The University of Chicago Header Logo

Zeray Alemseged

InstitutionUniversity of Chicago
DepartmentOrganismal Biology and Anatomy
AddressChicago IL 60637
vCardDownload vCard

    Collapse Overview 
    Collapse overview
    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."
    Collapse webpage

    Collapse Biography 
    Collapse education and training
    Addis Ababa University, Addis Ababa, EthiopiaB.SC07/1990GEOLOGY
    Cavilam de Vichy International School of Language, Vichy, FranceDIP08/1993FRENCH
    University of Montpellier II, Montpellier, FranceM.SC09/1994PALEONTOLOGY
    University of Paris VI and National Museum of Natural History, Paris, FrancePH.D06/1998Paleoanthropology
    Collapse awards and honors
    2018Donald N. Pritzker Professorship, THE UNIVERSITY of CHICAGO
    2011fellow, California Academy of Sciences
    2004Emerging Explorer, National Geographic Society
    1993 - 1998Full Scholarship, Centre National des Oeuvres Universitaires

    Collapse Bibliographic 
    Collapse selected publications
    Publications listed below are automatically derived from MEDLINE/PubMed and other sources, which might result in incorrect or missing publications. Faculty can login to make corrections and additions.
    Newest   |   Oldest   |   Most Cited   |   Most Discussed   |   Timeline   |   Field Summary   |   Plain Text
    PMC Citations indicate the number of times the publication was cited by articles in PubMed Central, and the Altmetric score represents citations in news articles and social media. (Note that publications are often cited in additional ways that are not shown here.) Fields are based on how the National Library of Medicine (NLM) classifies the publication's journal and might not represent the specific topic of the publication. Translation tags are based on the publication type and the MeSH terms NLM assigns to the publication. Some publications (especially newer ones and publications not in PubMed) might not yet be assigned Field or Translation tags.) Click a Field or Translation tag to filter the publications.
    1. Alemseged Z. Reappraising the palaeobiology of Australopithecus. Nature. 2023 05; 617(7959):45-54. PMID: 37138108.
      Citations:    Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimals
    2. Smith AL, Robinson C, Taylor AB, Panagiotopoulou O, Davis J, Ward CV, Kimbel WH, Alemseged Z, Ross CF. Comparative biomechanics of the Pan and Macaca mandibles during mastication: finite element modelling of loading, deformation and strain regimes. Interface Focus. 2021 Oct 06; 11(5):20210031. PMID: 34938438; PMCID: PMC8361577.
      Citations: 5     
    3. Du A, Rowan J, Wang SC, Wood BA, Alemseged Z. On fossil recovery potential in the Australopithecus anamensis-Australopithecus afarensis lineage: A reply to. J Hum Evol. 2021 08; 157:103025. PMID: 34139622.
      Citations:    Fields:    Translation:Animals
    4. Davies TW, Alemseged Z, Gidna A, Hublin JJ, Kimbel WH, Kullmer O, Spoor F, Skinner MM, Zanolli C. Accessory cusp expression at the enamel-dentine junction of hominin mandibular molars. PeerJ. 2021; 9:e11415. PMID: 34055484; PMCID: PMC8141287.
      Citations: 3     Fields:    
    5. Wynn JG, Alemseged Z, Grine FE, Negash EW, Sponheimer M, Bobe R. 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; PMCID: PMC7486737.
      Citations: 7     Fields:    Translation:Animals
    6. Negash EW, Alemseged Z, Grine F, Sponheimer M, Wynn JG, Bobe R. 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; PMCID: PMC7486712.
      Citations: 5     Fields:    Translation:Animals
    7. Alemseged Z, Wynn JG, Reed D, Andrew Barr W, McPherron SP, Deino A, Alene M, J Sier M, Roman D, Mohan J, Geraads D, Bobe R. 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; PMCID: PMC7237685.
      Citations: 1     Fields:    Translation:Animals
    8. 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; PMCID: PMC7112758.
      Citations: 17     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimals
    9. Alemseged Z, Hublin JJ, Skinner MM, Lockey AL. Maxillary molar enamel thickness of Plio-Pleistocene hominins. J Hum Evol. 2020 05; 142:102731. PMID: 32199299.
      Citations: 1     Fields:    Translation:Animals
    10. 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.
      Citations: 3     Fields:    Translation:Animals
    11. 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.
      Citations: 1     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimals
    12. 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; PMCID: PMC6506247.
