The Center for Advanced Studies aims to bring together fellows and external and local members of the center. Local members are researchers at the University of Tübingen whose research is associated with the center. External members are either former long-term fellows or local members who are still associated with the center and its activities.

Junior Research Group

Dr. Alexandros Karakostis

Dr. Alexandros Karakostis is a Paleoanthropologist specializing in biomechanics, functional morphology, the evolution of the human hand, and forensic anthropology. His research activities have led to the development and experimental validation of novel methodologies for  reconstructing habitual physical activity in past populations, including the "Tübingen University Validated Entheses-based Reconstruction of Activity" ("V.E.R.A.") method. The recent application of his methods to the fossil record have provided new insights into the evolution of manual behavior and  dexterity.

ResearchGate: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Fotios_Karakostis

Selective Publications

  1. Karakostis, F. A., Hauefle D., Anastopoulou, I., Moraitis, K., Hotz, G., Tourloukis, V., Harvati, K. Biomechanics of the thumb and the evolution of human dexterity. Current Biology DOI :https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2020.12.041

  2. Karakostis, F.A., Hotz, G., Tourloukis, V., Harvati, K. (2018). Evidence of precision grasping in Neandertal daily activities. Science Advances, 4, eaat2369.

  3. Harvati, K., Röding, C., Bosman A., Karakostis F. A., Grün R., Stringer, C. et al. (2019). Apidima Cave fossils provide earliest evidence of Homo sapiens in Eurasia. Nature, 571, 500-504.

  4. Karakostis, F.A., Jeffery, N. Harvati, K. (2019). Experimental proof that multivariate patterns among muscle attachments (entheses) can reflect repetitive muscle use. Scientific Reports, 9, 16577.

  5. Karakostis, F.A. Wallace, I., Konow, I., Harvati, K. (2019). Experimental evidence that physical activity affects the multivariate associations among muscle attachments (entheses). Journal of Experimental Biology, 222, 213058.

  6. Karakostis, F.A., Hotz, G., Scherf, H., Wahl, J., Harvati, K. (2017). Occupational manual activity is reflected on the patterns among hand entheses. American journal of Physical Anthropology, 164, 30–40.

  7. Karakostis, F. A., Lorenzo, C. (2016). Morphometric patterns among the 3D surface areas of human hand entheses. American journal of Physical Anthropology, 160, 694-707.

Simona Affinito

Simona has joined the Junior Research Group of our DFG Center as a PhD student in Paleoanthropology. She is interested in the link between anatomy, function and evolution, and in the application of new methodologies to the study of the human fossil record. Simona holds a master’s degree in Biodiversity and Evolution at the University of Bologna where she worked on a project involving the study of the bone internal structure to identify pathological alterations in skeletal collections. She then completed an MSc at the Hull York Medical School where she specialized in functional and evolutionary anatomy. Her previous work involves the study of the biomechanics of the mandible in modern humans and great apes using virtual modelling techniques and biomechanical simulations (FEA). In the context of her PhD project, Simona employs a multidisciplinary experimental approach to explore the evolutionary interplay between tool-use/making and gestural/verbal communication with the goal to provide new insight into the mechanisms underlying the cognitive bases of human tool-use and language.

Email address: simona.affinito@uni-tuebingen.de

Brienna Bill-Eteson

Brienna Eteson has joined the Junior Research Group in the DFG Center as a PhD student in Paleoanthropology having completed her MSc in Biological Anthropology at the University of Kent in 2020. Her previous research includes the study of muscle attachment sites (entheses) in relation to electromyographic data on muscular recruitment during stone-tool use. Brienna’s areas of interest include evolutionary and functional anatomy and hominin stone-tool use. Whilst undertaking her PhD, Brienna is applying a multidisciplinary approach in experimental research, exploring the potential links between tool use and production with gestural and verbal communication.

Email addressbrienna.bill-etesonspam prevention@uni-tuebingen.de

Emmy Noether Junior Research Group

Dr. Matthias Urban

Matthias Urban received undergraduate and graduate training in linguistics at the University of Cologne and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. His postdoctoral work focused on the historical linguistics of the Central Andes and sought to investigate the use of different types of linguistic information –the areal distribution of linguistic features, place and personal names, substrate effects, other contact phenomena including lexical and grammatical borrowing, and the spread of language families–as windows to the prehistory of this culture area. He continues to pursue this approach, which also emphasizes the need to interpret the linguistic record against an interdisciplinary background, further as principal investigator of the Junior Research Group “The languages of the Central Andes”, funded by the German Research Foundation’s Emmy Noether Programme.

