Dr Thomas A. Püschel

thomas puschel

Wendy James Associate Professor in Evolutionary Anthropology

Tutorial Fellow in Human Sciences, St Hugh's College



Thomas joined the university as Associate Professor in Evolutionary Anthropology at the School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography as well as Tutorial Fellow at St Hugh’s in 2023. He completed his PhD in Evolutionary Biology at the University of Manchester in 2018. Thomas holds a MSc from the University of York and an undergraduate degree in Biological Anthropology from the University of Chile. Previously, he was a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at the University of Oxford and later also a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Reading. 


Research Interests

Thomas' research interests relate to identifying the key adaptations that define different stages of primate and human evolution. His work brings together biological anthropology, palaeontology, and evolutionary biology, using cutting-edge informatic techniques to analyse genetic, anatomical, ecological, and other kinds of data. Thomas is a member of the Palaeo-Primate project which entails a yearly fieldwork season in Gorongosa National Park, Mozambique.







Thomas is available for supervision

Teaching and Research Interests

Thomas' main academic interest relates to the study of how and why human and primate bodies have become the way they currently are. To answer this kind of questions, he applies a combination of statistical modelling, 3D morphometrics, virtual biomechanical techniques, computational simulations, phylogenetic comparative methods, and fieldwork. His research has focused on the morphological innovation along the human lineage, primate phylogenetics and adaptive evolution, palaeontological fieldwork, and the development of new tools to analyse primate form and function in an evolutionary framework.


tp exacavating
tp in lab measuring bone
tp in gorgonsa jeep
tp excavating


Selected Publications

Recent selected publications (2020-2023): 

A full list can be found at www.thomaspuschel.com/

Bobe, R., Aldeias, V., Alemseged, Z., Anemone, R. L., Archer, W., Aumaître, G., Bamford, M. K., Biro, D., Bourlès, D. L., Boyd, M. D., Braun, D. R., Capelli, C., Coelho, J. d’Oliveira, Habermann, J. M., Head, J. J., Keddadouche, K., Kupczik, K., Lebatard, A.-E., Lüdecke, T., … Püschel, T. A… Carvalho, S. (2023). The first Miocene fossils from coastal woodlands in the southern East African Rift. IScience, 107644. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.isci.2023.107644

Bucchi, A., Püschel, T. A., & Lorenzo, C. (2022). Modularity of the wrist in extant hominines. Anthropologischer

Anzeiger; Bericht Uber Die Biologisch-Anthropologische Literatur. https://doi.org/10.1127/anthranz/2022/1558

Püschel, H. P., Bertrand, O. C., Reilly, J. E. O., Bobe, R., & Püschel, T. A. (2022). Reply to: Modelling hominin evolution requires accurate hominin data. Nature Ecology & Evolution, 1–3. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41559-022-01792-1

Morley, J., Bucchi, A., Lorenzo, C., & Püschel, T. A. (2022). Characterizing the body morphology of the first metacarpal in the Homininae using 3D geometric morphometrics. American Journal of Biological Anthropology, 177(4), 748–759. https://doi.org/10.1002/ajpa.24473

Püschel, H. P., Bertrand, O. C., O’Reilly, J. E., Bobe, R., & Püschel, T. A. (2021). Divergence-time estimates for hominins provide insight into encephalization and body mass trends in human evolution. Nature Ecology & Evolution, 1–12. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41559-021-01431-1

Coatham, S. J., Sellers, W. I., & Püschel, T. A. (2021). Convex hull estimation of mammalian body segment parameters. Royal Society Open Science, 8(6), 210836. https://doi.org/10.1098/rsos.210836

Marcé-Nogué, J., Püschel, T. A., Daasch, A., & Kaiser, T. M. (2020). Broad-scale morpho-functional traits of the mandible suggest no hard food adaptation in the hominin lineage. Scientific Reports, 10(1), Article 1. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-63739-5

Bucchi, A., Püschel, T. A., Lorenzo, C., & Marcé-Nogué, J. (2020). Finite element analysis of the proximal phalanx of the thumb in Hominoidea during simulated stone tool use. Comptes Rendus Palevol, 19(2), 26–39.

Püschel, T. A., Friess, M., & Manríquez, G. (2020). Morphological consequences of artificial cranial deformation: Modularity and integration. PLOS ONE, 15(1), e0227362. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0227362

Püschel, T. A., Marcé-Nogué, J., Chamberlain, A. T., Yoxall, A., & Sellers, W. I. (2020). The biomechanical importance of the scaphoid-centrale fusion during simulated knuckle-walking and its implications for human locomotor evolution. Scientific Reports, 10(1), 1–7. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-60590-6

Püschel, T. A., Marcé-Nogué, J., Gladman, J., Patel, B. A., Almécija, S., & Sellers, W. I. (2020). Getting Its Feet on the Ground: Elucidating Paralouatta’s Semi-Terrestriality Using the Virtual Morpho-Functional Toolbox. Frontiers in Earth Science, 8. https://doi.org/10.3389/feart.2020.00079

Current DPhil students