      Citations: 3     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimals
    13. Capelli C, Aldeias V, Alemseged Z, Archer W, Bamford M, Biro D, Braun DR, Mathe J, Negash E, Stalmans M, Carvalho S, Martinez FI, Ferreira da Silva MJ, Bobe R, Habermann JM, Lüdecke T, Madiquida H, Paulo LM, Pinto M, Tátá F. A missing piece of the Papio puzzle: Gorongosa baboon phenostructure and intrageneric relationships. J Hum Evol. 2019 05; 130:1-20. PMID: 31010537.
      Citations: 4     Fields:    Translation:Animals
    14. 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.
      Citations: 1     Fields:    
    15. Du A, Alemseged Z. Diversity analysis of Plio-Pleistocene large mammal communities in the Omo-Turkana Basin, eastern Africa. J Hum Evol. 2018 11; 124:25-39. PMID: 30153945.
      Citations: 2     Fields:    Translation:Animals
    16. DeSilva JM, Gill CM, Prang TC, Bredella MA, Alemseged Z. A nearly complete foot from Dikika, Ethiopia and its implications for the ontogeny and function of Australopithecus afarensis. Sci Adv. 2018 07; 4(7):eaar7723. PMID: 29978043; PMCID: PMC6031372.
      Citations: 7     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimals
    17. Ward CV, Nalley TK, Spoor F, Tafforeau P, Alemseged Z. Thoracic vertebral count and thoracolumbar transition in Australopithecus afarensis. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2017 06 06; 114(23):6000-6004. PMID: 28533391; PMCID: PMC5468642.
      Citations: 5     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimals
    18. Wynn JG, Reed KE, Sponheimer M, Kimbel WH, Alemseged Z, Bedaso ZK, Campisano CJ. Dietary flexibility of Australopithecus afarensis in the face of paleoecological change during the middle Pliocene: Faunal evidence from Hadar, Ethiopia. J Hum Evol. 2016 10; 99:93-106. PMID: 27650582.
      Citations: 4     Fields:    Translation:Animals
    19. Young NM, Capellini TD, Roach NT, Alemseged Z. Reply to Almécija: A new direction for reconstructing our last common ancestor with chimpanzees. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2016 Feb 23; 113(8):E945. PMID: 26862164; PMCID: PMC4776488.
      Citations:    Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimals
    20. Young NM, Capellini TD, Roach NT, Alemseged Z. Reply to Melillo: Woranso-Mille is consistent with an australopithecine shoulder intermediate between African apes and Homo. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2015 Dec 29; 112(52):E7160. PMID: 26676585; PMCID: PMC4702962.
      Citations: 2     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimals
    21. Barr WA, Mcpherron SP, Geraads D, Wynn JG, Alemseged Z, Reed D, Bobe R. Digital data collection in paleoanthropology. Evol Anthropol. 2015 Nov-Dec; 24(6):238-49. PMID: 26662947.
      Citations: 5     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    22. Alemseged Z. Stable isotopes serving as a checkpoint. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2015 Oct 06; 112(40):12232-3. PMID: 26401018; PMCID: PMC4603446.
      Citations: 1     Fields:    Translation:Animals
    23. Young NM, Capellini TD, Roach NT, Alemseged Z. Fossil hominin shoulders support an African ape-like last common ancestor of humans and chimpanzees. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2015 Sep 22; 112(38):11829-34. PMID: 26351685; PMCID: PMC4586873.
      Citations: 16     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimals
    24. Negash EW, Alemseged Z, Wynn JG, Bedaso ZK. Paleodietary reconstruction using stable isotopes and abundance analysis of bovids from the Shungura Formation of South Omo, Ethiopia. J Hum Evol. 2015 Nov; 88:127-136. PMID: 26341031.
      Citations: 4     Fields:    Translation:Animals
    25. Thompson JC, McPherron SP, Barr WA, Wynn JG, Marean CW, Alemseged Z, Bobe R, Reed D, Geraads D. Taphonomy of fossils from the hominin-bearing deposits at Dikika, Ethiopia. J Hum Evol. 2015 Sep; 86:112-35. PMID: 26277305.
      Citations: 7     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimals
    26. Plummer TW, Ferraro JV, Louys J, Hertel F, Alemseged Z, Bishop LC, Bobe R. Bovid ecomorphology and hominin paleoenvironments of the Shungura Formation, lower Omo River Valley, Ethiopia. J Hum Evol. 2015 Nov; 88:108-126. PMID: 26208956.
      Citations: 3     Fields:    Translation:Animals
    27. Skinner MM, Alemseged Z, Gaunitz C, Hublin JJ. Enamel thickness trends in Plio-Pleistocene hominin mandibular molars. J Hum Evol. 2015 Aug; 85:35-45. PMID: 26024565.
