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Department of Archaeology



I am a paleoanthropologist working on Plio-Pleistocene hominin paleobiology with a particular interest in the evolutionary and adaptive contexts from which the genus Homo emerged. I started my research on the African fossil record within the frame of my PhD at the University of Toulouse (France) in 2012 that focused on the study of nonhominin primates that coexisted with hominins during the Plio-Pleistocene transition in Africa. During my postdoctoral contract at the University of Pretoria (South Africa) in 2016 funded by the Erasmus program AESOP+, I developed a particular interest in the hominin brain evolutionary history. Subsequently, I was granted funding from the Claude Leon Foundation and the Center of Excellence in Palaeosciences to study the fossil hominin assemblage from the site of Sterkfontein as a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa) from 2017 to 2020. I joined the University of Cambridge as a lecturer in 2020.


My research focuses on reconstructing the paleobiology and evolutionary history of early hominins. I explore evidence from the African fossil record (e.g., Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa) to help unravel the history of our own lineage and understand the emergence of some of the most critical human adaptations. Throughout my doctoral and postdoctoral experience in France and South Africa, I have been developing two main lines of research dealing with brain evolution and locomotor behaviour in Australopithecus, Paranthropus and early Homo. As a member of the Sterkfontein Research Team, I contribute to the description of iconic (e.g., Little Foot) and newly discovered fossil specimens from the paleontological sites of the “Cradle of Humankind” in South Africa. Within the frame of the research projects HoN (Human Origins in Namibia) and HOMME (Human Origins in Mozambique and Malawi Environments), I am involved in fieldwork in southern Africa (e.g., Namibia, Mozambique). 



Key publications: 

Beaudet A., Clarke R.J., Heaton J.L., Pickering T.R., Carlson K.J., Crompton R., Jashashvili T., Bruxelles L., Jakata K., Bam L., Van Hoorebeke L., Kuman K. & Stratford D. (2020) The atlas of StW 573 and the late emergence of human-like head mobility and brain metabolism. Scientific Reports 10: 4285. 

Urciuoli A., Zanolli C., Beaudet A., Dumoncel J., Moyà-Solà S. & Alba D. (2020) The evolution of the vestibular apparatus in apes and humans. eLife 9: e51261. 

Beaudet A. (2019) The inner ear of the Paranthropus specimen DNH 22 from Drimolen, South Africa. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 170: 439-446. 

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. Progress in Brain Research. Elsevier, Cambridge, pp. 219-250. 

Beaudet A., Clarke R.J., Bruxelles L., Carlson K.J., Crompton R., de Beer F., Dhaene J., Heaton J.L., Jakata K., Jashashvili T., Kuman K., McClymont J., Pickering T.R. & Stratford D. (2019) The bony labyrinth of StW 573 (“Little Foot”): implications for hominin evolution and paleobiology. Journal of Human Evolution 127: 67-80. 

Beaudet A., Clarke R.J., de Jager E., Bruxelles L., Carlson K.J., Crompton R., de Beer F., Dhaene J., Heaton J.L., Jakata K., Jashashvili T., Kuman K., McClymont J., Pickering T.R. & Stratford D. (2019) The endocast of StW 573 (“Little Foot”) and hominin brain evolution. Journal of Human Evolution 126: 112-123. 

Pereira-Pedro A.S., Beaudet A. & Bruner E. (2019) Parietal lobe variation in cercopithecid endocasts. American Journal of Primatology 81: e23025. 

de Jager E., Van Schoor A.N., Hoffman J.W., Oettlé A.C., Fonta C., Mescam M., Risser L. & Beaudet A. (2019) Sulcal pattern variation in extant human endocasts. Journal of Anatomy 235: 803-810. 

Bouchet F., Ribéron A., Heaton J.L., de Beer F., Jakata K., Tawane M., Tenailleau C., Zipfel B. & Beaudet A. (2019) The inner craniodental anatomy of the Papio specimen UW 88-886 from the Early Pleistocene site of Malapa, Gauteng, South Africa. Palaeontologia Africana 53: 192-206. 

