Post-Doctoral Fellows


Dr. Alejandra Pascual-Garrido

I am a field-based primatologist interested in the evolution, maintenance and population-specific variation of plant-based material cultures among wild chimpanzees. While also observing chimpanzees directly, I use archaeological methods
to reconstruct past behaviour from localities where tools where previously employed – via markers on source plants, abandoned implements or tool use sites. My current project explores the archaeological signatures that chimpanzees
leave in the environment as a result of plant-based tool use. Such ‘archaeology of the perishable’ may allow us to make important inferences about early humans. Currently, our perception of the evolutionary trajectories of human
material culture is heavily skewed towards lithic technology – because stones are more durable, but also, because we know little about archaeological signatures that plant-based artefacts may leave in the environment.

Thomas Puschel

Dr. Thomas Püschel

I am an evolutionary anthropologist and vertebrate palaeobiologist interested in primate evolution and the use of numerical and computational techniques for investigating the interface between comparative anatomy, fossil behaviour,
biomechanics, and ecology. From November 2018 I will hold a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at the Primate Models for Behavioural Evolution Lab, which is part of the Institute of Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology. My research
is characterised by the application of predictive modelling, 3D morphometrics, virtual biomechanical techniques, computational simulations, phylogenetic comparative methods, and field research to reconstruct and compare the palaeobiology
of extinct animals to their living ecological relatives. My interest is not limited to examine how the morphology of an organism relates to its ecological role, but also to assess how different climatic and environmental conditions
influence its adaptation and evolution. My present research interest focuses on understanding the environmental context of early human evolution, as Climate Change is considered to be one of the main factors involved in human origins
and adaptation. My Leverhulme Project will take me to Gorongosa National Park, Mozambique, where I will be working together with the Paleo-Primate Project Gorongosa.


photo mielke

Dr. Alexander Mielke

My research concerns the evolution of cognitive abilities involved in primate cooperation and communication. I am now a Newton International Fellow, funded by the British Academy, at the University of Oxford, with my project entitled
‘Monkeying around: Complexity, cognition, and culture in chimpanzee play’. My previous research was focused on understanding the differences in the social systems of sooty mangabeys and Western chimpanzees in the Tai Forest in
Ivory Coast, with special focus on grooming as a way for primates to make friends and protect their friendships. I also conducted snake experiments with mangabeys to understand the mechanisms underlying cooperation in species with
large but coherent social groups. Afterwards, I developed statistical analyses tools based on network analysis for facial expression data in humans and nonhuman primates as part of the NetFACS project at the University of Portsmouth.



Twitter: @MielkeAlexander