      Citations: 12     Fields:    Translation:Animals
    28. Sponheimer M, Alemseged Z, Cerling TE, Grine FE, Kimbel WH, Leakey MG, Lee-Thorp JA, Manthi FK, Reed KE, Wood BA, Wynn JG. Reply to Fontes-Villalba et al.: On a reluctance to conjecture about animal food consumption. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013 Oct 22; 110(43):E4056. PMID: 24308036; PMCID: PMC3808636.
      Citations: 6     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimals
    29. Wynn JG, Sponheimer M, Kimbel WH, Alemseged Z, Reed K, Bedaso ZK, Wilson JN. Diet of Australopithecus afarensis from the Pliocene Hadar Formation, Ethiopia. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013 Jun 25; 110(26):10495-500. PMID: 23733965; PMCID: PMC3696813.
      Citations: 21     Fields:    Translation:Animals
    30. Bedaso ZK, Wynn JG, Alemseged Z, Geraads D. Dietary and paleoenvironmental reconstruction using stable isotopes of herbivore tooth enamel from middle Pliocene Dikika, Ethiopia: implication for Australopithecus afarensis habitat and food resources. J Hum Evol. 2013 Jan; 64(1):21-38. PMID: 23199576.
      Citations: 5     Fields:    Translation:Animals
    31. Green DJ, Alemseged Z. Australopithecus afarensis scapular ontogeny, function, and the role of climbing in human evolution. Science. 2012 Oct 26; 338(6106):514-7. PMID: 23112331.
      Citations: 19     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimals
    32. Alemseged Z, Kiura PW, Mbua E, Njau J, Pobiner B. A platform for East African paleoanthropology: third biannual conference of the EAAPP. Evol Anthropol. 2012 May; 21(3):89-91. PMID: 22900270.
      Citations:    Fields:    Translation:Humans
    33. McPherron SP, Alemseged Z, Marean C, Wynn JG, Geraads D, Reed D, Bobe R, Béarat H. Tool-marked bones from before the Oldowan change the paradigm. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 May 24; 108(21):E116; author reply E117. PMID: 21536920; PMCID: PMC3102392.
      Citations: 4     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimals
    34. McPherron SP, Alemseged Z, Marean CW, Wynn JG, Geraads D, Reed D, Bobe R, Béarat HA. Evidence for stone-tool-assisted consumption of animal tissues before 3.39 million years ago at Dikika, Ethiopia. Nature. 2010 Aug 12; 466(7308):857-60. PMID: 20703305.
      Citations: 85     Fields:    Translation:Animals
    35. Frost SR, Alemseged Z. Middle Pleistocene fossil Cercopithecidae from Asbole, Afar Region, Ethiopia. J Hum Evol. 2007 Sep; 53(3):227-59. PMID: 17658583.
      Citations: 3     Fields:    Translation:Animals
    36. Alemseged Z, Spoor F, Kimbel WH, Geraads D, Wynn JG, Bobe R, Reed D. A juvenile early hominin skeleton from Dikika, Ethiopia. Nature. 2006 Sep 21; 443(7109):296-301. PMID: 16988704.
      Citations: 45     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimals
    37. Wynn JG, Alemseged Z, Geraads D, Roman DC, Bobe R, Reed D. Geological and palaeontological context of a Pliocene juvenile hominin at Dikika, Ethiopia. Nature. 2006 Sep 21; 443(7109):332-6. PMID: 16988711.
      Citations: 5     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimals
    38. Alemseged Z, Wynn JG, Kimbel WH, Geraads D, Reed D, Bobe R. A new hominin from the Basal Member of the Hadar Formation, Dikika, Ethiopia, and its geological context. J Hum Evol. 2005 Oct; 49(4):499-514. PMID: 16026815.
      Citations: 3     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimals
    39. Alemseged Z. An integrated approach to taphonomy and faunal change in the Shungura formation (Ethiopia) and its implication for hominid evolution. J Hum Evol. 2003 Apr; 44(4):451-78. PMID: 12727463.
      Citations: 9     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimals
    40. Alemseged Z, Coppens Y, Geraads D. Hominid cranium from Omo: Description and taxonomy of Omo-323-1976-896. Am J Phys Anthropol. 2002 Feb; 117(2):103-12. PMID: 11815945.
      Citations: 2     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimals
    41. Geraads D, Alemseged Z. Theropithecus atlanticus (Thomas, 1884) (Primates: Cercopithecidae) from the late Pliocene of Ahl al Oughlam, Casablanca, Morocco. J Hum Evol. 1998 Jun; 34(6):609-21. PMID: 9650102.
      Citations: 1     Fields:    Translation:Animals
    Alemseged's Networks
    Click the
    buttons for more information and interactive visualizations!
    Concepts (95)
    Co-Authors (1)
    Similar People (60)
    Same Department Expand Description
    Physical Neighbors