W. Andrew Barr

W Andrew Barr

W. Andrew Barr

Assistant Professor of Anthropology; CASHP Core Faculty (he/him/his)


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. 

paleoecology, ecomorphology, paleoanthropology, statistical methods, academic computing

2014 - PhD - University of Texas at Austin. Anthropology

2008 - M.A. - University of Texas at Austin. Anthropology

2005 - B.S. - Tulane University. Anthropology and French 

ANTH 6413: Analytical Methods in Evolutionary Anthropology

ANTH 6413: Evolutionary Impacts Of Cenozoic Climate Change

ANTH 1001: Introduction to Biological Anthropology

In press - Barr WA. Ecomorphology. D.A. Croft, S.W. Simpson, and D.F. Su (eds.), Methods in Paleoecology: Reconstructing Cenozoic Terrestrial Environments and Ecological Communities. Springer (Vertebrate Paleobiology and Paleoanthropology Series), Dordrecht.


2018 - Barr WA. The morphology of the bovid calcaneus: function, phylogenetic signal, and allometric scaling. Journal of Mammalian Evolution. doi:10.1007/s10914-018-9446-9

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.


2018 - Fraser D, Haupt R, Barr WA. Phylogenetic Signal In Tooth Wear Dietary Niche Proxies. Ecology and Evolution. 8:5355-5368. doi:10.1002/ece3.4052 (PDF)


2018 - Blondel C, Rowan J, Merceron G, Bibi F, Negash E, Barr WA, Boisserie JR. Feeding ecology of Tragelaphini (Bovidae) from the Shungura Formation, Omo Valley, Ethiopia: contribution of dental wear analyses. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology. 496:103-120.


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 (PDF)

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 (PDF)

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 (PDF)

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