Dr René Bobe

René Bobe

Research Affiliate

Research Interests: Hominin palaeoecology, early hominin evolution, evolution of African mammals, conservation paleobiology, early South American primates 

I am a biological anthropologist and paleobiologist interested in the relationship between climate and evolution, with a focus on the environments and ecology of human origins in Africa. I study fossil mammals that provide long-term records of ecological and environmental change. My current research focuses on Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique, where I co-direct paleontological research on new sites of late Miocene age, as well as modern landscapes in relation to conservation paleobiology. I have other paleontological projects focused on the paleoecology of early hominins in the Afar Region and the lower Omo Valley of Ethiopia, and the Lake Turkana Basin of Kenya. I am also interested in early South American primates, and have conducted paleontological research in Chilean Patagonia


(As of May 2020)

Edited books and volumes

Reynolds, S., Bobe, R. (Editors) (In press). African Paleoecology and Human Evolution. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. 

Braun, D., Bobe, R. (Editors) (2020). Hominin paleobiology in the early Pleistocene Okote Member, Koobi Fora Formation, Kenya. Special Issue, Journal of Human Evolution

Bobe, R., Alemseged, Z., Behrensmeyer, A.K. (Editors) (2007). Hominin Environments in the East African Pliocene: An Assessment of the Faunal Evidence. Vertebrate Paleobiology and Paleoanthropology Series. Springer, Dordrecht. 354 pp.

Journal articles, book chapters, scholarly publications 

Bobe, R., Braun, D., Behrensmeyer, A.K., Harris, J.W.K. (2020). Introduction: Hominin paleobiology in the early Pleistocene Okote Member, Koobi Fora Formation, Kenya. Journal of Human Evolution 145, 102811. 

Alemseged, Z., Wynn, J., Geraads, D., Reed, D., Barr, W.A., Bobe, R., McPherron, S. Deino, A. Alene, M., Sier, M., Roman, D., Mohan, J. (2020). Fossils from Mille-Logya, Afar, Ethiopia, elucidate the link between Pliocene environmental changes and Homo origins. Nature Communications 11, 2480. 

Bobe, R., Martínez, F., Carvalho, S. (2020). Primate adaptations and evolution in the southern African Rift Valley. Evolutionary Anthropology

Bobe, R., Manthi, F.K., Ward, C., Plavcan, J.M., Carvalho, S. (2020). The ecology of Australopithecus anamensis in the early Pliocene of Kanapoi, Kenya. Journal of Human Evolution 140, 102717. 

Solórzano, A., Encinas, A., Kramarz, A., Carrasco, G., Montoya-Sanhueza, G., Bobe, R. Late early Miocene caviomorph rodents from Laguna del Laja (~37°S), Cura-Mallín Formation, south-central Chile. (2020). Journal of South American Earth Sciences.

Geraads, D., Bobe, R. (2020). Suidae from Kanapoi. Journal of Human Evolution 140, 102337. 

Geraads, D., Bobe, R. (2020). Ruminants (Giraffidae and Bovidae) from Kanapoi. Journal of Human Evolution 140, 102383. 

Dumouchel, L., Bobe, R. (2020). Paleoecological implications of dental mesowear and hypsodonty in fossil ungulates from Kanapoi. Journal of Human Evolution 140, 102548. 

Richmond, B., Green, D., Lague, M., Chirchir, H., Behrensmeyer, A.K., Bobe, R., Bamford, M., Griffin, N., Gunz, P., Mbua, E., Merritt, S., Pobiner, B., Kiura, P., Kibunjia, M., Harris, J.W.K., Braun, D. (2020). The upper limb of Paranthropus boisei from Ileret, Kenya. Journal of Human Evolution 141, 102727. 

Tóth, A.B., Lyons, S.K., Barr, W.A., Behrensmeyer, A.K., Blois, J.L., Bobe, R., Davis, M., Du, A., Eronen, J.T., Faith, J.T., Fraser, D., Gotelli, N.J., Graves, G.R., Jukar, A.M., Miller, J.H., Pineda-Munoz, S., Soul, L.C., Villaseñor, A., Alroy, J., 2019. Reorganization of surviving mammal communities after the end-Pleistocene megafaunal extinction. Science 365, 1305-1308. 

