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Dr Caroline Phillips

Stipendiary Lecturer in Biology

Caroline has studied extant primates for 20 years across Africa. Her research focus is to understand bioavailability of food resources within the home range of palaeotropical primates as well as their feeding ecology; also, to explore dietary adaptation in early hominins and understand key selection pressures driving ecological dominance in later hominins. Caroline uses a palaeoecological approach, through the analyses of phytoliths and stable isotopes of modern environments, to reconstruct contemporary environments inhabited by extant primates and draw parallel inferences about palaeoenvironments and how they were utilised by our early ancestors.

Current work involves understanding the efficacy and limitations of using stable isotopes and phytoliths to reconstruct both the environments and diet of past and present relatives (hominin and non-human primate). Caroline is keen to explore how we can provide high resolution data from these approaches.


Caroline is a Departmental Lecturer in Palaeoanthropology and has been teaching on both BA Human Sciences and MSc Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology at the School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography.


‘Cracking the Puzzle: Reconstructing Nut-Cracking Sites of Western Chimpanzees using Phytolith Analyses’

‘The Forgotten Faunivory of Relatives, Past and Present: Isotopic signatures of Dorylus ant consumption from ape faeces’

​‘Phytoliths in Food Wadges of the Hadza, a dietary reconstruction’

​‘A Phytolith and Stable Isotope Landscape across mosaic habitat of Western and Eastern Chimpanzees’

​‘Isoscape of Baboon Home Ranges in Gorongosa National Park’



Stipendiary Lecturer in Biology
Academic - Fellows & Lecturers