Position: Principal Investigator
Office: Rümelinstr. 23, Room 4.24 Tübingen Baden-Württemberg Germany
Email address: matthias.urban@uni-tuebingen.de
Telephone Number: +49-7071-29-74391

Dr. Matthias Pache

Matthias Pache holds a doctorate degree in linguistics from Leiden University. He is a postdoctoral researcher in the Research Group “The Language Dynamics of the Ancient Central Andes” and focuses on the numerous, often unclassified languages of the Andean region in terms of language contact and linguistic prehistory. So far, Matthias Pache has carried out in-depth research on Quechuan, Aymaran, Lengua X and Mapudungun. He has also extensively investigated languages of Central America and northern South America: Chibchan, Pumé and Chocoan. He has published on a number of topics in descriptive linguistics, the historiography of Native American linguistics and typology. Moreover, his research has a major focus on historical linguistics, including the application of the comparative method in the context of Native South and Central American languages.

Position: Postdoctoral Researcher
Office: Rümelinstr. 23, room 425
Email address: matthias.pache@uni-tuebingen.de
Telephone Number: +49 7071 2976509

Dr. Nicholas Q. Emlen

Nicholas Q. Emlen is a linguistic anthropologist who has conducted extensive ethnographic research on multilingualism, migration, and coffee production on the Andean-Amazonian agricultural frontier of Southern Peru. He also works on the reconstruction of Quechua-Aymara language contact in the ancient Central Andes. In another project, he uses 17th century texts to study multilingualism among Quechua, Aymara, Puquina, and Spanish in the colonial Andes, and he is currently involved in creating digital interfaces for those texts.

Position: Postdoctoral Researcher
Office: Rümelinstr. 23, room 425
Email address: nicholas.emlen@uni-tuebingen.de
Telephone Number: +49 7071 2976509
Personal Pagehttps://www.rug.nl/staff/n.q.emlen/

Hermann Sonntag

Hermann Sonntag started out as a philosopher studying Philosophy and Social Sciences at the University of Leipzig. Via his preoccupation with logic, semantics and language philosophy and his fateful encounter with Finnish, he chose linguistics as the major of his master studies. In his master’s thesis The Typology of Conditional Constructions: The Past-as-Irrealis Hypothesis in a Cross-linguistic Perspective he examined cross-linguistic similarities on the clause- and sentence-level. Now, as a member of Matthias Urban‘s junior research group The Language Dynamics of the Ancient Central Andes, his current dissertation project Lexical Evidence for the Pre-Columbian Trade and Exchange in Western South America tries to shed light on the linguistic and cultural situation in the Ancient Central Andes and beyond by looking into the relevant languages’ lexica for suspicious loan words. Furthermore, Hermann is interested in cross-linguistic grammaticalization paths and cyclic processes in language change, as well as in language complexity and the harnessing of resource-based approaches accounting for language structures and change.

Position: Doctoral Student
Office: Rümelinstr. 23, room 425
Email address: hermann.sonntag@uni-tuebingen.de
Telephone Number: +49 7071 2976509

External Members

Dr. Andrea Benazzo

Dr. Andrea Benazzo is a research technician at the University of Ferrara, Italy. His main research interest is in the use of genomic data to reconstruct the evolutionary history of organisms, focusing on past demography and adaptation to extreme environmental conditions. Dr. Benazzo is also interested in developing bioinformatic tools for analysis of genomic data. During his time at the Center, he processed human next generation sequencing data with updated pipelines in order to make them suitable to different kind of population genetics analysis. In particular, he applied recently developed computational methods to infer population structure, admixture, and migrations, as well as investigate how these processes acted together to shape the observed pattern of genetic variation at a whole genomic scale.

