Assistant Professor


  • Office Hours:

    Tuesday 2:00–3:30pm; Thursday 3:30–5:00pm
  • Role:

  • Position:

    • Assistant Professor
  • Concentration:

    • Biological Anthropology
  • Department:

    • Anthropology and Geography
  • Education:

    • 2017 - Ph.D. in Hominid Paleobiology, The George Washington University
    • 2013 - M.Phil. in Hominid Paleobiology, The George Washington University
    • 2009 - B.S. in Evolutionary Anthropology, Rutgers University
  • Curriculum Vitae:


I am a paleoanthropologist interested in the ecological context and spatiotemporal distribution of ancient hominins. I use quantitative methods to understand and account for the fossil record's propensity to distort ecological and evolutionary patterns.

Interests: paleoanthropology, human evolution, macroevolution, macroecology, paleoecology, taphonomy, mammals, eastern Africa, quantitative methods.

Current projects:

(1) Understanding how time-averaging alters the ecological information contained within fossil mammal assemblages. This is done in collaboration with Dr. Kay Behrensmeyer (Smithsonian) by analyzing her 50-year mammal skeletal dataset from Amboseli National Park, Kenya.

(2) Documenting large mammal diversity patterns through time and across space in the Omo-Turkana Basin, eastern Africa.

(3) Because the incompleteness of the fossil record ensures the spatial and temporal distribution of hominin species is underestimated, I use quantitative models to infer their "true" spatiotemporal distribution.



  • Du, A., Rowan, J., Wang, S.C., Wood, B.A., Alemseged, Z., 2021. On fossil recovery potential in the Australopithecus anamensisAustralopithecus afarensis lineage: A reply to Žliobaitė (2020). Journal of Human Evolution. 157, 103025.
  • Faith, J.T., Du, A., Behrensmeyer, A.K., Davies, B., Patterson, D.B., Rowan, J., Wood, B., 2021. Rethinking the ecological drivers of hominin evolution. Trends in Ecology and Evolution. 36, 797-807.
  • Fraser, D., Soul, L.C., Tóth, A.B., Balk, M.A., Eronon, J.T., Pineda-Munoz, S., Shupinski, A.B., Villaseñor, A., Barr, W.A., Behrensmeyer, A.K., Du, A., Faith, J.T., Gotelli, N.J., Graves, G.R., Jukar, A.M., Looy, C.V., Miller, J.H., Potts, R., Lyons, S.K., 2021. Investigating biotic interactions in deep time. Trends in Ecology and Evolution. 36, 61-75.
  • Pineda-Munoz, S., Jukar, A.M., Tóth, A.B., Fraser, D., Du, A., Barr, W.A., Amatangelo, K., Balk, M.A., Behrensmeyer, A.K., Bercovici, A., Blois, J., Davis, M., Eronen, J.T., Gotelli, N.J., Looy, C., Miller, J.H., Shupinkski, A.B., Soul, L.C., Villaseñor, A., Wing, S., Lyons, S.K., 2021. Body mass-related changes in mammal community assembly patterns during the late Quaternary of North America. Ecography. 44, 56-66.


  • Du, A., Rowan, J., Wang, S.C., Wood, B.A., Alemseged, Z., 2020. Statistical estimates of hominin origination and extinction dates: a case study examining the Australopithecus anamensis-afarensis lineage. Journal of Human Evolution. 138, 102688.
  • Du, A., Wood, B., 2020. Brain size evolution in the hominin clade. In: Cole, J., McNabb, J., Grove, M., and Hosfield, R. (Eds.), Landscapes of Human Evolution: Contributions in honour of John Gowlett. Archaeopress, Oxford. 9-17.
  • Faith, J.T., Rowan, J., Du, A., 2020. Reply to Weihmann: Fifty gazelles do not equal an elephant, and other ecological misunderstandings. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 201920565.
  • Faith, J.T., Rowan, J., Du, A., Barr, W.A., 2020. The uncertain case for human-driven extinctions prior to Homo sapiens. Quaternary Research. 96, 88-104.


  • Beaudet, A., Du, A., Wood, B.A., 2019. Evolution of the modern human brain. In: Hofman, M.A. (Ed.), Evolution of the Human Brain: From Matter to Mind. 1-32.
  • Du, A., Alemseged, Z., 2019. Temporal evidence shows Australopithecus sediba is unlikely to be the ancestor of Homo. Science Advances. 5, eaav9038.
  • Du, A., Robinson, J.R. (co-first author), Rowan, J., Lazagabaster, I.A., Behrensmeyer, A.K., 2019. Stable carbon isotopes from paleosol carbonate and herbivore enamel document differing paleovegetation signals in the eastern African Plio-Pleistocene. Review of Palaeobotony and Palynology. 261, 41-52.
  • Faith, J.T., Du, A., Rowan, J., 2019. Addressing the effects of sampling on ecometric-based paleoenvironmental reconstructions. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology. 528, 175-185.
  • Faith, J.T., Rowan, J., Du, A., 2019. Early hominins evolved within non-analog ecosystems. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 116, 21478-21483.
  • Tóth, A.B., Lyons, S.K., Barr, W.A., Behrensmeyer, A.K., Blois, J.L., Bobe, R., Davis, M., Du, A., Eronen, J.T., Faith, J.T., Fraser, D., Gotelli, N.J., Graves, G.R., Jukar, A.M., Miller, J.H., Pineda-Munoz, S., Soul, L.C., Villaseñor, A., Alroy, J., 2019. Reorganization of surviving mammal communities after the end-Pleistocene megafaunal extinction. Science. 365, 1305-1308.


