Department of Human Evolution
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
Deutscher Platz 6
phone: +49 (341) 3550 - 350
fax: +49 (0341) 3550 - 399
The timing and geography of the emergence of our species and of associated behavioural changes are crucial for our understanding of human evolution. A number of fossils from Africa document the early stages of our species, and fossils from the Levant document the presumed first wave of migration out of Africa. The exact place and time of our species’ emergence remain obscure as large gaps in the fossil record and the chronological age of many key specimens make it difficult to interpret the evolutionary processes and population dynamics shaping the cranial diversity of modern humans.
We conduct field-work in multiple sites in Africa to understand the origin of Homo sapiens, as well as the emergence and spread of the Middle Stone Age (MSA) technology. Moreover, we study the evolutionary processes and population dynamics shaping the cranial diversity of modern humans using geometric morphometrics to compare cranial shape in a worldwide sample of hundreds of recent and fossil humans from Africa, Europe, and Asia.