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Department of Archaeology



Juliën is a vertebrate palaeontologist and palaeoanthropologist with a broad background ranging from sedimentary geology and evolutionary biology to science-based archaeology (B.Sc. Earth Sciences and Geoarchaeology, VU University Amsterdam, 2013; M.Sc. Palaeozoology and Palaeolithic Archaeology, Leiden University, 2017). He recently completed his Ph.D. (2022) on the extinction of the largest ever ape, Gigantopithecus blacki, at Macquarie University (Sydney) in close collaboration with the Institute of Vertebrate Palaeontology and Palaeoanthropology (Beijing), and various museums and labs across Australia, China and Europe. Juliën was awarded multiple honours, grants and awards. These include the W. V. Scott Charitable Trust Fund 2020 for Wildlife and Conservation ($15,000), the Ruggles-Gates Scholarship 2020 in Bioanthropology by the Royal Anthropological Institute (£1,500) and multiple prizes in science communication at the 3-Minute Thesis Competition and Famelab Australia 2021. 


Juliën is interested in using "microscopes as time machines" to examine megafaunal extinctions, from dinosaurs to dodos. He has conducted field– and lab work across Europe, India, China and Australia. He is specifically interested in megafaunal responses to extinction events, their associated palaeoecology, dietary behaviour and taphonomic evidence of their skeletal remains. Juliën worked on e.g. dental micro- and macrowear through texture analyses, geometric-morphometrics and occlusal fingerprint analysis. He also has experience in microtaphonomy through scanning electron microscopy, sediment microstratigraphy, particle size analysis, geochemistry and mineralogy (x-ray diffraction), spectroscopy (x-ray fluorescence) and tomography (neutron computed tomography). Juliën worked on dating methods including luminescence dating and dendrochronology. Finally, his software skills include 3D-Modelling (Avizo, Maya, MountainsMap, Polyworks, GIS, Height Mapper); scientific illustrating (Photoshop, Illustrator; programming (R Studio, PAST, MatLab); and video editing (Final Cut Pro, Premiere Pro). Juliën is happy to collaborate on anything that fits his broad interests.

Key Publications

Key publications: 


Lubeek, J.K. & Westaway, K.E. (2020). Megabeasts under the microscope: a closer look at Quaternary extinctions in the Asia-Pacific. Quaternary International, 568, 1-19. doi: 10.1016/j.quaint.2020.08.015

Lubeek, J.K., Gully, G., Zhang, Y., Ciochon, R.L., Joannes-Boyau, R., Haberle, S., Morley, M.W., and Westaway, K.E. (2019). "King Kong's demise": Implications for diet and extinction of Gigantopithecus blacki from Pleistocene China based on Dental Microwear Texture Analysis. Oral presentation. 79th Annual Meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology, Brisbane, Australia.

Lubeek, J.K., Zhang, Y., Ciochon, R.L., Morley, M.W., Haberle, S., and Westaway, K.E. (2018). Determining the cause of Gigantopithecus blacki's demise using dental microwear, micromorphology and luminescence dating. Australasian Quaternary Association Biennial Conference, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia.

Lubeek, J.K., Zhang, Y., Ciochon, R.L., Joannes-Boyau, R., Haberle, S., Morley, M.W., Kullmer, O., and Westaway, K.E. (2018). The Fall of a Giant: determining the cause of Gigantopithecus' demise using dental microwear, micromorphology and luminescence dating. Poster presentation. GSA Earth Sciences Student Symposium 2018, University of Sydney, Sydney. doi: 10.13140/RG.2.2.27407.05281


Lubeek, J.K. (2017). Dental macrowear and mandibular morphology as proxies for mastication of Gigantopithecus blacki: how the 'King Kong' cousin of early Homo in Palaeolithic Southeast Asia chewed itself to extinction. Master Thesis, Leiden University. doi: 10.13140/RG.2.2.33715.66087 

Lubeek, J.K., Jansen, M.N., De Louw, P.G.B., Meijer, H.J.M., Hume, J.P., De Vos, J., Janoo, A.,  Claessens, L.P.A.M., Kluiving, S.J., and Rijsdijk, K.F. (2016). Reconstructing internal anatomy of the bone layer in the Mare aux Songes Dodo-Lagerstätte (Mauritius): 3D-Bone mapping using Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Poster presentation. Society of Vertebrate Paleontology 76th Annual Meeting, Salt Lake City. doi: 10.13140/RG.2.2.28682.49601

Rijsdijk, K.F..., Lubeek, J.K.,..., et al. (2016). A review of the dodo and its ecosystem: insights from a vertebrate concentration Lagerstätte in Mauritius. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 35 (6), 3-20.
doi: 10.1080/02724634.2015.1113803

Lubeek, J.K. and Jansma, E. (2013). Dendrochronological dating, provenance, context and metadata-implementation of the Martini Church (Groningen); DCCD project, The Netherlands. doi: 10.13140/RG.2.2.22818.30408

Lubeek, J.K. (2013). Depositional history of shellbed facies from a paleostorm event in the Upper Cretaceous Ariyalur Group, Cauvery Basin, SE India. Bachelor thesis, VU University, Amsterdam and Periyar University, Salem. doi: 10.13140/RG.2.2.36240.07680

Lubeek, J.K., Mateus, O., and Schulp, A.S. (2011). Theropod Dinosaur Embryos, Eggs and Pterosaur Footprints. Field report and flex-lecture. Earth Science Student Lecture Series, VU University, Amsterdam. doi: 10.13140/RG.2.2.23237.73441

Other Professional Activities

Juliën also works as scientific illustrator, science communicator and museum consultant. He has certified backgrounds in visual arts, acting, presenting and stand-up comedy (e.g. Le Pavegnon, School for Theatre and Television, Amsterdam, 2015; National Institute of Dramatic Arts, Sydney, 2021).  

Job Titles

Research Associate, McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research

General Info

Available for consultancy
Research Expertise / Fields of study: 
Human Evolutionary and Behavioural Ecology
Human Evolution
Environmental Archaeology, Geoarchaeology, and Landscape studies

Contact Details

jl2352 [a]
Henry Wellcome Building
Fitzwilliam Street


Person keywords: 
Megafaunal extinction
Micro-analytical techniques
Science, Technology and Innovation
Environment, Landscapes and Settlement
Geographical areas: 
East Asia
Oceania and the Pacific
South Asia
Southeast Asia
Periods of interest: 
Other Prehistory