Solórzano, A., Encinas, A., Bobe, R., Maximiliano, R., Carrasco, G. (2019). The Early to late Middle Miocene mammalian assemblages from the Cura-Mallín Formation, at Lonquimay, southern Central Andes, Chile (∼38°S): Biogeographical and paleoenvironmental implications. Journal of South American Earth Sciences, 102319. 

Patterson, D.B., Braun, D.R., Allen, K., Barr, W.A., Behrensmeyer, A.K., Biernat, M., Lehmann, S.B., Maddox, T., Manthi, F.K., Merritt, S.R., Morris, S.E., O’Brien, K., Reeves, J.S., Wood, B.A., Bobe, R. (2019). Comparative isotopic evidence from East Turkana supports a dietary shift within the genus Homo. Nature Ecology & Evolution 3, 1048-1056. 

Martínez, F., Capelli, C., Ferreira da Silva, M.J., Vera Aldeias, Alemseged, Z., Archer, W., Bamford, M., Biro, D., Bobe, R., Braun, D.R., Cunha, E., Habermann, J.M., Lüdecke, T., Madiquida, H., Mathe, J., Negash, E., Paulo, L.M., Pinto, M., Stalmans, M., Tátá, F., Carvalho, S. (2019). A missing piece of the Papio puzzle: Gorongosa baboon phenostructure and intrageneric relationships. Journal of Human Evolution 130, 1-20. 

Bobe, R., Carvalho, S. (2019). Humans are not off the hook for extinctions of large herbivores – then or nowThe Conversation.  

Bobe, R., Carvalho, S. (2019). Hominin diversity and high environmental variability in the Okote Member, Koobi Fora Formation, Kenya. Journal of Human Evolution 126, 91-105. 

Habermann, J., Alberti, M., Alemseged, Z., Aldeias, V., Archer, W., Bamford, M., Biro, D., Braun, D., Capelli, C., Cunha, E., Ferreira da Silva, J., Lüdecke, T., Madiquida, H., Martínez, F., Mathe, J., Negash, E.W., Paulo, L.M., Pinto, M., Stalmans, M., Tátá, F., Wynn, J., Bobe, R., Carvalho, S. (2019). Gorongosa by the sea: first Miocene fossil sites from the Urema Rift, central Mozambique, and their coastal paleoenvironmental and paleoecological contexts. Palaeogeography Palaeoclimatology Palaeoecology 514, 723-738. 

Bobe, R., Carvalho, S. (2018). The decline of Africa’s largest mammals: Did hominins play a role in the loss of megaherbivores? Science 362, 892-893. 

Püschel, T.A., Marcé-Nogué, J., Gladman, J.T., Bobe, R., Sellers, W.I. (2018). Inferring locomotor behaviours in Miocene New World monkeys using finite element analysis, geometric morphometrics and machine-learning classification techniques applied to talar morphology. Journal of The Royal Society Interface 15 (146) 10.1098/rsif.2018.0520 

Patterson, D., Braun, D., Behrensmeyer, A.K., Lehmann, S., Merritt, S., Reeves, J. Wood, B., Bobe, R. (2017). Landscape scale heterogeneity in the East Turkana ecosystem during the Okote Member (1.56-1.38 Ma). Journal of Human Evolution 112, 148-161. 

Püschel, T., Gladman, J., Bobe, R., Sellers, W. (2017). The evolution of the platyrrhine talus: a comparative analysis of the phenetic affinities of the Miocene platyrrhines with their modern relatives. Journal of Human Evolution 111, 179-201. 

Patterson, D., Braun, D., Behrensmeyer, A.K., Merritt, S., Zliobaite, I., Reeves, J., Wood, B., Fortelius, M., Bobe, R. (2017). Ecosystem evolution and hominin paleobiology at East Turkana, northern Kenya between 2.0 and 1.4 Ma. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 481, 1-13. 

Montoya, G., Moreno, K., Bobe, R., Carrano, M., García, M., Corgne, A. (2017). Peltephilidae and Mesotheriidae (Mammalia) from late Miocene strata of northern Chilean Andes, Caragua. Journal of South American Earth Sciences, 75, 51-65. 

Lanzarone, P., Garrison, E., Bobe, R., Getahun, A. (2016). Examining fluvial stratigraphic architecture using ground-penetrating radar at the Fanta Stream fossil and archaeological site, Central Ethiopia. Geoarchaeology 31(6), 577-591. 

