Joseph V. Ferraro, PhD

Joseph V. Ferraro, PhD
Associate Professor & Director of the Institute of Archaeology
High Res Photo
Research in Progress

I am an anthropologist with broad interests in the evolution of human biology. In short, I am interested in why we look and act the way we do. How are we different from other animals? How are we similar? Why? What was the course and context of our evolutionary journey over the last 10 million years or so that saw us transformed from what was presumably a rather run-of-the-mill African ape into something inarguably… well, odd (but incredibly interesting!)?

In terms of method and theory, I use paleontology and archaeology as tools to address research questions firmly grounded in biological theory. Recently, I have published the earliest zooarchaeological evidence for early human hunting and scavenging activities, with implications for the evolution of hominin diets, encephalization, foraging ecology, biogeography, and sociality. Other interests include Paleolithic technology, vertebrate paleontology, and reconstructing hominin paleoenvironments.

I conduct fieldwork in East Africa and am currently analyzing archaeological and paleontological materials from sites that range in age from 4.5 million years ago to the present. My research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, Leakey Foundation, and Wenner Gren Foundation, among others.


PhD in Anthropology, University of California, Los Angeles, 2007

MA in Anthropology, University of California, Los Angeles, 1998

BA in Anthropology & History, Indiana University, Bloomington, 1992 

Recent Publications

Ferraro, J.V., Plummer, T.W., Pobiner, B.L., Oliver, J., Bishop, L.C., Braun, D.R., Ditchfield, P.W., Seaman, J. III, Binetti, K.M., Seaman, J. Jr., Hertel, F. and R. Potts (2013). Earliest archaeological evidence of persistent hominin carnivory. PLoS ONE 8(4): e62174; 1-10.

Ferraro, J.V., Binetti, K.M., Stinchcomb, G. and F. Manthi (2013). Farre: an early Middle Pleistocene archaeological locality in the Chalbi Basin, northern Kenya. Antiquity 87:338.

Ferraro, J.V. (2012). A primer on Paleolithic technology. Nature Education Knowledge 4(2)9.

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