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Steven Churchill

Duke University Evolutionary Anthropology

Steven Churchill is Professor of Evolutionary Anthropology at Duke University. He is 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, he and his students conduct research in the ecology, energetics and adaptive strategies of premodern members of the genus Homo and early members of our own species [H. sapiens] in Africa, the Near East and Europe; the evolution of human subsistence strategies across the Middle and Late Pleistocene; the evolution of subsistence technology, especially the origins of true long-range projectile weaponry; he community ecology of humans and large-bodied carnivores in Pleistocene Europe and Africa. In addition to this basic research, his 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 was part of the team that recently announced its findings of a new species of human relative, Homo naledi in a cave in Southern Africa.