Sherry Nelson

Associate Professor
Associate Chair; Director, Paleoecology Lab

Photo: Sherry Nelson

Evolutionary Anthropology

Curriculum vitae

Recent Courses:

  • Evolution and Human Emergence (ANTH 150)
  • Human Origins (ANTH 357)
  • Paleoanthropology (ANTH 457/557)
  • Human Behavioral Evolution (ANTH 464/564)
  • Primate Evolution (ANTH 452/552)
  • Paleoecology Lab (ANTH 453L/553L)


BS (cum laude), Duke University (1994)

PhD, Harvard University (2002)
Dissertation: “Faunal and Environmental Change Surrounding the Extinction of Sivapithecus, a Miocene Hominoid, in the Siwaliks of Pakistan”


Paleoecology of Miocene apes, hominids; stable isotopic and dental microwear analyses; Asia, Africa, Europe.

Recent Publications:

2019    Hamilton, M., S. Nelson , D. Fernandez, and K. Hunt.  Detecting riparian habitat preferences in “savannah” chimpanzees and associated fauna with strontium isotope ratios: implications for reconstructing chimpanzee-human last common ancestor habitat use. American Journal of Physical Anthropology.

2017    Nelson, S. and M. Hamilton.  Evolution of the human dietary niche initial transitions.  In Chimpanzees and Human Evolution.   Editors M. Muller, R. Wrangham, and D. Pilbeam.  Boston: Harvard University Press.

2016    Nelson, S. and L. Rook.  Isotopic reconstructions of habitat change surrounding the extinction of Oreopithecus, the last European ape. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 160: 254-271.

2014 Nelson, S.  The Paleoecology of early Pleistocene Gigantopithecus blacki inferred from stable isotopic analyses. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 155: 571-578. 

2013 Nelson, S.  Chimpanzee fauna isotopes provide new interpretations of fossil ape and hominin ecologies. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 280: 20132324.