Bobe, R. (2016). Paleontology. Oxford Bibliographies in Anthropology. John L. Jackson, Editor. Oxford University Press. DOI: 10.1093/OBO/9780199766567-0141. 

Fortelius, M., Zliobaite, I., Kaya, F., Bibi, F., Bobe, R., Leakey, L., Leakey, M., Patterson, D., Rannikko, J., Werdelin, L. (2016). An ecometric analysis of the fossil mammal record of the Turkana Basin. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 371, 20150232. 

Mbua, E., Kusaka, S., Kunimatsu, Y., Geraads, D., Sawada, Y., Brown, F.H., Sakai, T., Boisserie, J.-R., Saneyoshi, M., Omuombo, C., Muteti, S., Hirata, T., Hayashida, A., Iwano, H., Danhara, T., Bobe, R., Jicha, B., Nakatsukasa, M. (2016). Kantis: A new Australopithecus site on the shoulders of the Rift Valley near Nairobi, Kenya. Journal of Human Evolution 94, 28-44. 

Reed, D., Barr, A., McPherron, S., Bobe, R., Geraads, D., Wynn, J. Alemseged, Z. (2015). Digital data collection in paleoanthropology. Evolutionary Anthropology 24, 238-249. 

Plummer, T.W., Ferraro, J.V., Louys, J., Hertel, F., Alemseged, Z., Bobe, R., Bishop, L.C. (2015). Bovid ecomorphology and hominin paleoenvironments of the Shungura Formation, lower Omo River Valley, Ethiopia. Journal of Human Evolution 88, 108-126. 

Thompson, J., McPherron, S., Bobe, R., Reed, D., Barr, W.A., Wynn, J., Marean, C., Geraads, D., Alemseged, Z. (2015). Taphonomy of fossils from the hominin-bearing deposits at Dikika, Ethiopia. Journal of Human Evolution 86, 112-135. 

Geraads, D., Drapeau, M., Bobe, R., Fleagle, J. (2015). Vulpes mathisoni sp. nov., a new fox from the Pliocene Mursi Formation of Southern Ethiopia, and its contribution to the origin of African foxes. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 35(4) e943765. 

Geraads, D., Alemseged, Z., Bobe, R., Reed, D. (2015). Pliocene Carnivora (Mammalia) from the Hadar Formation at Dikika, Lower Awash Valley, Ethiopia. Journal of African Earth Sciences 107, 28-36. 

Hockings, K., McLennan, M., Carvalho, S., Ancrenaz, M., Bobe, R., Byrne, R., Dunbar, R., Matsuzawa, T., McGrew, W., Williamson, E., Wilson, M., Wood, B., Wrangham, R., Hill, C. (2015). Apes in the Anthropocene: adaptation and survival. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 30(4), 215-222. 

Caruana, M., Carvalho, S., Braun, D., Presnyakova, D., Haslam, M., Archer, W., Bobe, R., Harris, J. (2014). Quantifying traces of tool use: a novel morphometric analysis of damage patterns on percussive tools. PLoS ONE 9(11): e113856. 

Drapeau, M., Bobe, R., Wynn, J., Campisano, C., Geraads, D., Dumouchel, L. (2014). The Mursi Formation reconsidered: a window into the East African Pliocene. Journal of Human Evolution 75, 64-79. 

Patterson, D., Faith, T., Bobe, R., Wood, B. (2014). Regional diversity patterns in African bovids, hyaenids, and felids during the past 3 million years: the role of taphonomic bias and implications for the evolution of Paranthropus. Quaternary Science Reviews 96, 9-22. 

Geraads, D., Bobe, R., Manthi, F.K. (2013). New ruminants (Mammalia) from the Pliocene of Kanapoi, Kenya, and a revision of previous collections, with a note on the Suidae. Journal of African Earth Sciences 85, 53-61. 

Geraads, D., Reed, K., Bobe, R. (2013). Pliocene Giraffidae (Mammalia) from the Hadar Formation of Hadar and Ledi-Geraru, Lower Awash, Ethiopia. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 33(2), 470-281. 

Geraads, D., Bobe, R., Reed, K. (2012). Pliocene Bovidae (Mammalia) from the Hadar Formation of Hadar and Ledi-Geraru, Lower Awash, Ethiopia. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 32(1), 180-197. 

