Osbjorn Pearson

Professor and Regents' Lecturer

Photo: Osbjorn Pearson

Archaeology,  Evolutionary Anthropology

At UNM since 
Curriculum vitae

Recent Courses:

  • Introduction to Anthropology (ANTH 101)
  • Evolution and Human Emergence (ANTH 150)
  • Human Evolution Laboratory (ANTH 151L)
  • Human Biology (ANTH 350)
  • Anthropology of the Human Skeleton (ANTH 351)
  • Human Origins (ANTH 357)
  • Paleoanthropology (ANTH 457/557)
  • Reconstructing Life from the Skeleton (ANTH 458)
  • Inferring Behavior from the Skeleton (ANTH 556)
  • Seminar (co-taught with Dr. L. Straus) - The Middle to Upper Paleolithic Transition (ANTH 577)
  • Seminar (co-taught with Dr. L. Straus) - European Prehistory: The Middle to Upper Paleolithic Transition (ANTH 577)


BA, University of Texas at Austin, Anthropology (1990)

MA, State University of New York at Stony Brook, Anthropological Sciences (1995)

PhD, State University of New York at Stony Brook (1997)
Dissertation: “Postcranial Morphology and the Origin of Modern Humans”


Paleoanthropology, origin of modern humans, skeletal biology, functional morphology, quantitative methods; Africa, Europe

Recent Publications:

Pearson, O. M., Hill, E. C., Peppe, D. J., Van Plantinga, A., Blegen, N., Faith, J. T., Tryon, C. A. A human humerus from a late Middle Stone Age context on Rusinga Island, Lake Victoria, Kenya. Journal of Human Evolution; vol. 146; p. 102855; 2020.

Pearson, O. M., Pablos, A., Rak, Y., and Hovers, E. A partial Neandertal foot from the late Mousterian of Amud Cave, Israel. PaleoAnthropology; vol. 2020; pp. 98-125; 2020.

Hill, E. C., Durband, A. C., Pearson, O. M., Walshe, K. Does upper limb robusticity and bilateral asymmetry support subsistence intensification at Roonka, South Australia? Australian Archaeology; 2020.

Hill, E. C., Pearson, O. M., Durand, A. C., Walshe, K., Carlson, K. J., and Grine, F. E. An examination of cross-sectional geometrical properties of Holocene foragers from Roonka, South Australia. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 2020, pp. 1-16. 2020.  

Assefa, Z., A. Asrat, E. Hovers, Y. Lam, O. Pearson, and D. Pleurdeau. Engraved ostrich eggshell from the Middle Stone Age contexts of Goda Buticha, Ethiopia. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports; vol. 17; pp. 723-729; 2018.

Tribolo C., Asrat, A., Bahain, J.-J., Chapon, C., Douville, E.,  Fragnol, C., Hernandez, M., Hovers, E., Leplongeon, A., Loïc, M., Pleurdeau, D., Pearson, O., Puaud, S., and Assefa, Z.; When the rains stopped: Geochronological and sedimentological evidence for the Middle and Later Stone Age sequence of Goda Buticha, Ethiopia; PLoS One; vol. 12; p. e01694182017; 2017.

Pearson, O. M., Sparacello, V. S.; Behavioral differences between near eastern Neandertals and the early modern humans from Skhul and Qafzeh: an assessment based on comparative samples of Holocene humans; In: Hovers E, and Marom A, editors; Human Paleontology and Prehistory: Contributions in Honor of Yoel Rak; New York: Springer, pp. 175-186; 2017. 


Pearson O. M., Petersen T. R., Sparacello V. S., Daneshvari S., Grine F. E. Activity, “body shape”, and cross-sectional geometry of the femur and tibia; In: Carlson K, Marchi D (eds); Mobility: Interpreting Behavior from Skeletal Adaptations and Environmental Interactions; Springer, New York: Springer, pp. 133-151; 2014. 

Pearson, O. M. Africa: the cradle of modern humans. In: The Origins of Modern Humans: Biology Reconsidered. Edited by F. H. Smith and J. C. Ahern. New York: Wiley-Blackwell, pp. 1-43; 2013. 

Pearson, O.M.; Postcranial remains and the origin of modern humans; Evolutionary Anthropology; vol. 9; pp. 229-247; 2000. 

Pearson, O.M. and Lieberman, D.E.; The aging of Wolff’s “Law:” Ontogeny and responses to mechanical loading in cortical bone; Yearbook of Physical Anthropology; vol. 47; pp. 63-99; 2004. 

Pearson, O.M.; Activity, climate, and postcranial robusticity: Implications for modern human origins and scenarios of adaptive change; Current Anthropology; vol. 41; pp. 569-607; 2000.