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Steven E. Churchill, Professor

Steven E. Churchill

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).

Contact Info:
Office Location:  Duke University, Evolutionary Anthropology, 130 Science Drive, Room 108, Durham,
Office Phone:  (919) 660-7314
Email Address: send me a message
Web Page:  http://www.baa.duke.edu/FacPages/churchil.html

Teaching (Spring 2016):

  • EVANTH 230.01, BODIES OF EVIDENCE Synopsis
    Bio Sci 111, WF 01:25 PM-02:40 PM
Teaching (Fall 2016):

  • EVANTH 101.01, INTRO EVOLUTIONARY ANTHRO Synopsis
    Bio Sci 111, TuTh 11:45 AM-01:00 PM
  • EVANTH 101D.001, INTRO TO EVOLUTIONARY ANTHRO Synopsis
    Bio Sci 111, TuTh 11:45 AM-01:00 PM
  • EVANTH 101D.01D, INTRO TO EVOLUTIONARY ANTHRO Synopsis
    Bio Sci 013, M 10:05 AM-11:20 AM
  • EVANTH 101D.02D, INTRO TO EVOLUTIONARY ANTHRO Synopsis
    Bio Sci 013, M 11:45 AM-01:00 PM
  • EVANTH 101D.03D, INTRO TO EVOLUTIONARY ANTHRO Synopsis
    Bio Sci 013, M 01:25 PM-02:40 PM
  • EVANTH 101D.04D, INTRO TO EVOLUTIONARY ANTHRO Synopsis
    Bio Sci 013, M 03:05 PM-04:20 PM
  • EVANTH 101D.05D, INTRO TO EVOLUTIONARY ANTHRO Synopsis
    Bio Sci 013, M 04:40 PM-05:55 PM
  • EVANTH 101D.06D, INTRO TO EVOLUTIONARY ANTHRO Synopsis
    Bio Sci 013, Tu 10:05 AM-11:20 AM
  • EVANTH 257.01, HUNTERS AND GATHERERS Synopsis
    Bio Sci 113, TuTh 01:25 PM-02:40 PM
Education:

Ph.D.University of New Mexico1994
M.A.University of New Mexico1989
B.S.Virginia Polytech Institute and State University1981
Specialties:

Paleontology
Research Interests: Human Paleontology; Functional Morphology of Postcranial Skeleton

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).

Areas of Interest:

Human Paleontology; Functional Morphology of Postcranial Skeleton

Keywords:

African Continental Ancestry Group • Algorithms • Animals • Anthropology, Physical • Anthropometry • Arm Bones • Behavior • Biological Evolution • Bones of Upper Extremity • Cadaver • Clavicle • Cluster Analysis • Diaphyses • Electromyography • Electrophysiology • Emigration and Immigration • Ethnic Groups • Europe • European Continental Ancestry Group • Female • Forearm • Forensic Anthropology • Fossils • Genetics, Population • Germany • Goats • Hand • History, Ancient • Hominidae • Human Paleontology; Functional Morphology of Postcranial Skeleton • Humans • Humerus • Iraq • Locomotion • Male • Middle East • Models, Anatomic • Models, Biological • Muscle, Skeletal • Nose • Paleoanthropology • Paleontology • Principal Component Analysis • Pulmonary Ventilation • Ribs • Scapula • South Africa • Species Specificity • Swine • Turbinates • Upper Extremity • Weapons

Curriculum Vitae
Current Ph.D. Students   (Former Students)

Postdocs Mentored

  • Jill Rhodes (2004 - 2007)  
Representative Publications   (More Publications)   (search)

  1. JA Rhodes and SE Churchill, Throwing in the Middle and Upper Paleolithic: inferences from an analysis of humeral retroversion, Journal of Human Evolution, vol. 56 no. 1 (2009), pp. 1-10, ISSN 0047-2484 [doi]  [abs]
  2. Churchill, S.E., Bioenergetic perspectives on Neandertal thermoregulatory and activity budgets, in Neanderthals Revisited: New Approaches and Perspectives, edited by K. Harvati and T. Harrison (2006), pp. 113-133, New York: Springer
  3. SE Churchill and JA Rhodes, How strong were the Neandertals? Leverage and muscularity at the shoulder and elbow in mousterian foragers, Periodicum Biologorum, vol. 108 no. 4 (2006), pp. 457-470, ISSN 0031-5362  [abs]
  4. D Schmitt, SE Churchill and WL Hylander, Experimental evidence concerning spear use in Neandertals and early modern humans, Journal of Archaeological Science, vol. 30 no. 1 (2003), pp. 103-114 [doi]  [abs]
  5. RG Franciscus and SE Churchill, The coastal skeleton of Shanidar 3 and a reappraisal of Neandertal thoracic morphology, Journal of Human Evolution, vol. 42 no. 3 (2002), pp. 303-356, ISSN 0047-2484 [doi]  [abs]
  6. SE Churchill, Cold adaptation, heterochrony, and Neandertals, Evolutionary Anthropology, vol. 7 no. 2 (1998), pp. 46-61  [abs]
  7. Churchill, S.E., A.H. Weaver and W.A. Niewoehner, Late Pleistocene human technological and subsistence behavior: Functional interpretations of upper limb morphology, in Reduction Processes ("ChaƮnes OpƩratoires") in the European Mousterian, Quaternaria Nova 6, edited by A. Bietti and S. Grimaldi ((1996)), pp. 18-51
  8. Churchill, S.E., Weapon technology, prey size selection and hunting methods in modern hunter-gatherers: implications for hunting in the Palaeolithic and Mesolithic, in Hunting and Animal Exploitation in the Later Palaeolithic and Mesolithic of Eurasia, Archeological Papers of the American Anthropological Association, edited by In G.L. Peterkin, H.M. Bricker and P.A. Mellars, vol. 4 (1993), pp. 11-24


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