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Department of Archaeology



2018 - present: PhD in Biological Anthropology, University of Cambridge

2017 - 2018: MPhil in Human Evolutionary Studies, University of Cambridge

2010 - 2016: BA in History and BSc in Zoology (with Honours), Australian National University



Primarily, my research focuses on understanding the evolutionary connections that link all living things - reconstructing the Tree of Life. I work on integrating different kinds of data, molecular and morphological, to reconstruct the evolutionary connections between both living and extinct species - so called combined-evidence phylogenetics. These combined-evidence trees offer unique insights into past evolutionary processes that help us answer some of the big questions  in evolutionary biology - why are there so many different types of animals, how do new types of animals evolve and why do some kinds of animals go extinct while others flourish?

Key Publications

Key publications: 

Yaxley, K.J. and Foley, R.A. 2019. Reconstructing the ancestral phenotypes of great apes and humans (Homininae) using subspecies-level phylogenies. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 128(4), 1021-1038,

Ritchie, A.M., Hua, X., Cardillo, M., Yaxley, K.J., Dinnage, R., Bromham, L. 2020. Phylogenetic diversity metrics for molecular phylogenies: modelling expected degree of error under realistic rate variation. Diversity and Distributions, 1-15,


Teaching and Supervisions

Research supervision: 

Supervisor: Prof Robert Foley

Other Professional Activities

Organiser - Cambridge Biological Anthropology Seminar Series

Job Titles

PhD student in Biological Anthropology

General Info

Not available for consultancy
Research Expertise / Fields of study: 
Human Population Genetics
Human Evolutionary and Behavioural Ecology
Human Evolution
Cultural Evolution

Contact Details

Kjy25 [at]


Biological Anthropology