Email: andrea.benazzo@unife.it
ResearchGate Profilehttps://www.researchgate.net/profile/Andrea_Benazzo

Prof. Dr. Jennifer Culbertson

Dr. Ewa Dutkiewicz

Dr. Ewa Dutkiewicz, a graduate of the University of Tübingen, was a short-time fellow for a 6-month period in 2018. Dr. Dutkiewicz completed her doctoral dissertation on “Markings, Patterns, and Symbols of the Swabian Aurignacian,” funded by the Ice Age Association of the Lone Valley (Förderverein Eiszeitkunst in Lonetal e.V.). From 2011-2018, Dr. Dutkiewicz served as curator in the Archäopark Vogelherd in Niederstotzingen. She has extensive archaeological experience ranging from work at the local Middle-Upper Paleolithic site of Vogelherd to the Holocene site of Hopewell in Ohio(USA). During her time at the Center, Dr. Dutkiewicz will start up the SignBase project with Dr. Christian Bentz, which will curate the wealth of understudied abstract motifs and mobile art of the European Upper Paleolithic, focusing on the Swabian Jura. The project aims to compile data that can be used to study the geographic and chronological patterning of abstract signs, comparing their information encoding potential with Holocene records of early writtenlanguages. Since June 2019 she is a research assistant at the Museum für Vor- und Frühgeschichte der Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin - Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz. She is the curator of the Stone Age department, responsible for the collections ranging from the Middle Paleolithic to the Chalcolithic period.

ResearchGate Profilehttps://www.researchgate.net/profile/Ewa_Dutkiewicz

Dr. Phillip Endicott

Dr. Phillip Endicott is researcher at the Natural History Museum of France in Paris and was a visiting fellow at the DFG Center for the Spring of 2017. His wide educational background in Anthropology and Archaeology and his focus on Island Southeast Asia and Oceania gives a good fit with research interests at the DFG Center. Since writing a thesis on the symbolism of canoes and Polynesian voyaging during his MA in the Anthropology of Art, Dr. Endicott has maintained a strong interest in the Austronesian speaking world and is currently engaged in projects looking at Taiwan, the Philippines, eastern Polynesia and sea nomads of Myanmar. During his stay in Tübingen, Phillip worked with Gerhard Jäger, Hugo Reyes-Centeno, and Christian Bentz on comparison of genetic, linguistic, and morphological measures of diversity in the peoples of Oceania and Island Southeast Asia.

Dr. Silvia Ghirotto

My research focuses in the reconstruction of evolutionary processes that shaped current and past patterns of genetic/genomic variation using both modern and ancient DNA data. I am particularly interested in exploring and interpreting human genetic variation together with evidence from other fields as anthropology, archaeology, linguistics. I am also primarily involved in the development
and the analysis of statistical methods, mainly based on computer simulations, to infer past population dynamics and to test among different evolutionary scenarios. 

Email: silvia.ghirotto@unife.it
ResearchGate Profilehttps://www.researchgate.net/profile/Silvia_Ghirotto

Prof. Dr. Fiona Jordan

Prof. Dr. Johannes Krause

Prof. Dr. Giuseppe Longobardi

Giuseppe Longobardi holds a named professorship (Anniversary Chair) at the University of York, where he is the Coordinator of the York International Research Centre for Linguistic History and Diversity in collaboration with the Universities of Campinas and of Pennsylvania. He was NATO-CNR Visiting Scholar at MIT, Fulbright Fellow at UCLA, Directeur de Recherche Etranger (CNRS, Paris), Visiting Professor at Vienna, University of Southern California, Harvard, and UCLA. He is member of the PhD program in linguistics of Università di Roma-La Sapienza. He was the PI of the ERC Advanced Grant ‘Meeting Darwin’s Last Challenge’ (2012-2018), aiming at the first cross-continental mapping of gene-language correlations.
He has especially contributed to the study of syntactic dependencies, nominal reference and the syntax-semantics mapping of proper names, and the format of grammatical diversity (Parametric Minimalism). For the past 15 years he has developed an original syntactic method (Parametric Comparison Method) for phylogenetic reconstruction of language families and for comparison of linguistic and genetic diversity. He has written extensively on syntactic theory and historical syntax in international journals (Linguistic Inquiry, Lingua, Brain and Language, Zeitschrift f. Sprachwissenschaft, Natural Language Semantics, Linguistic Variation Yearbook, Linguistic Typology, Am. Journal of Physical Anthropology, Journal of Anthropological Sciences, Linguistic Analysis, Genes, Frontiers in Psychology, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society-Biology), and has authored or edited volumes published by Cambridge University Press and Oxford University Press.

