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Teresa E. Steele

Paleoanthropology and zooarchaeology. The emergence of fully modern humans, particularly the origins of modern human cultural abilities and the relationship between changes in technology, subsistence and demography. Evolution of human subsistence behavior, including the importance of marine resources. Western Europe, Northern Africa, Southern Africa.

Associate Professor

Department of Anthropology
University of California, Davis
One Shields Avenue
Davis, California 95616, USA
Office: 204 Young Hall
Telephone: 530-554-2804
Fax: 530-752-8885



Ph.D. Anthropology, Stanford University (2002)
A.M. Anthropology (Human Biocultural Evolution), Stanford University (1998)
B.S. summa cum Laude Anthropology & Human Biology, Emory University (1996)


Academic Positions

2012-present  Associate Professor, AnthropologyUC Davis
2006-2012     Assistant Professor, Anthropology, UC Davis
2006-present  Associate Researcher, Human EvolutionMax Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
2004-2006     Post-doctoral Fellow, Human EvolutionMax Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
2003-2004     Associate Lecturer (Anthropology) & Honorary Fellow (Anthropology & Zoology), University of Wisconsin-Madison
2002-2003     Post-doctoral Fellow (Biology) and Lecturer (Anthropology), Stanford University


Detailed Publication List (with PDFs)

Download my complete CV

Research Interests

I am a paleoanthropologist who studies the later phases of human evolution – the emergence of the earliest people who were behaviorally and anatomically modern. In particular, I want to know why these fully modern humans spread out of Africa about 50,000 years ago and were able to replace the Neandertals in Europe. To address these issues, my research focuses on Middle and Late Pleistocene (780,000-10,000 years ago) archaeology – the Middle Paleolithic made by Neandertals in Europe and the Middle Stone Age (MSA) and Mousterian made by their anatomically near modern contemporaries in Africa. I study the mode and tempo of human behavioral evolution during this time through zooarchaeology – reconstructing human subsistence and ecology through the patterns of variation found in vertebrate and molluscan faunal assemblages. Zooarchaeology offers a unique and critical window into modern human origins, because the migration of and replacement by modern humans involved significant demographic expansions with dietary correlates that should be detectable in the faunal record.

I am conducting this research through a variety of projects:

Variability within the MSA: VR003 and the Southern Namaqualand Archaeology Project

MSA and Mousterian subsistence and behavior in Africa

  • Mammals (Irhoud, Rhafas, Diepkloof, VR003, Ysterfontein 1)
  • Marine resources (Contrebandiers, Ysterfontein 1)

Neandertal subsistence and behavior in Europe

  • La Ferrassie, France
  • Abri Peyrony, France
  • Jonzac, France
  • Red deer: their ecology and how they were hunted by Late Pleistocene hominids in Western Europe


  • Age determination


I am a Faculty Advisor for the UC Davis Work-Life Program [click here]


Teaching (click to download the most recent syllabus)

Ant 3: Introduction to Archaeology

Ant 23: World Prehistory

Ant 174: European Prehistory

Ant 177: African Prehistory

Ant 180: Zooarchaeology

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Dept. of Anthropology

328 Young Hall
One Shields Ave.
University of California
Davis, Ca 95616-8522

Ph.  530-752-0745
Fax. 530-752-8885