Bobe, R. (2011). Fossil mammals and paleoenvironments in the Omo-Turkana Basin. Evolutionary Anthropology 20(6), 254-263. 

Bobe, R., Behrensmeyer, A.K., Leakey, M., Mbua, E. (2011). The Turkana Database: An archive of vertebrate evolution in East Africa. Evolutionary Anthropology, 20(6), 256. 

Levin, N., Brown, F., Behrensmeyer, A.K., Bobe, R. Cerling, T. (2011). Paleosol carbonates from the Omo Group: isotopic records of local and regional environmental change in East Africa. Palaeogeography Palaeoclimatology Palaeoecology 307, 75-89. 

McPherron, S., Alemseged, Z., Marean, C., Wynn, J.G., Reed, D., Geraads, D., Bobe, R., Béarat, H. (2011). Tool-marked bones from before the Oldowan change the paradigm. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 108(21), E116. 

Geraads, D., Alemseged, Z., Bobe, R., Reed, D. (2011). Enhydriodon dikikae, sp. nov. (Carnivora: Mammalia), a gigantic otter from the Pliocene of Dikika, Lower Awash, Ethiopia. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 31(2), 447-453. (March) 

McPherron, S., Alemseged, Z., Marean, C., Wynn, J.G., Reed, D., Geraads, D., Bobe, R., Béarat, H. (2010). Evidence for stone-tool-assisted consumption of animal tissues before 3.39 million years ago at Dikika, Ethiopia. Nature 466, 857-860. 

Geraads, D., Alemseged, Z., Bobe, R., Reed, D. (2010). Nyctereutes lockwoodi, n. sp., a new canid (Carnivora: Mammalia) from the middle Pliocene of Dikika, Lower Awash, Ethiopia. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 30(3), 981-987. (May) 

Bobe, R., Leakey, M.G. (2009). Ecology of Plio-Pleistocene mammals in the Omo-Turkana Basin and the emergence of Homo. In Grine, F.E., Fleagle, J.G., Leakey, R.E. (Editors), The first humans: origins of the genus Homo. Vertebrate Paleobiology and Paleoanthropology Series. Springer, Dordrecht, pp. 173-184. 

Alemseged, Z., Bobe, R. (2009). Diet in early hominin species: a paleoenvironmental perspective. In Hublin, J.J., Richards, M.P. (Editors), The evolution of hominid diets: integrating approaches to the study of Paleolithic subsistence. Springer, Dordrecht, pp. 181-188. 

Benington, J.B., DiMichele, W., Badgley, C., Bambach, R., Barrett, P., Behrensmeyer, A.K., Bobe, R., Burnham, R., Daeschler, E., Van Dam, J., Eronen, J., Erwin, D., Finnegan, S., Holland, S., Hunt, G., Jablonski, D., Jackson, S., Jacobs, B., Kidwell, S., Koch, P., Kowalewski, M., Labandeira, C., Looy, C., Lyons, K., Novack-Gottshall, P., Potts, R., Roopnarine, P., Strömberg, C., Sues, H.-D., Wagner, P., Wilf, P., Wing, S. (2009). Critical issues of scale in paleoecology. Palaios 24(1), 1-4. 

Mbua, E., Alemseged, Z., Bobe, R. (2008). A new association for East African paleoanthropology and paleontology. Evolutionary Anthropology 17, 123-124. 

Behrensmeyer, A.K., Alemseged, Z., Bobe, R. (2007). Foreword. In Bobe, R., Alemseged, Z., Behrensmeyer, A.K. (Eds.), Hominin Environments in the East African Pliocene: An Assessment of the Faunal Evidence. Vertebrate Paleobiology and Paleoanthropology Series. Springer, Dordrecht, pp. xiii-xv. 

Behrensmeyer, A.K., Bobe, R., Alemseged, Z. (2007). Approaches to the analysis of faunal change during the East African Pliocene. In Bobe, R., Alemseged, Z., Behrensmeyer, A.K. (Eds.), Hominin Environments in the East African Pliocene: An Assessment of the Faunal Evidence. Vertebrate Paleobiology and Paleoanthropology Series. Springer, Dordrecht, pp. 1-24. 

