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Department of Archaeology



2017-2020 Post-doc Biological Anthropology, University of Cambridge, UK.

2017-2020 Postdoctoral Research Associate of Trinity Hall, Cambridge, UK

2017-2020 Co-chair, Cambridge Biotomography Centre, Cambridge, UK

2013-2017 PhD Biological Anthropology, University of Cambridge, UK

2011-2012 Msc Osteology and Palaeolithic Archaeology, Leiden University, the Netherlands

2007-2011 BA Archaeology, Physical Anthropology, Leiden University, the Netherlands


My research combines an interest in human variation and adaptation with digital methods in functional morphology. I take an interdisciplinary approach to (re)interpret the meaning of observed variation in living and dead individuals, populations, and hominin species. My central research focus is on the effects of biomechanical, environmental, and other biological factors on bone structure,

I use high resolution µCT imaging to study the three-dimensional trabecular bone structure of humans and apes. The aim of my work is to determine the effects of mechanical loading and other epigenetic factors on trabecular bone structure, in order to provide a novel way of inferring behaviour from fossil morphology.

I am presently involved in the following research projects:

From Oct 2017– To Oct 2020: The effects of mobility and physical activity on human postcranial skeletal variation.  (

From Jan 2018 – Oct 2020: The evolution of speech: insight from variation in laryngeal anatomy, with Dr Jacob Dunn.

From Oct 2017 - Oct 2020: After the Plague: Health and History in Medieval Cambridge. (


Key publications: 


[1] Sorrentino, R., Stephens, N.B., Carlson, K.J., Figus, C., Fiorenza, L., Frost, S, Harcourt-Smith, W., Parr, W., Saers, J.P.P., Turley, K, Wroe, S., Giovanna Belcastro, M., Ryan, T.M., Benazzi, S. (2020, Early view) The influence of mobility strategy on the modern human talus. American Journal of Physical Anthropology.
[2] Saers, J.P.P., Ryan, T.M., & Stock, J.T., 2019c. Baby steps towards linking calcaneal trabecular bone ontogeny and the development of bipedal human gait. Journal of Anatomy.
[3] Saers, J.P.P., Ryan, T.M. & Stock, J.T., 2019b. Trabecular bone structure scales allometrically in the foot of four human groups. Journal of Human Evolution. 135, 102654.
[4] Saers, J. P. P., Ryan, T. M. & Stock, J. T., 2019a. Trabecular bone functional adaptation and sexual dimorphism in the human foot. American Journal of Physical Anthropology. 168 (1), 154-169
[5] Doershuk, L.J., Saers, J.P.P., Shaw, C.N., Jashashvili, T., Carlson, K.J., Stock, J.T., Ryan, T.M. 2019. Complex variation of trabecular bone structure in the proximal humerus and femur of five modern human populations. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 168(1):104-118
[6] Saers, J.P.P., Hoogland, M.L.P., van Rijn, R.R., Schats, R., van der Merwe, L. Waters-Rist, A., 2017. Habitual activity in pre-industrial rural and urban Dutch populations: a study of lower limb cross-sectional geometry. Bioarchaeology International
[7] Saers, J. P. P., Cazorla-Bak, Y., Shaw, C. N., Stock, J. T. & Ryan, T. M., 2016. Trabecular bone structural variation throughout the human lower limb. Journal of Human Evolution. 97, 97–108.

Teaching and Supervisions


I am involved in the teaching of the following courses:

  • B1 Humans in Biological Perspective
  • B18 Decoding the Skeleton

Dissertation supervision:

  • 2018 - present:
    • (PhD) Bram Mulder
  • 2018/2019:
    • (MPhil) Rachel Palkovitz: Geometric Morphometrics of the Larynx Complex in Non-Human Primates.
    • (BA) Aisling Murray
  • 2017/2018:
    • (MPhil) Cao Nhut Minh Thuan: A Morphometric Analysis of Primate Hyoid Bones: Implications for The Evolution of Speech.
Research supervision: 

Principal Investigator: Dr Jay T Stock


Other Professional Activities

Job Titles

Research Associate, McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research
Postdoctoral Research Associate, Trinity Hall
Co-chair, Cambridge Biotomography Centre
Dr. Jaap Saers

General Info

Available for consultancy
Research Expertise / Fields of study: 
Human Evolution

Contact Details


Person keywords: 
Trabecular bone
Biological Anthropology
Science, Technology and Innovation
Human Evolutionary Studies