Evolutionary Anthropology Faculty Database
Evolutionary Anthropology
Arts & Sciences
Duke University

 HOME > Arts & Sciences > BAA > Faculty    Search Help Login pdf version printable version 

Steven E. Churchill, Professor

Steven E. Churchill

Biocultural evolution in the genus Homo, especially adaptive evolution in subsistence organization in archaic and early modern humans; functional morphology and biomechanics of the upper limb; body form and climatic adaptation; interrelationships between hunter-gatherer foraging ecology, technology and subsistence effort; community ecology of hominins and carnivores. Geographical areas of interest include Europe, western Asia and southern Africa.

Contact Info:
Office Location:  04 Biological Sciences Building
Office Phone:  (919) 660-7314
Email Address: send me a message
Web Page:  http://www.baa.duke.edu/FacPages/churchil.html

Teaching (Fall 2015):

    Social Sciences 107, WF 11:45 AM-01:00 PM
    Bio Sci 113, WF 01:25 PM-02:40 PM

Ph.D.University of New Mexico1994
M.A.University of New Mexico1989
B.S.Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University1981

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


Human Paleontology; Functional Morphology of Postcranial Skeleton

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

Postdocs Mentored

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

  1. Rhodes, J.A. and S.E. Churchill, Throwing in the Middle and Upper Paleolithic: Inferences from an analysis of humeral retroversion, J. Hum. Evol., vol. 56 (2009), pp. 1-10
  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. Churchill, S.E. and J.A. Rhodes, How strong were the Neandertals? Leverage and muscularity at the shoulder and elbow in Mousterian foragers, Periodicum Biologorum, vol. 108 (2006), pp. 457-470
  4. Schmitt, D., S.E. Churchill and W.L. Hylander, Experimental evidence concerning spear use in Neandertals and early modern humans, J. Archaeol. Sci., vol. 30 (2003), pp. 103-114
  5. Franciscus, R.G. and S.E. Churchill, The costal skeleton of Shanidar 3 and a reappraisal of Neandertal thoracic morphology, J. Hum Evol, vol. 42 (2002), pp. 303-56
  6. Churchill, S.E., Cold adaptation, heterochrony and the Neandertals, Ev. Anthropol., vol. 7 (1998), pp. 46-61
  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

Duke University * Arts & Sciences * BAA * Faculty All * Postdoc Staff * Non-PHD Staff * Staff * Grads * Reload * Login