Steven E. Churchill

Steven E. Churchill

Professor in the Department of Evolutionary Anthropology

External address: 
Duke University, Evolutionary Anthropology, 130 Science Drive, Room 108, Durham, NC 27708
Internal office address: 
Duke Box 90383, Durham, NC 27708-0383
Phone: 
(919) 660-7314

Overview

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).

Degrees & Credentials

  • Ph.D., University of New Mexico 1994

  • M.A., University of New Mexico 1989

  • B.S., Virginia Polytech Institute and State University 1981

Selected Grants

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

de Ruiter, DJ, Churchill, S, Hawks, J, and Berger, L. Late Australopiths and the Emergence of Homo. October 23, 2017. Full Text

Salem, PE, and Churchill, SE. "Penetration, tissue damage, and lethality of wood-versus lithic-tipped projectiles." Vertebrate Paleobiology and Paleoanthropology. January 1, 2016. 203-212. Full Text

Walker, CS, and Churchill, SE. "Territory size in Canis lupus: Implications for Neandertal mobility." Reconstructing Mobility: Environmental, Behavioral, and Morphological Determinants. April 1, 2014. 209-226. Full Text

de Ruiter, DJ, Churchill, SE, and Berger, LR. "Australopithecus sediba from Malapa, South Africa." Vertebrate Paleobiology and Paleoanthropology. January 1, 2013. 147-160. Full Text

Churchill, SE. "Bioenergetic perspectives on Neanderthal thermoregulatory and activity budgets." Vertebrate Paleobiology and Paleoanthropology. January 1, 2006. 113-133. Full Text

Yapuncich, GS, Churchill, SE, Cameron, N, and Walker, CS. "Morphometric panel regression equations for predicting body mass in immature humans." American Journal of Physical Anthropology 166.1 (May 2018): 179-195. Full Text

Walker, CS, Yapuncich, GS, Sridhar, S, Cameron, N, and Churchill, SE. "Evaluating morphometric body mass prediction equations with a juvenile human test sample: accuracy and applicability to small-bodied hominins." Journal of Human Evolution 115 (February 2018): 65-77. Full Text

VanSickle, C, Cofran, Z, García-Martínez, D, Williams, SA, Churchill, SE, Berger, LR, and Hawks, J. "Homo naledi pelvic remains from the Dinaledi Chamber, South Africa." Journal of human evolution (November 20, 2017). Full Text

Garvin, HM, Elliott, MC, Delezene, LK, Hawks, J, Churchill, SE, Berger, LR, and Holliday, TW. "Body size, brain size, and sexual dimorphism in Homo naledi from the Dinaledi Chamber." Journal of human evolution 111 (October 2017): 119-138. Full Text

Hawks, J, Elliott, M, Schmid, P, Churchill, SE, Ruiter, DJD, Roberts, EM, Hilbert-Wolf, H, Garvin, HM, Williams, SA, Delezene, LK, Feuerriegel, EM, Randolph-Quinney, P, Kivell, TL, Laird, MF, Tawane, G, DeSilva, JM, Bailey, SE, Brophy, JK, Meyer, MR, Skinner, MM, Tocheri, MW, VanSickle, C, Walker, CS, Campbell, TL, Kuhn, B, Kruger, A, Tucker, S, Gurtov, A, Hlophe, N, Hunter, R, Morris, H, Peixotto, B, Ramalepa, M, Rooyen, DV, Tsikoane, M, Boshoff, P, Dirks, PH, and Berger, LR. "New fossil remains of Homo naledi from the Lesedi Chamber, South Africa." Elife 6 (May 9, 2017). Full Text

Churchill, SE, and Vansickle, C. "Pelvic Morphology in Homo erectus and Early Homo." Anatomical record (Hoboken, N.J. : 2007) 300.5 (May 2017): 964-977. Full Text

Feuerriegel, EM, Green, DJ, Walker, CS, Schmid, P, Hawks, J, Berger, LR, and Churchill, SE. "The upper limb of Homo naledi." Journal of Human Evolution 104 (March 2017): 155-173. Full Text

Marchi, D, Walker, CS, Wei, P, Holliday, TW, Churchill, SE, Berger, LR, and DeSilva, JM. "The thigh and leg of Homo naledi." Journal of human evolution 104 (March 2017): 174-204. Full Text

