Brian Richmond in the field in Kenya

Brian G. Richmond

Associate Professor of Anthropology
Bldg. BB (2114 G St.) 208
Phone: 202-994-0873

Areas of Expertise

Human and ape evolution, origin and evolution of human bipedalism; functional anatomy; trabecular bone structure; craniofacial biomechanics; finite element analysis.

For Dr. Richmond's complete CV, click here.


Dr. Richmond is a biological anthropologist whose research involves human paleontology and functional anatomy aimed at understanding the origin and evolution of human gait, feeding biomechanics, and manual dexterity. He is also Associate Editor of the American Journal of Physical Anthropology.

Current Research

Dr. Richmond has conducted paleontological fieldwork in Kenya, Ethiopia, and Turkey in sediments spanning the Oligocene to the Pleistocene, with an emphasis on great ape and human fossils. He has also done experimental laboratory studies on the locomotion of chimpanzees, gibbons, and several Old World monkey species, and finite element analysis work on skeletal architecture.

Ongoing Projects

Paleontological fieldwork in the early Pleistocene at Ileret, Kenya. New fossil discoveries form one of the foundations of human evolutionary research, and provide the raw data of the hominin fossil record and its environmental and behavioral context.

  • Trabecular bone functional morphology. Trabecular bone structure (the spongy bone matrix within joints) tracks habitual joint function, and therefore holds promise for resolving long-standing debates over the nature of locomotion in early hominins, including Australopithecus africanus, A. afarensis, and early Homo.

  • Finite element analysis of primate craniofacial biomechanics. As part of an NSF HOMINID-funded collaborative research project, we use finite element analysis in conjunction with experimental data to test hypotheses about how the face and skull are strained during biting and chewing, how craniofacial shape influences feeding biomechanics, and ultimately the biomechanical significance of hominin skull morphology.

Click here to read more about Dr. Richmond's research.


Ph.D. 1998, SUNY at Stony Brook
M.A. 1995, SUNY at Stony Brook
B.A. 1990, Rice University


A complete list of publications, and PDF copies, can be found here

Selected Articles and Book Chapters

2012  Richmond, B.G., and W.L. Jungers. "Hominin proximal femur morphology from the Tugen Hills to Flores." in S.C. Reynolds and A. Gallagher, eds., African Genesis: Perspectives on Hominin Revolution, p. 248-267. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

2011  Williams, E.M., A.D. Gordon, and B.G. Richmond. "Achieving efficiency and accuracy during Oldowan stone tool production," American Journal of Physical Anthropology Supplement 52: 312.

2010  Braun, D.R., J. Harris, N. Levin, J. McCoy, A. Herries, M. Bamford, L. Bishop, B. Richmond, and M. Kibunjia. "Early hominin diet included diverse terrestrial and aquatic animals 1.95 Ma in East Turkana, Kenya," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 107(24): 10771-10772.

2009  Bennett, M.R., J. Harris, B. Richmond, D. Braun, E. Mbua, P. Ikura, D. Olago, M. Kibunjia, C. Omuombo, A. Behrensmeyer, D. Huddart, and S. Gonzalez. "Early hominin foot morphology based on 1.5-million-year-old footprints from Ileret, Kenya," Science 323(5918): 1197-1201.

2008  Richmond, B.G., and W.L. Jungers. "Orrorin tugenensis Femoral morphology and the evolution of hominin bipedalism," Science 319: 1662-1665.

2007  Richmond, B.G. "Biomechanics of phalangeal curvature," Journal of Human Evolution 53: 678-690.

2007  Green, D., A. Gordon, and B.G. Richmond. "Limb-size proportions in Australopithecus afarensis and Australopithecus africanus," Journal of Human Evolution 52: 187-200.

2005  Richmond, B.G., B.W. Wright, I. Grosse, P.C. Dechow, C. Ross, M. Spencer, and D. Strait. "Finite element analysis in functional morphology," Anatomical Record 238A: 259-274.

2001  Richmond, B.G., D.R. Begun, and D.S. Strait. "The origin of human bipedalism: The knuckle-walking hypothesis revisited," Yearbook of Physical Anthropology 44: 70-105.

Classes Taught

To see syllabi, click on the course title.

Anth 1001 (old 001): Introduction to Biological Anthropology
Anth 1005 (005): Biological Bases of Human Behavior
Anth 3401 (141): Human Functional Anatomy
Anth 3402 (142): Human Evolutionary Anatomy
Anth 3412 (147): Hominin Evolution
Anth 6401 (241): Functional Anatomy
Anth 6413 (244): Analytical Methods in Human Evolutionary Studies
Homp 6201 (201): Hominid Paleobiology
Homp 8302 (302): Public Understanding of Science Internship


Last updated April 21, 2014