Researchers

Dr Darren Curnoe

Associate professor of palaeoanthropology and archaeology. He trained in biological anthropology, archeology, geology and biology at the Australian National University, receiving his PhD in 2000 under the supervision of the late Dr Alan Thorne. During 2002, he was a postdoctoral research fellowship under the late Professor Phillip Tobias at the University of the Witwatersrand (2002) in South Africa. He has worked at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) Sydney since late 2002, first in the Faculty of Medicine (2002-2008) and then in the Faculty of Science (since 2009) in the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences. Dr Curnoe is also a Chief Investigator in the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage (CABAH) and an Honorary Professor in the Yunnan Institute for Cultural Relics and Archaeology and Southeast Asia Archaeology Research Centre (Kunming, China).

His research focuses mostly on understanding:

  • The origins of anatomically modern humans in East and Southeast Asia and Australasia.
  • Late surviving archaic humans, their adaptations, potential interactions with early modern humans and extinctions.
  • Cave archaeological excavations.
  • The use of archaeological science techniques to better understand how archaeological sites formed and applied to human remains to reconstruct identity, diet and behaviour.
  • He previously worked in South Africa and Kenya to understand the earliest members of the genus Homo.

Dr Hsiao Mei Goh

Post-doctoral research fellow whose research focuses on understanding the early prehistoric peopling of Southeast Asia and Malaysia, with a special focus on prehistoric material culture and early human behavioural signatures. She received her PhD in cave archaeology from Flinders University in 2014, then worked at Universiti Sains Malaysia until the end of 2017 and has been at UNSW since the beginning of 2018.

Her research seeks to address fundamental questions about human origins in Southeast Asia, including:

  • The early dispersal of anatomically modern humans Out of Africa and into Southeast Asia.
  • How early humans coped with catastrophic geological and climatic events such as Super Toba Eruption (~74 ka) and Last Glacial Maximum (~18-25 ka).
  • The behavioural signatures of prehistoric humans in Southeast Asia.
  • The development of agriculture during the Neolithic period of West and East Malaysia. Over the past decade, she worked in one of the most important archaeological areas of Southeast Asia—the Lenggong Valley in West Malaysia—which contains evidence of early human occupation from the Middle Palaeolithic (~150 ka) to Metal Age (~1.5 ka).

Dr Shane Ingrey

Post-doctoral research fellow studying Indigenous science and traditional knowledge including plant use.

Dr Jarrad Paul

Post-doctoral researcher examining the Neolithic of West Asia and Southeast Asia with a focus on zooarchaeology and organic artefacts. He is also a key researcher in the Trader’s cave excavations at Niah National Park.

Current Students

Raynold Mendoza is a PhD candidate studying stable isotope analyses of human diet and ability on human remains form Niah Caves.

Jay Hannon is an MPhil candidate whose work using computer modelling to examine the Pleistocene settlement and land use of island Southeast Asia.

Christian Keyes is an honours student researching the geoarchaeology of the Trader’s Cave at Niah Caves.

Sonia Szarycz is an honours students studying experimental archaeology and tool use at the Trader’s Cave at Niah Caves.

Past Staff and Students

Postdoctoral Researchers

2004-2009.    Dr Andy Herries.

PhD Graduates

2016. Ceridwen Boel. Topic: Hybridisation in Human Evolution.

2016. Natalie Rogers. Topic: Human Brain Evolution with a Focus on Executive Function.

2013. Olivia Mottram. Topic: Biogeography of Chacma Baboons (Papio ursinus) in Southern Africa Using GIS (jointly supervised with Shawn Laffan).

2012. Amanda Guy. Topic: Rehabilitation and Release of Vervet Monkeys in South Africa.

2007. Julien Louys. Topic: Ecology and Extinction of Southeast Asia’s Pleistocene Megafauna (jointly supervised with Mike Archer).

2007. Jack (Andy) Coate. Topic: The Genus Category and Cranial Morphometrics of the Catarrhini with Implications for Fossil Hominins.

2007. Hayley Green. Topic: Cranial Variation of Contemporary East Asians in a Global Context.

Honours Graduates

2015. David Posniak. Topic: Testing evidence for artificial deformation in Pleistocene Australian human remains.

2014. Rhiannon Bice. Topic: Testing definitions of Homo sapiens.

2013. Marshall Owen. Topic: Variation in the cranial base foramina of the hominid skull: An assessment of cranial shape using geometric morphometrics.

2013. Lexie Black. Topic: Palaeoecological context of Niah Cave, Sarawak and Maludong, Yunnan: evidence from faunal stable isotopes.

2012. Thomas Beaudoin. Topic: A Phylogeny of HomoIncorporating Recent Discoveries. 

2011. Angus Wythes. Topic: Site formation of Middle Stone Age gullies at Kilombe, Kenya.

2010. Natalie Rogers. Topic: Comparative Palaeoneurology of the Archaic Homo sapiens Florisbad Specimen.

2007. Heather Cohen. Topic: Cranial Variation of Sympatric Macaques and their Sister Species: A 3D Geometric Morphometric Approach.

2005. Kylie McQualter. Topic: Dry-Season Diet of Chacma Baboons (Papio hamadryas ursinus) in the Semi-Desert of South Africa.

2004. Leanne Van der Weyde. Topic: Ecology of Chacma Baboons, Papio hamadryas ursinus, in a Semi-Desert Environment in South Africa.

2003. Hayley Green. Topic: The Mandibular Fossa of Pleistocene Aboriginal Australians.