Prof. Dr. Marta Mirazón Lahr

Marta Mirazon Lahr is a Fellow of Clare College, Professor of Human Evolutionary Biology and Prehistory, and Director of the Duckworth Collection at the University of Cambridge. She studied Biology at the University of São Paulo, Brasil, and did her Master and PhD at Cambridge, where she later held a JRF at Clare College. The focus of her research is the origins and evolution of diversity of our species, Homo sapiens. Her work involves a range of disciplines - human palaeontology, evolutionary genetics, behavioural ecology, prehistoric archaeology and Quaternary African palaeontology. She has carried out fieldwork in the Amazon, the South Pacific, India, Oman, Libya and Kenya. She recently directed the IN-AFRICA Project supported by an ERC Advanced Grant. In 2017, she was elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries.

Prof. em. Johanna Nichols

Johanna Nichols is Professor Emerita at the University of California, Berkeley. Her research interests Slavic languages, the linguistic prehistory of northern Eurasia, language typology, ancient linguistic prehistory, and languages of the Caucasus. As a DFG Center fellow, Prof. Nichols worked on language geographical peripheries and hotspots, as well as on language attractors, head marking, and the evolution of simplicity.

Visit http://slavic.berkeley.edu/people/johanna-nichols/ for her latest CV and publications.

Email: johanna@berkeley.edu
ResearchGate Profilehttps://berkeley.academia.edu/JohannaNichols/

Dr. George Perry

Dr. George (PJ) Perry is Chair of the Bioinformatics and Genomics Graduate Program and Associate Professor of Anthropology and Biology at Pennsylvania State University in the USA. His anthropological genomics research group studies human evolutionary ecology, evolutionary medicine, and human impacts on non-human evolutionary biology.

Visit https://anth.la.psu.edu/people/ghp3 and http://bio.psu.edu/directory/ghp3 for more information.

Location: Harry J. & Elissa M. Sichi Early Career Professor in Anthropology Associate Professor of Anthropology and Biology 513 Carpenter Building University Park, PA 16802
Telephone number: (814)863-7654
Email: ghp3 (at) psu (dot) edu
Personal Websitewww.anthgenomicslab.com

Dr. Hugo Reyes-Centeno

Hugo Reyes-Centeno's research focuses on the evolutionary mechanisms that produce the anatomy of humans today and in the past. He asks questions about how biology and culture interact to produce variation and diversity in human anatomical form, particularly the size and shape of crania and teeth. He uses comparative evolutionary approaches to study human skeletons from archaeological and paleontological contexts, including quantitative genetics and population genetics. He applies a suite of techniques that maximize data acquisition and heritage conservation, including virtual methods like computed tomography, photogrammetry, and multi-spectral imaging. His work is based at the William S. Webb Museum of Anthropology and includes collaborations with the Digital Restoration Initiative and the Electron Microscopy Center in the College of Engineering.

Email: hugo.reyes-centenospam prevention@uky.edu
ResearchGate Profilehttps://www.researchgate.net/profile/Hugo_Reyes-Centeno

Prof. Rebecca Rogers Ackermann

Prof Ackermann is Founding Director and current Deputy Director of the Human Evolution Research Institute (HERI), and Professor in the Department of Archaeology, University of Cape Town (UCT), South Africa. She is also Deputy Dean for Transformation in the Science Faculty at UCT. She is Principal Investigator of the "Gene flow and drift in human evolution" project funded by the National Research Foundation, Co-PI of the #Advancing Womxn project "The next great South African palaeoanthropologist: where is she?", and an associated network partner in the PUSSH Marie Sklodowska-Curie European Training Network. During her time at the DFG Center, Prof. Ackermann is working with Prof Katerina Harvati an a collaborative project exploring the effects of hybridization on the skeleton.

Email: becky.ackermannspam prevention@uct.ac.za
Websiteswww.stillevolving.com; rrackermann.com; heriuct.co.za

Local Members

Prof. Dr. Harald Baayen

Harald Baayen studied general linguistics with Geert Booij in Amsterdam, and obtained his PhD degree in 1989 with a quantitative study on morphological productivity. From 1990 to 1998 he was a researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in Nijmegen, The Netherlands. In 1998, upon receiving a career advancement award from the Dutch Science Foundation, he became associate professor at the Radboud University in Nijmegen, thanks to a Muller chair supported by the Dutch Academy of Sciences. In 2007 he took up a full professorship at the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada. In 2011 he received an Alexander von Humboldt research award from Germany, which brought him to the University of Tübingen. An ERC advanced grant is supporting his current research programme on discriminative learning. Harald Baayen has published widely in international journals, including Psychological Review, Language, Journal of Memory and Language, Cognition, Complexity, Behavior Research Methods, PLoS ONE, Journal of Experimental Psychology, Journal of Phonetics, and the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. He published a monograph on word frequency distributions with Kluwer, and an introductory textbook on statistical analysis (with R) for the language sciences with Cambridge University Press.