  • Du, A., Alemeseged, Z., 2018. Diversity analysis of Plio-Pleistocene large mammal communities in the Omo-Turkana Basin, eastern Africa. Journal of Human Evolution. 124, 25-39.
  • Du, A., Behrensmeyer, A.K., 2018. Spatial, temporal, and taxonomic scaling of richness in an eastern African large mammal community. Global Ecology and Biogeography. 27, 1031-1042.
  • Du, A., Zipkin, A.M., Hatala, K.G., Renner, E., Baker, J.L., Bianchi, S., Bernal, K.H., Wood, B.A., 2018. Pattern and process in hominin brain size evolution are scale-dependent. Proceedings of the Royal Society B. 285, 20172738.
  • Faith, J.T., Du, A., 2018. The measurement of taxonomic evenness in zooarchaeology. Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences. 10, 1419-1428.
  • Faith, J.T., Rowan, J., Du, A., Koch, P.L., 2018. Plio-Pleistocene decline of African megaherbivores: No evidence for ancient hominin impacts. Science. 362, 938-941.
  • Roach, N.T., Du, A., Hatala, K.G., Ostrofsky, K.R., Reeves, J.S., Braun, D.R., Harris, J.W.K., Behrensmeyer, A.K., Richmond, B.G., 2018. Pleistocene animal communities of a 1.5 million-year-old lake margin grassland and their relationship to Homo erectus paleoecology. Journal of Human Evolution. 122, 70-83.


  • Ashley, G.M., Ndiema, E., Spencer, J.Q.G., Harris, J.W.K., Kiura, P.W., Dibble, L., Du, A., Lordan, P.T., 2017. Paleoenvironmental reconstruction of Dongodien, Lake Turkana, Kenya and OSL dating of site occupation during Late Holocene climate change. African Archaeological Review. 34, 345-362.


  • Lyons, S.K., Amatangelo, K.L., Behrensmeyer, A.K., Bercovici, A., Blois, J.L., Davis, M., DiMichele, W.A., Du, A., Eronen, J.T., Tyler Faith, J., Graves, G.R., Jud, N., Labandeira, C., Looy, C.V., McGill, B., Miller, J.H., Patterson, D., Pineda-Munoz, S., Potts, R., Riddle, B., Terry, R., Tóth, A., Ulrich, W., Villaseñor, A., Wing, S., Anderson, H., Anderson, J., Waller, D., Gotelli, N.J., 2016. Holocene shifts in the assembly of plant and animal communities implicate human impacts. Nature. 529, 80–83.
  • Roach, N.T., Hatala, K.G., Ostrofsky, K.R., Villmoare, B., Reeves, J.S., Du, A., Braun, D.R., Harris, J.W.K., Behrensmeyer, A.K., Richmond, B.G., 2016. Pleistocene footprints show intensive use of lake margin habitats by Homo erectus groups. Scientific Reports. 6, 26374.


  • Blois, J.L., Gotelli, N.J., Behrensmeyer, A.K., Faith, J.T., Lyons, S.K., Williams, J.W., Amatangelo, K.L., Bercovici, A., Du, A., Eronen, J.T., Graves, G.R., Jud, N., Labandeira, C., Looy, C.V., McGill, B., Patterson, D., Potts, R., Riddle, B., Terry, R., Tóth, A., Villaseñor, A., Wing, S., 2014. A framework for evaluating the influence of climate, dispersal limitation, and biotic interactions using fossil pollen associations across the late Quaternary. Ecography. 37, 1095–1108.
  • Miller, J.H., Behrensmeyer, A.K., Du, A., Lyons, S.K., Patterson, D., Tóth, A., Villaseñor, A., Kanga, E., Reed, D., 2014. Ecological fidelity of functional traits based on species presence-absence in a modern mammalian bone assemblage (Amboseli, Kenya). Paleobiology. 40, 560–583.


  • Haslam, M., Hernandez-Aguilar, A., Ling, V., Carvalho, S., de la Torre, I., DeStefano, A., Du, A., Hardy, B., Harris, J., Marchant, L., Matsuzawa, T., McGrew, W., Mercader, J., Mora, R., Petraglia, M., Roche, H., Visalberghi, E., Warren, R., 2009. Primate archaeology. Nature. 460, 339–344.


  • Human Origins and Variation (undergraduate)

  • Human Evolution (undergraduate)

  • Contemporary Issues in Biological Anthropology (graduate)

  • Research Design & Analysis in Anthropology (graduate)