Sergio Almécija

Sergio Almécija

Assistant Professor of Anthropology
Faculty: Full-Time
SEH 6675
Address: 800 22nd St., NW
Lab: SEH 6750
Phone: 202-994-0330
[email protected]

Areas of Expertise

Hominid paleobiology; modeling morphological evolution in humans and apes; early hominins, fossil apes.

Dr. Sergio Almécija is a biological anthropologist who studies the key skeletal adaptations defining different stages of great ape and human evolution, as well as the original selective pressures responsible for specific evolutionary transitions, such as the split between the lineages leading to chimpanzees and humans. Extant apes and humans constitute a relict of a once highly diversified group. During the Miocene (23 Ma to 5.3 Ma) in Africa, Europe and Asia there was a greater diversity of apes that did not resemble or move around like any primates alive today. Thus, current debates in paleoanthropology focus on elucidating the functional morphology and shape affinities of these fossil forms. It is from some of these Miocene apes that both modern great apes and earliest hominins (earliest ancestors of the human family) evolved. Thus, only by studying the evolution of fossil apes in combination with available early hominins we will be able to provide realistic models of ape and human evolution and thus understand human origins. Dr. Almécija’s current projects include paleontological fieldwork, description of new great ape and hominin fossil materials, and broad comparative studies of key regions of the skeleton using state-of-the-art methods such as three-dimensional morphometrics and ancestral-state reconstructions.

To see Dr. Almécija's CV, click here.

Current Research

For the latest information on Dr. Almécija's research, visit the Hominid Paleobiology Laboratory page.


Ph.D. 2009, Institut Català de Paleontologia Miquel Crusafont at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and Universitat de Barcelona
M.A. 2007 with Advanced Studies Certificate, Institut Català de Paleontologia Miquel Crusafont at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and Universitat de Barcelona
B.S. 2005, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

Past Positions

Postdoctoral Fellow, American Museum of Natural History and NYCEP, 2010-2012


Hominid Paleobiology Laboratory
Google Scholar profile
Researchgate profile profile


Selected Journal Articles

A list of Dr. Almécija's recent publications can be found at his laboratory's page.

2017  Hammond, A.S., S. Almécija. “Lower ilium evolution in apes and humans,” Anatomical Record 300: 828-844. doi: 10.1002/ar.23545

2015  Domínguez-Rodrigo, M., T.R. Pickering, S. Almécija, J.L. Heaton, E. Baquedano, A. Mabulla, and D. Uribelarrea. "Earliest modern human-like hand bone from a new >1.84 million-year-old site at Olduvai in Tanzania," Nature Communications 6, article 7987. doi:10.1038/ncomms8987

2015  Almécija, S., J.B. Smaers, and W.L. Jungers. "The evolution of human and ape hand proportions," Nature Communications 6: 7717.

2015  Almécija, S., I.J. Wallace, S. Judex, D.M. Alba, and S. Moyà-Solà. Comment on "Human-like hand use in Australopithecus africanus," Science 348: 1101.

2013  Almécija S., M. Tallman, D.M. Alba, M. Pina, S. Moyà-Solà, and W.L. Jungers. "The femur of Orrorin tugenensis exhibits morphometric affinities with both Miocene apes and later hominins," Nature Communications 4: 2888.

2010  Almécija S., S. Moyà-Solà, and D.M. Alba. “Early origin for human-like precision grasping: A comparative study of pollical distal phalanges in fossil hominins,” PLoS ONE 5: e11727.

2009 Moyà-Solà S., D.M. Alba, S. Almécija, I. Casanovas-Vilar, M. Köhler, S. De Esteban-Trivigno, J.M. Robles, J. Galindo, and J. Fortuny J.  "A unique Middle Miocene European hominoid and the origins of the great ape and human clade," Proceedings of the National Acadeny of Sciences 106: 9601-9606.

2007  Almécija, S., D.M. Alba, S. Moyà-Solà, and M. Köhler. "Orang-like manual adaptations in the fossil hominoid Hispanopithecus laietanus: first steps towards great ape suspensory behaviors," Proceedings of the Royal Society B 274: 2375-2384.

Classes Taught

To see syllabi, click on the course title

Anth 3412: Hominin Evolution
Anth 6491: Topics: Primate Evolution
Anth 6491: Topics: Debates in Evolutionary Anthropology
Homp 6201: Hominid Paleobiology


Last updated July 19, 2017