W. Andrew Barr
Areas of Expertise
paleoecology, ecomorphology, paleoanthropology, statistical methods, academic computing
I am a paleoanthropologist interested in understanding the environmental context of early human evolution.
Global climate change is often framed as a major driver of human adaptation and evolution. However, despite much theorizing, we have surprisingly limited direct evidence of the impact of global climate on evolutionary events such as the origin of Homo and the split between the hominin and panin lineages. I conduct fieldwork and apply quantitative analytical methods in the lab aimed to fill these knowledge gaps.
Currently I am the director of a probable late Miocene field project in Laikipia, Kenya, which is unique because of its geographic position outside the Great Rift Valley. I also have an active fieldwork program at Koobi Fora and in Ethiopia (Mille-Logya Project). In the lab I use 3D scanning and principles of ecological functional morphology to understand the locomotor and dietary adaptations of the fauna I recover in the course of my fieldwork.
2018 - Reed, DN, Barr WA, Kappelman J. PaleoCore: an open-source platform for geospatial data integration in paleoanthropology. Anemone R, Conroy G (eds.), New Geospatial Approaches in Anthropology. University of New Mexico Press. Albuquerque, NM.
2017 - Barr WA. Signal or noise? A null model method for testing hypotheses about pulsed faunal turnover. Paleobiology. Online Early View. doi:10.1017/pab.2017.21
2017 - Barr WA. Bovid locomotor functional trait distributions reflect land cover and annual precipitation in sub-Saharan Africa. Evolutionary Ecology Research. 18:253-269.
2015 - Barr WA. Paleoenvironments of the Shungura Formation (Plio-Pleistocene: Ethiopia) based on ecomorphology of the bovid astragalus. Journal of Human Evolution. 88:97-107. doi:10.1016/j.jhevol.2015.05.002
2015 - Reed D, Barr WA, McPherron S, Bobe R, Geraads D, Wynn J, Alemseged Z. Digital Data Collection in Paleoanthropology. Evolutionary Anthropology. 24:238-249. doi:10.1002/evan.21466
2015 - Thompson JC, McPherron S, Bobe R, Reed DN, Barr WA, Wynn J, Marean CW, Geraads D, Alemseged Z. Taphonomy of fossils from the hominin-bearing deposits at Dikika, Ethiopia. Journal of Human Evolution. 86:112-135. doi:10.1016/j.jhevol.2015.06.013
2014 - Barr WA. Functional Morphology of the Bovid Astragalus In Relation To Habitat: Controlling Phylogenetic Signal In Ecomorphology. Journal of Morphology. 275:1201-1216. doi:10.1002/jmor.20279
2014 - Barr WA and Scott RS. Phylogenetic comparative methods complement discriminant function analysis in ecomorphology. American Journal of Physical Anthropology. 153:663-674. doi:10.1002/ajpa.22462
2014 - Scott RS and Barr WA. Ecomorphology and phylogenetic risk: implications for habitat reconstruction using fossil bovids. Journal of Human Evolution. 73:47-57. doi:10.1016/j.jhevol.2014.02.023
2010 - Reed DN, and Barr WA. A preliminary account of the rodents from Pleistocene levels at Grotte des Contrebandiers (Smuggler’s Cave), Morocco. Historical Biology. 22:286-294. doi:10.1080/08912960903562192