full Text
Macias, ME, and Churchill, SE. "Functional Morphology of the Neandertal Scapular Glenoid Fossa." ANATOMICAL RECORD-ADVANCES IN INTEGRATIVE ANATOMY AND EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY 298.1 (January 2015): 168-179. Full Text
Ostrofsky, KR, and Churchill, SE. "Sex Determination by Discriminant Function Analysis of Lumbar Vertebrae." JOURNAL OF FORENSIC SCIENCES 60.1 (January 2015): 21-28. Full Text
Harcourt-Smith, WEH, Throckmorton, Z, Congdon, KA, Zipfel, B, Deane, AS, Drapeau, MSM, Churchill, SE, Berger, LR, and DeSilva, JM. "The foot of Homo naledi." Nature communications 6 (January 2015): 8432-. Full Text
Berger, LR, Hawks, J, de Ruiter, DJ, Churchill, SE, Schmid, P, Delezene, LK, Kivell, TL, Garvin, HM, Williams, SA, DeSilva, JM, Skinner, MM, Musiba, CM, Cameron, N, Holliday, TW, Harcourt-Smith, W, Ackermann, RR, Bastir, M, Bogin, B, Bolter, D, Brophy, J, Cofran, ZD, Congdon, KA, Deane, AS, Dembo, M, Drapeau, M, Elliott, MC, Feuerriegel, EM, Garcia-Martinez, D, Green, DJ, Gurtov, A, Irish, JD, Kruger, A, Laird, MF, Marchi, D, Meyer, MR, Nalla, S, Negash, EW, Orr, CM, Radovcic, D, and Schroeder, L et al. "Homo naledi, a new species of the genus Homo from the Dinaledi Chamber, South Africa." eLife 4 (January 2015). Full Text
Cieri, RL, Churchill, SE, Franciscus, RG, Tan, J, and Hare, B. "Craniofacial Feminization, Social Tolerance, and the Origins of Behavioral Modernity." Current Anthropology 55.4 (August 2014): 419-443. Full Text
Churchill, SE, Holliday, TW, Carlson, KJ, Jashashvili, T, Macias, ME, Mathews, S, Sparling, TL, Schmid, P, de Ruiter, DJ, and Berger, LR. "The upper limb of Australopithecus sediba." Science 340.6129 (April 12, 2013): 1233477-. Full Text
Schmid, P, Churchill, SE, Nalla, S, Weissen, E, Carlson, KJ, de Ruiter, DJ, and Berger, LR. "Mosaic Morphology in the Thorax of Australopithecus sediba." SCIENCE 340.6129 (April 12, 2013). Full Text
Brophy, JK, de Ruiter, DJ, Berger, LR, Churchill, SE, and Schmid, P. "Morphometric analyses of maxillary and mandibular first molars of Pleistocene hominins." March 2015.
Ostrofsky, KR, Williams, SA, Churchill, SE, Berger, LR, and Richmond, BG. "Australopith lumbar vertebral morphology: Insights from Australopithecus sediba." March 2014.
Reed, ND, Hakki, L, and Churchill, SE. "Pelvic sexual dimorphism in the hominin fossil record." March 2014.
Williams, SA, Churchill, SE, Ostrofsky, KR, Schmid, P, Frater, N, and Berger, LR. "The number of vertebrae in early hominins: insights from Australopithecus sediba." 2013.
Macias, ME, and Churchill, SE. "Functional morphology of the Neandertal scapular glenoid fossa." 2013.
Ostrofsky, KR, and Churchill, SE. "Sex determination by discriminant function analysis of lumbar vertebrae." 2013.
Reed, ND, and Churchill, SE. "Acetabulocristal buttressing in hominins." 2012.
Desilva, JM, Zipfel, B, Kidd, RS, Carlson, KJ, Churchill, SE, and Berger, LR. "The primitive aspects of the foot and ankle of Australopithecus sediba." 2012.
Yokley, TR, Froehle, AW, and Churchill, SE. "Decreased maintenance energy expenditure in modern human and the resultant demographic displacement of archaic humans." 2012.
Walker, CS, Mayer, E, and Churchill, SE. "Morphological correlates of human hip osteoarthritis." 2012.