Dr Susana Carvalho

Associate Professor in Palaeoanthropology

Fellow of St Hugh's College

Primate Models for Behavioural Evolution Lab

Chimpanzee behaviour (especially tool use, material culture), primate archaeology; origins and evolution of technology, archaeology of East African Pliocene, novel methods for primatological/archaeological data collection and analyses.


I am a primatologist and archaeologist interested in the evolution of technological behaviour, specialising in wild chimpanzee tool use and in Pliocene archaeology. I am one of the founders of the field of primate archaeology.

I received a BA in Archaeology from Oporto University (1997), then a MSc in Human Evolution from Coimbra University (2007), after having worked some years in between in municipal archaeology. My PhD in Biological Anthropology from Cambridge (2013) focused on living primates as behavioural models for the origins of technology. I held a Junior Research Fellowship at Clare Hall, Cambridge, and had postdoctoral positions at Oxford and at the Center for the Advanced Study of Human Paleobiology, George Washington University, USA. I joined the University of Oxford in 2015, as Associate Professor of Palaeoanthropology and Fellow of St. Hugh’s College.


Email: susana.carvalho@anthro.ox.ac.uk

Primate Models for Behavioural Evolution Lab

Research Spotlight

My research includes: wild chimpanzee tool-use based on natural observations and field experimentation; resource exploitation strategies in human and non-human primates; classification and analysis of tools used by wild chimpanzees; hominin and chimpanzee raw material preferences; earliest hominin tool-use sites and assemblages; evolution of carrying behaviour (transport) and other technology-related behaviours. This inter-disciplinary research has taken me to East Africa (Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique) and West Africa (Guinea). I continue studies of the first percussive technologies of extinct hominins, as found in the Great Rift of Africa, especially at Lake Turkana. In 2015, I became Director for Paleontology and Primatology in one of the most diverse African ecosystems: Gorongosa National Park, Mozambique.

Past and current research funding has come from: Wenner-Gren Foundation, Leverhulme Trust, European Research Council, MEXT- Japan, Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT-Portugal), National Geographic Society, Cambridge European Trust, Gorongosa Restoration Project.


Hockings J.K., Bryson-Morrison N., Carvalho S., Fujisawa M., Humle T., McGrew W., Nakamura M., Ohashi G., Yamanashi Y., Yamakoshi G., Matsuzawa T. Tools to tipple: Ethanol ingestion by wild chimpanzees using leaf-sponges. Royal Society Open Sci2: 150150.

Benito-Calvo A., Carvalho S., Arroyo A., Matsuzawa T., de la Torre I. First GIS analysis of modern stone tools used by wild chimpanzees in Bossou, Guinea, West Africa. PLoS ONE 10: e0121613.

Hockings K., McLennan M., Carvalho S., Ancrenaz M., Bobe R., Byrne R., Dunbar R., Matsuzawa T., McGrew W., Wood B., Wrangham R., Hill C. Apes in the Anthropocene: Adaptation & Survival. Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 30: 215-222.


Caruana M., Carvalho S., Braun D., Presnyakova D., Haslam M., Archer W., Bobe R., Harris J. Quantifying traces of tool use: A novel morphometric analysis of damage patterns on percussive tools. PLoS ONE 9: e113856.


Haslam M., Gumert M., Biro D., Carvalho S., Malaivijitnond S. (2013). Use-Wear patterns on wild macaque stone tools reveal their behavioural history. PLoS ONE 8(8): e72872.

Carvalho S., Matsuzawa T., McGrew W. (2013). From pounding to knapping: How living apes can help us model hominin lithics. In: C. Sanz, J. Call, C. Boesch (Eds.). Tool Use in Animals: Cognition and Ecology. Cambridge University Press. Pp. 225-241.


Carvalho S., Biro D., Cunha E., Hockings K., McGrew W., Richmond B., Matsuzawa T. (2012). Chimpanzee carrying behavior and the origins of human bipedality. Current Biology 22: R180-181.

Carvalho S., McGrew W. (2012) The origins of the Oldowan: Why chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) still are good models for technological evolution in Africa. In: Domínguez-Rodrigo, M. (Ed.) Stone Tools and Fossil Bones: Debates in the Archaeology of Human Origins. Cambridge University Press. Pp.222-244.

Hockings K., Humle T., Carvalho S., Matsuzawa T. (2012) Chimpanzee interactions with other species in an anthropogenic habitat.  Behaviour 149: 299-324.


Carvalho S. (2011) Extensive surveys of chimpanzee stone tools: From the telescope to the magnifying glass. In: Matsuzawa T., Humle T., Sugiyama Y. (Eds.) The Chimpanzees of Bossou and Nimba.Springer, Tokyo. Pp. 145-156.


Biro D., Carvalho S., Matsuzawa T. (2010) Tools, traditions and technologies: Interdisciplinary approaches to chimpanzee nut-cracking. In: Lonsdorf E., Ross S., Matsuzawa T. (Eds.) The Mind of the Chimpanzee: Ecological and Experimental Perspectives. University of Chicago Press, Chicago. Pp.141-155.


Carvalho S., Biro D., McGrew W., Matsuzawa T. (2009) Tool-composite reuse in wild chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes): Archaeologically invisible steps in the technological evolution of early hominins? Animal Cognition 12: 103-114.

Haslam M., Hernandez-Aguílar A., Ling V., Carvalho S., de la Torre I., De Stefano A., Du A., Hardy B., Harris J.W.K., Marchant L., Matsuzawa T., McGrew W., Mercader J., Mora R., Petraglia M., Roche H., Stout D., Visalberghi E., Warren R. (2009) Primate archaeology. Nature 460: 339-444.


Carvalho S., Cunha E., Sousa C., Matsuzawa T. (2008) Chaînes opératoires and resource exploitation strategies in chimpanzee nut-cracking (Pan troglodytes). Journal of Human Evolution 55: 148-163.

  • Rethinking the evolution of property and possession: A review and methodological proposition.

  • Touch-screen-guided task reveals a
    prosocial choice tendency by chimpanzees
    (Pan troglodytes)

  • Tool use and manufacture in the last common ancestor of Pan and Homo

  • Raw material diversity, distribution and acquisition in the river Lis basin, central Portugal.

  • Standing on the shoulders of giants: the contribution of Cláudia Sousa for the foundation of primate archaeology

  • More
List of site pages