Vertebrate Paleobiology

This research line focuses on the study of vertebrate species found in paleoanthropological or paleontological sites, which shared the landscape with our ancestors. Fossils of these animals, such as monkeys, carnivores, pigs, and elephants, are much more abundant in the fossil record than those of hominids, providing crucial information about the environment, climate changes, and landscape configuration. Furthermore, the evolutionary history of these different groups allows us to compare evolutionary changes that occurred synchronously with those in the human lineage.

In the Vertebrate Paleontology line, various methodologies are employed:

  • Classic studies of taxonomy and systematic.
  • 2D and 3D morphometric analyses using computerized axial microtomography (µCT scan).
  • Phylogenetic reconstructions.
  • Paleoecological inference methodologies, such as stable isotopes and dental microwear.
  • Big data analysis using different statistical techniques, including artificial intelligence or species distribution modelling.

 Additionally, researchers at CENIEH lead and/or are directly involved in fieldwork at various sites worldwide spanning different chronologies:

  • Lemudong'o and Lothagam in Kenya.
  • Tanzania International Paleoanthropology Research Project and Olduvai Vertebrate Paleontology Project in Tanzania.
  • Omo, Middle Awash, Woranso-Mille, and Ledi-Geraru in Ethiopia.
  • Various collections in South Africa, North Africa, and the Middle East.
  • And, of course, Atapuerca in Spain.
Last updated: 01/02/2024