Bobe, R., Behrensmeyer, A.K., Eck, G.G., Harris, J.M. (2007). Patterns of abundance and diversity in late Cenozoic bovids from the Turkana and Hadar Basins, Kenya and Ethiopia. In: Bobe, R., Alemseged, Z., Behrensmeyer, A.K. (Eds.), Hominin Environments in the East African Pliocene: An Assessment of the Faunal Evidence. Vertebrate Paleobiology and Paleoanthropology Series. Springer, Dordrecht, pp. 129-157. 

Alemseged, Z., Bobe, R., Geraads, D. (2007). Comparability of fossil data in relation to hominin paleoecology: a case study of the French and American collections from the Shungura Formation of Ethiopia. In: Bobe, R., Alemseged, Z., Behrensmeyer, A.K. (Eds.), Hominin Environments in the East African Pliocene: An Assessment of the Faunal Evidence. Vertebrate Paleobiology and Paleoanthropology Series. Springer, Dordrecht, pp. 159-181. 

Behrensmeyer, A.K., Alemseged, Z., Bobe, R. (2007). Finale and future: investigating faunal evidence for hominin paleoecology in East Africa. In Bobe, R., Alemseged, Z., Behrensmeyer, A.K. (Eds.), Hominin Environments in the East African Pliocene: An Assessment of the Faunal Evidence. Vertebrate Paleobiology and Paleoanthropology Series. Springer, Dordrecht, pp. 333-345. 

Alemseged, Z., Spoor, F., Kimbel, W.H., Bobe, R., Geraads, D., Reed, D., Wynn, J.G. (2006). A juvenile early hominin skeleton from Dikika, Ethiopia. Nature 443, 296-301. 

Wynn, J., Alemseged, Z., Bobe, R., Geraads, D., Reed, D., Roman, D. (2006). Geological and palaeontological context of a Pliocene juvenile hominin at Dikika, Ethiopia. Nature 443, 332-336. 

Bobe, R. (2006). The evolution of arid ecosystems in eastern Africa. Journal of Arid Environments 66(3), 564-584. 

Alemseged, Z., Wynn, J., Kimbel, W., Reed, D., Geraads, D., Bobe, R. (2005). A new hominin from the Basal Member of the Hadar Formation, Dikika, Ethiopia, and its geological context. Journal of Human Evolution 49, 499-514. 

Bobe, R., Behrensmeyer, A.K., Carrasco, G. (2004). Paleoclima y evolución faunística en el Plio-Pleistoceno de África y América del Sur. Ameghiniana 41(4), 641-649. 

DiMichele, W., Behrensmeyer, A.K., Olszewski, T., Labandeira, C., Pandolfi, J., Wing, S., Bobe, R. (2004). Long-term stasis in ecological assemblages: evidence from the fossil record. Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics 35, 285-322. 

Bobe, R., Behrensmeyer, A.K. (2004). The expansion of grassland ecosystems in Africa in relation to mammalian evolution and the origin of the genus Homo. Palaeogeography Palaeoclimatology Palaeoecology 207, 399-420. 

Bobe, R., Behrensmeyer, A.K., Chapman, R.E., Eck, G.G. (2004). Evolución humana en valle del Omo (Etiopía): relación con cambios faunísticos y variaciones ambientales en el Plioceno terminal. Fundamental 3, 1-59. 

Bobe, R., Behrensmeyer, A.K., Chapman, R.E. (2002). Faunal change, environmental variability and late Pliocene hominin evolution. Journal of Human Evolution 42(4), 475-497. 

Bobe, R., Eck, G.G. (2001). Responses of African bovids to Pliocene climatic change. Paleobiology 27 supplement to No. 2. Paleobiology Memoirs 2, 1-47. 

Bobe, R. (1997). Hominid Environments in the Pliocene: An Analysis of Fossil Mammals from the Omo Valley, Ethiopia. PhD Dissertation in Biological Anthropology: University of Washington, Seattle. UMI9806959. 

Kimbel, W., Walter, R., Johanson, D., Reed, K., Aronson, J., Assefa, Z., Marean, C., Eck, G., Bobe, R., Hovers, E., Rak, Y., Vondra, C., Yemane, T., York, D., Chen, Y., Evensen, N., Smith, P. (1996). Late Pliocene Homo and Oldowan tools from the Hadar Formation (Kada Hadar Member), Ethiopia. Journal of Human Evolution 31, 549-561.