Sergio Almécija

Sergio Almécija

Assistant Research Professor of Anthropology
Faculty: Resource
[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, evolutionary morphologist and paleontologist based in the Division of Anthropology at the American Museum of Natural History. He studies the key 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 splits amongst the lineages leading to modern apes 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. Only by studying human evolution within the broader scope of ape evolution we will be able to provide realistic evolutionary models and thus understand human origins. Dr. Almécija’s current projects include paleontological and primatological fieldwork, description of new great ape and hominin fossil materials, and broad comparative studies of key regions of the body using state-of-the-art methods such as three-dimensional morphometrics and ancestral-state reconstructions.

Current Research

For the latest information on Dr. Almécija's research, visit his website.


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
Researchgate profile profile


Selected Journal Articles

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.