I am a biological anthropologist and paleobiologist interested in the environmental and ecological context of mammalian evolution in Africa. The conceptual focus of my research is on the links between climatic changes and evolutionary processes: How do species respond in geological time to the dynamic nature of Earth’s climate? How can we best use the fossil record to infer past environmental changes? How can the study of past ecosystem dynamics inform current conservation issues and decisions? These questions are relevant not only for understanding the past but also to provide a baseline for our understanding of on-going and future environmental change. To explore these questions I focus on the analysis of fossil mammals that provide long-term records of ecological and evolutionary processes. I have been conducting fieldwork in eastern Africa for the past 25 years, first in the Afar of Ethiopia, then in the Omo-Turkana Basin of Ethiopia and Kenya, and now in Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique. I am currently studying the first fossil vertebrates from Gorongosa, which fill a major temporal and biogeographic gap in the African record. I am also applying paleontological methods to the analysis of modern vertebrate bone assemblages in Gorongosa with the aim of understanding on-going faunal and environmental changes in the region.
I obtained my PhD in biological anthropology at the University of Washington, and then held a postdoctoral research position at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History. I was an Assistant Professor at the State University of New York and the University of Georgia, and became an Associate Professor of Anthropology at the George Washington University and at the University of Chile. I am a Research Associate in the Primate Models for Behavioural Evolution Lab, Institute of Cognitive & Evolutionary Anthropology, University of Oxford.