Thomas Plummer

(Ph.D. Yale University, 1991; Asst. Prof.) Pliocene and Pleistocene hominid paleoecology and behavior, hominid paleontology, human osteology; East Africa (

Dr. Plummer’s research focuses on reconstructing the behavior and ecology of extinct members of our biological family, the Hominidae. It includes a strong paleoecological component because paleoenvironmental information is integral to issues ranging from the origin of major morphological complexes (e.g. bipedalism), understanding adaptive shifts within and between hominid lineages (e.g. between hominids with gracile and robust chewing apparatuses) and elucidating the context of novel behaviors (e.g. the appearance of the first archeological sites at c. 2.5 million years ago). Moreover, habitat availability and usage are important variables when considering socioecological traits (e.g. group size, day range, dietary breadth, predator avoidance strategies) of interest to paleoanthropologists. Dr. PlummerÕs fieldwork focuses on investigating paleontological and archeological occurrences in late Pliocene and Pleistocene sediments on the Homa Peninsula, southwestern Kenya. He is also involved in investigating the paleoecology of a number of South and East African hominid localities, including Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania.

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