Mataboge B., Beaudet A., Heaton J., Pickering T. & Stratford D.  (2019) Endostructural assessment of a hominin maxillary molar (StW 669) from Milner Hall, Sterkfontein, South Africa. South African Journal of Science 115: 1-4. 

Beaudet A. & Gilissen E. (2018) Fossil primate endocasts: perspectives from advanced imaging techniques. In: Bruner E., Ogihara N. & Tanabe H. (Eds.), Digital Endocasts: from skulls to brains. Springer, Nagoya, pp. 47-58. 

Beaudet A., Heaton J.L., L’Abbé E.N., Pickering T.R. & Stratford D. (2018) Hominin cranial fragments from Milner Hall, Sterkfontein, South Africa. South African Journal of Science 114: 1-6. 

Beaudet A., Carlson K.J., Clarke R.J., de Beer F., Dhaene J., Heaton J., Pickering T.R. & Stratford D. (2018) Cranial vault thickness variation and inner structural organization in the StW 578 hominin cranium from Jacovec Cavern, South Africa. Journal of Human Evolution 121: 204-220. 

Beaudet A., Dumoncel J., de Beer F., Durrleman S., Gilissen E., Oettlé A., Subsol G., Thackeray F. & Braga J. (2018) The endocranial shape of Australopithecus africanus: surface analysis of the endocasts of Sts 5 and Sts 60. Journal of Anatomy 232: 296-303. 

Beaudet A. (2017) The emergence of language in the hominin lineage: perspectives from fossil endocasts. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 11: 427. 

Beaudet A. & Bruner E. (2017) A frontal lobe surface analysis in three archaic African human fossils: OH 9, Buia, and Bodo. Comptes Rendus Palevol 16: 499-507. 

Fourvel J.B., Brink J., Beaudet A. & Pavia M. (2017) Some preliminary interpretations of the oldest faunal assemblage from Kromdraai B. In: Braga J. & Thackeray F.J. (Eds.), Kromdraai: a Birthplace of Paranthropus in the Cradle of Humankind, chapter 5. Sun MeDIA MeTRO, Johannesburg, pp. 71-104. 

Beaudet A., Dumoncel J., de Beer F., Duployer B., Durrleman S., Gilissen E., Hoffman J., Tenailleau C., Thackeray J.F. & Braga J. (2016) Morphoarchitectural variation in South African fossil cercopithecoid endocasts. Journal of Human Evolution 101: 65-78. 

Beaudet A., Dumoncel J., Thackeray J.F., Bruxelles L., Duployer B., Tenailleau C., Bam L., Hoffman J., de Beer F. & Braga J. (2016) Upper third molar internal structural organization and semicircular canal morphology in Plio-Pleistocene South African cercopithecoids. Journal of Human Evolution 95: 104-120. 

Beaudet A., Braga J., de Beer F., Schillinger B., Steininger C., Vodopivec V. & Zanolli C. (2016) Neutron microtomography-based virtual extraction and analysis of a cercopithecoid partial cranium (STS 1039) embedded in a breccia fragment from Sterkfontein Member 4 (South Africa). American Journal of Physical Anthropology 159: 737-745. 

Beaudet A., Zanolli C., Engda Redae B., Endalamaw M., Braga, J. & Macchiarelli R. (2015) A new cercopithecoid dentognathic specimen attributed to Theropithecus from the late Early Pleistocene (c. 1 Ma) deposits of Simbiro, at Melka Kunture, Ethiopian highlands. Comptes Rendus Palevol 14: 657-669. 

Other Professional Activities

Associate Editor (since 2018) in Journal of Human Evolution 

Job Titles

Lecturer in Human Origins

General Info

Takes PhD students
Not available for consultancy
Research Expertise / Fields of study: 
Human Evolution

Contact Details

aab88 [at]


Person keywords: 
paleoanthropology; early hominin paleobiology; brain evolution; Plio-Pleistocene; imaging techniques
Biological Anthropology
Human Evolutionary Studies
Geographical areas: 
Periods of interest: 
Other Prehistory