Williams, SA, García-Martínez, D, Bastir, M, Meyer, MR, Nalla, S, Hawks, J, Schmid, P, Churchill, SE, and Berger, LR. "The vertebrae and ribs of Homo naledi." Journal of human evolution 104 (March 2017): 136-154. Full Text

Meyer, MR, Williams, SA, Schmid, P, Churchill, SE, and Berger, LR. "The cervical spine of Australopithecus sediba." Journal of human evolution 104 (March 2017): 32-49. Full Text

Pages

Williams, SA, Prang, TC, Grabowski, MW, Meyer, MR, Schmid, P, Churchill, SE, and Berger, LR. "Relative size and scaling of the lumbo-sacral joint in fossil hominins: Implications for function and phylogeny." 87th Annual Meeting of the American-Association-of-Physical-Anthropologists (AAPA). April 11, 2018 - April 14, 2018. Austin, TX.: WILEY, April 1, 2018.

Friedl, L, Claxton, AG, Walker, CS, Churchill, SE, Holliday, TW, Hawks, J, Berger, LR, Desilva, JM, and Marchi, D. "Femoral neck and shaft structure in Homo naledi." 87th Annual Meeting of the American-Association-of-Physical-Anthropologists (AAPA). April 11, 2018 - April 14, 2018. Austin, TX.: WILEY, April 1, 2018.

Feuerriegel, EM, Voisin, J-L, Churchill, SE, Hawks, J, and Berger, LR. "The upper limb of Homo naledi: New material from the Lesedi Chamber, Rising Star System, South Africa." 87th Annual Meeting of the American-Association-of-Physical-Anthropologists (AAPA). April 11, 2018 - April 14, 2018. Austin, TX.: WILEY, April 1, 2018.

De Ruiter, DJ, Brophy, JK, Van der Merwe, R, Smilg, JS, Churchill, SE, and Berger, LR. "New craniodental remains of the type specimen of Australopithecus sediba." 87th Annual Meeting of the American-Association-of-Physical-Anthropologists (AAPA). April 11, 2018 - April 14, 2018. Austin, TX.: WILEY, April 1, 2018.

Walker, CS, Yapuncich, GS, Bowie, A, Belais, R, and Churchill, SE. "Accuracy of human-based morphometric equations for predicting bonobo body mass." 87th Annual Meeting of the American-Association-of-Physical-Anthropologists (AAPA). April 11, 2018 - April 14, 2018. Austin, TX.: WILEY, April 1, 2018.

Cook, RW, Yapuncich, GS, Thompson, IJ, Walker, CS, and Churchill, SE. "A comparison of lateral iliac flare measurement methods and their correlation with lesser gluteal moment arms." 87th Annual Meeting of the American-Association-of-Physical-Anthropologists (AAPA). April 11, 2018 - April 14, 2018. Austin, TX.: WILEY, April 1, 2018.

Green, DJ, Churchill, SE, Macias, ME, Gunz, P, Carlson, KJ, Schmid, P, and Berger, LR. "Three-dimensional morphology and comparative anatomy of the Australopithecus sediba scapula." 87th Annual Meeting of the American-Association-of-Physical-Anthropologists (AAPA). April 11, 2018 - April 14, 2018. Austin, TX.: WILEY, April 1, 2018.

Churchill, SE. "The functional significance of iliac buttressing in the genus Homo." 86th Annual Meeting of the American-Association-of-Physical-Anthropologists (AAPA). April 19, 2017 - April 22, 2017. New Orleans, LA.: WILEY, April 1, 2017.

Bastir, M, Garcia-Martinez, D, Williams, SA, Meyer, MR, Nalla, S, Schmid, P, Barash, A, Oishi, M, Ogihara, N, Churchill, SE, Hawks, J, and Berger, LR. "Geometric morphometrics of hominoid thoraces and its bearing for reconstructing the ribcage of H. naledi." 86th Annual Meeting of the American-Association-of-Physical-Anthropologists (AAPA). April 19, 2017 - April 22, 2017. New Orleans, LA.: WILEY, April 1, 2017.

Elliott, MC, Dirks, PHGM, Berger, LR, Roberts, EM, Kramers, JD, Hawks, J, Randolph-Quinney, PS, 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, and Peixotto, B. "Geological and taphonomic context of excavations within the Rising Star cave system." March 2016.

Pages