Zeresenay Alemseged, PhD

I am interested in human evolution in general, and specifically in the events surrounding the origin and diversification of early hominins in the Mio-Pliocene and how these processes were shaped by underlying environmental and ecological factors. The big questions my research seeks to explore concern the evolutionary history of the earliest human ancestors subsequent to the human-ape split about 7 million years ago. I attempt to discern phylogenetic relationships and patterns of species diversity among early hominins by deciphering their anatomical, behavioral, locomotor, and dietary adaptations. Yet, the paleobiology of these early hominins cannot be fully understood without comprehending the paleoenvironmental and paleoecological context within which these evolutionary processes took place. Hence the need to understand their biotic and abiotic environments by studying the associated fauna, which is another important aspect of my research. I am also interested in the evolutionary history of the non-human primates (cercopithecidae) that are often encountered in Plio-Pleistocene hominin sites.



To accomplish these goals I undertake the following:



Fieldwork: Discovery of hominin and nonhuman fossils by leading an international and multidisciplinary field project at Plio-Pleistocene sites;



Laboratory work: Preparation, curation, and analysis of original extant and fossil primates, including hominin remains, at various museums around the world;



Analytical work: Application of recent imaging and visualization techniques to investigate internal and external fossil anatomies;



Faunal study: Fossil faunal analysis to explore environmental and ecological factors affecting human and primate evolution.



Check out Zeray's Ted talk entitled "The Search for Humanity's Roots."

http://www.ted.com/talks/zeresenay_alemseged_looks_for_humanity_s_roots

University of Paris VI and National Museum of Natural History
Paris, France
PH.D - Paleoanthropology
1998

University of Montpellier II
Montpellier, France
M.SC - PALEONTOLOGY
1994

Cavilam de Vichy International School of Language
Vichy, France
DIP - FRENCH
1993

Addis Ababa University
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
B.SC - GEOLOGY
1990

Dietary trends in herbivores from the Shungura Formation, southwestern Ethiopia.
Negash EW, Alemseged Z, Bobe R, Grine F, Sponheimer M, Wynn JG. Dietary trends in herbivores from the Shungura Formation, southwestern Ethiopia. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2020 09 08; 117(36):21921-21927.
PMID: 32839326

Isotopic evidence for the timing of the dietary shift toward C4 foods in eastern African Paranthropus.
Wynn JG, Alemseged Z, Bobe R, Grine FE, Negash EW, Sponheimer M. Isotopic evidence for the timing of the dietary shift toward C4 foods in eastern African Paranthropus. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2020 09 08; 117(36):21978-21984.
PMID: 32839330

Fossils from Mille-Logya, Afar, Ethiopia, elucidate the link between Pliocene environmental changes and Homo origins.
Alemseged Z, Wynn JG, Geraads D, Reed D, Andrew Barr W, Bobe R, McPherron SP, Deino A, Alene M, J Sier M, Roman D, Mohan J. Fossils from Mille-Logya, Afar, Ethiopia, elucidate the link between Pliocene environmental changes and Homo origins. Nat Commun. 2020 05 19; 11(1):2480.
PMID: 32427848

Australopithecus afarensis endocasts suggest ape-like brain organization and prolonged brain growth.
Gunz P, Neubauer S, Falk D, Tafforeau P, Le Cabec A, Smith TM, Kimbel WH, Spoor F, Alemseged Z. Australopithecus afarensis endocasts suggest ape-like brain organization and prolonged brain growth. Sci Adv. 2020 04; 6(14):eaaz4729.
PMID: 32270044

Maxillary molar enamel thickness of Plio-Pleistocene hominins.
Lockey AL, Alemseged Z, Hublin JJ, Skinner MM. Maxillary molar enamel thickness of Plio-Pleistocene hominins. J Hum Evol. 2020 05; 142:102731.
PMID: 32199299

Statistical estimates of hominin origination and extinction dates: A case study examining the Australopithecus anamensis-afarensis lineage.
Du A, Rowan J, Wang SC, Wood BA, Alemseged Z. Statistical estimates of hominin origination and extinction dates: A case study examining the Australopithecus anamensis-afarensis lineage. J Hum Evol. 2020 01; 138:102688.
PMID: 31759257

Comparative morphology and ontogeny of the thoracolumbar transition in great apes, humans, and fossil hominins.
Nalley TK, Scott JE, Ward CV, Alemseged Z. Comparative morphology and ontogeny of the thoracolumbar transition in great apes, humans, and fossil hominins. J Hum Evol. 2019 09; 134:102632.
PMID: 31446973

Temporal evidence shows Australopithecus sediba is unlikely to be the ancestor of Homo.
Du A, Alemseged Z. Temporal evidence shows Australopithecus sediba is unlikely to be the ancestor of Homo. Sci Adv. 2019 05; 5(5):eaav9038.
PMID: 31086821

A missing piece of the Papio puzzle: Gorongosa baboon phenostructure and intrageneric relationships.
Martinez FI, Capelli C, Ferreira da Silva MJ, Aldeias V, Alemseged Z, Archer W, Bamford M, Biro D, Bobe R, Braun DR, Habermann JM, Lüdecke T, Madiquida H, Mathe J, Negash E, Paulo LM, Pinto M, Stalmans M, Tátá F, Carvalho S. A missing piece of the Papio puzzle: Gorongosa baboon phenostructure and intrageneric relationships. J Hum Evol. 2019 05; 130:1-20.
PMID: 31010537

Connecting palaeoscientists in eastern Africa and the wider world.
Alemseged Z, Njau J, Pobiner B, Ndiema E. Connecting palaeoscientists in eastern Africa and the wider world. Nat Ecol Evol. 2019 03; 3(3):330-331.
PMID: 30718855

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Donald N. Pritzker Professorship
THE UNIVERSITY of CHICAGO
2018

EXPERT
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC SOCIETY
2014

FELLOW
AMERICAN ASSOCIATION for the ADVANCEMENT of SCIENCE
2013

fellow
California Academy of Sciences
2011

Emerging Explorer
National Geographic Society
2004

Full Scholarship
Centre National des Oeuvres Universitaires
1993 - 1998