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Human Evolutionary Studies @ Cambridge

In the News

Echoes of Ancient War
In a paper published in Nature (21 January 2016) Marta Mirazón Lahr and colleagues report on a site in South West Turkana, Kenya, where skeletal remains of twenty-seven individuals were recovered. These are dated to 10,000 years ago, and many show clear evidence of having been killed violently. This site, Nataruk, provides evidence for inter-group conflict among hunter-gatherers, and so contributes to our understanding of the history of warfare, showing clearly that hunter-gatherers as well as food-producers enaged in organised and lethal conflict.
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The work was carried out as part of the ERC In-Africa Project http:\
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Upper Palaeolithic Genome 
A paper published in Science magazine on the 6th November reports on an ancient genome that reveals the genetic thread uniting Europeans across nearly 40,000 years. The study was led by Professor Eske Willerslev of the Centre for GeoGenetics of the University of Copenhagen, with contributions from researchers in multiple institutions, including four from the University of Cambridge - Professor Robert Foley and Dr Marta Mirazón Lahr from LCHES, Dr Philip Nigst from the Division of Archaeology and Dr Andrea Manica from the Department of Zoology.
The article made the headlines on both the University web site and on the BBC web site
For details of the paper please visit:
** For more news about LHES visit our Facebook page at

University of Cambridge NERC Doctoral Training Programme
2016 PhD Studentships in Human Evolution

•  Genomic insights into late Pleistocene African hunter-gatherers: ancient DNA from the hunter-fishers of Lake Turkana 10,000 years ago
•  Which bone for the harpoon? Exploring decision-making in complex hunter-gatherers using ancient protein
•  African biogeography, dispersals and human origins

Deadline for applications January 6th 2016   [more details]


Human Evolutionary Studies Discussion Group

"Major issues in human evolution" by Richard Leakey
Richard Leakey is one of the world’s most renowned palaeoanthropologists will discuss what he sees as the major achievement in the field, and what are the current challenges to our understanding of human evolution.

4.30 pm 24 October 2016
LCHES Seminar Room,
Leverhulme Centre for Human Evolutionary Studies,
Henry Wellcome Building,
Fitzwilliam Street,

If you wish to attend, please register at:

Human Evolutionary Studies Discussion Group (HESDG) is an informal discussion group to encourage inter-disciplinary perspectives on all aspects of human evolution; normally held at the LCHES Seminar Room.
All welcome!
Robert Foley & Marta Mirazon Lahr

Previous meetings:

  • 3rd December: Andrea Migliano, a discussion on 'Mortality rates and the evolution of human life histories'
  • 26th November: Andrea Manica, a discussion on 'The fate of European Hunter-Gatherers'
  • 19th November, Roberty Layton, a discussion on 'An Australian Perspective on Hunter-Gatherer Diversity'
  • 5th November: Michael Lamb, a discussion on 'Childhood in Hunter-Gatherer Societies'
  • 29th October: Marta Mirazon Lahr and Robert Foley will lead a discussion on 'Evolutionary aspects of hunter-gatherer demography'
  • 22nd October: Matt Davies, discussion on 'Diversity in the Archaeology of Africa's Holocene Foragers'
  • 15th October: Frank Marlowe, a discussion on 'Distribution and diversity of the world's foragers'
  • 8th October: Robert Foley, a discussion on 'Hunter-Gatherers in Evolutionary Perspective'
  • 28th May: Philip Nigst and Alex Wilshaw will be discussing the similarities (and differences) between the African Later Stone Age and the Eurasian Upper Palaeolithic, and relevance to modern human evolution
  • 21st May: Christopher Henshilwood will be discussing the archaeological evidence for human behaviour in South Africa
  • 14th May: Living hunter-gatherers, Frank Marlowe
  • 26th February: Geographical structure in prehistoric populations
  • 19th February: Mixing up archaic and modern, a discussion led by Dr. Andrea Mania (Department of Zoology)
  • 12th February: The evolution of language – what can we learn from neurobiology? [PDF]
  • 5th February: The timing of modern humans – quantifying traits
  • 29th January: The timing of modern humans – lineages versus traits
  • 22nd January: The timing of modern humans – archaeology, fossils, genetics?

Recent Events @ LCHES

The African Roots of Human Behaviour Symposium A day of talks on the African MSA and the evolution of modern humans to be held at the Leverhulme Centre for Human Evolutionary Studies, University of Cambridge, 15th May 2014.
For more information and to register please visit:

More News

A recent article on the IN-AFRICA Project - Beachcombing for early humans in Africa - has just been published on the Cambridge University website. Applying a multidisciplinary approach, Marta Mirazon Lahr, Robert Foley and their team are undertaking research in the Turkana and the Nakuru-Naivasha basins of the Rift Valley of Kenya, where they have made some spectacular finds on the ancient Turkana beaches that shed light on how modern humans lived in the region over a vast period of time - from c. 200,000 years ago until the last few millennia BC. The article sums up the first few months of the IN-AFRICA Project which is the continuation of several years of fieldwork in Turkana, as well as outlining those all important research questions the IN-AFRICA team will try and answer over the next four years.

"In the middle of an African desert, with no water to be found for miles, scattered shells, fishing harpoons, fossilised plants and stone tools reveal signs of life from the water's edge of another era. In 40°C heat, anthropologists Dr Marta Mirazón Lahr and Professor Robert Foley from Cambridge's Leverhulme Centre for Human Evolutionary Studies (LCHES) are painstakingly searching for clues to the origin and diversification of modern humans, from the artefacts they left behind to the remains of the people themselves."

To view the full web article click on, or the Horizons article on which it is based (PDF).

This is not the first time the project or the team has made headlines, an earlier article on LCHES is also available on the Cambridge University website!
To view the earlier web article click on

If you would like to get in touch, hear more about the project and the activities of the team out in Kenya contact us at !








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