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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: 

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


Biological Anthropology