Prof. Dr. Martin Bartelheim

Prof. Dr. Martin Bartelheim since 2008 holds the Chair in Later European Prehistory at the Department of Pre- and Protohistory at the University of Tübingen. After finishing his PhD at Berlin's Free  University in 1995 he undertook research into prehistoric mining and metallurgy at Saxony's State Archaeological Museum in Dresden and from 1998 until 2007 he worked as a lecturer at the universities of Freiberg, Berlin and Belfast.
His main areas of research include the archaeology of the Metal Ages in Europe and in the Mediterranean, especially in Central Europe, on the Iberian Peninsula and in the Eastern Mediterranean. Apart  from questions of cultural contacts, chronology and ancient metallurgy he is interested mostly in socio-economic aspects of prehistoric societies. His field research in the Saxon-Bohemian Erzgebirge (on prehistoric non-ferrous metallurgy), in Portugal (on Chalcolithic copper metallurgy in Zambujal) and on Cyprus (in the Late Bronze Age sanctuary in Kaleburu/Galinopomi) has attracted substantial funding from the Volkswagen Foundation, the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft DFG and the Fritz-Thyssen Foundation. Since 2013 he is speaker of the Collaborative Research Centre 1070 “Resource Cultures" funded by the DFG. Within this project he leads field research into the use of resources from the Chalcolithic to theIron Age in the Guadalquivir Valley in Southern Spain.

Emailmartin.bartelheimspam prevention@uni-tuebingen.de

Prof. Dr. Tilman Berger

Prof. Dr. Hervé Bocherens

Dr. Nicholas Conard

Dr. Sireen El Zaatari

PD Dr. Miriam Haidle

Prof. Dr. Erhard Hinrichs

Prof. Dr. Chris Miller

Prof. Dr. Richard Posamentir

Dr. Cosimo Posth

Dr. Claudio Tennie

Dr. Vangelis Tourloukis

Vangelis is a Palaeolithic archaeologist specializing in Pleistocene geoarchaeology and lithic studies, with long experience particularly in the Lower and Middle Palaeolithic of Greece. He has worked as field supervisor and lithic analyst in the framework of a number of Palaeolithic survey projects and excavations in Greece, in Epirus, Macedonia, Thessaly, Mani, Argolid, Arkadia, Lemnos, Zakynthos and Crete. His PhD research applied a geoarchaeological, fieldwork-based approach to examine the Lower Palaeolithic evidence from Greece within the framework of the earliest occupation of Europe. From 2012 to 2016, Vangelis worked as a senior researcher in the ERC-funded project PaGE ('Palaeoanthropology at the Gates of Europe: human evolution in the southern Balkans'); currently, he is senior researcher and scientific coordinator in the ‘CROSSROADS’ project. As leading member of the PaGE and CROSSROADS teams, Vangelis has been the field director of the excavations (2013- ) at the open-air Lower Palaeolithic site of Marathousa 1 in Megalopolis, the surveys in Megalopolis (2012, 2013), Mani (2012), Crete (2013), Macedonia (2013) as well as the excavation of a cave site in Mani (2013). Besides lithic studies and geoarchaeology, he is interested in the research of Palaeolithic mobility and site functions; the human biogeography and ecology of the earliest occupation of Europe; and the possibly distinct evolutionary trajectories that are reflected in the spatial and temporal patterns of lithic technology, land use strategies and mobility patterns during the Early and Middle Pleistocene.

Visit https://uni-tuebingen.de/de/88164 for his latest CV and Publications.

Prof. Dr. Andrea Weber

Dr. Marlen Fröhlich

Dr. Marlen Fröhlich is a primatologist specialising in great ape communication, behavioural plasticity and comparative approaches to the study of language evolution. Over the past decade, she has been studying the communicative behaviour of four different great ape species across various research settings, which allowed her to tease apart individual-, population- and species-level variation. Currently, she is the head of the Freigeist Junior Research Group "Pathways to language: The role of communicative plasticity in joint action coordination".




Selected Publications:

1.     Fröhlich, M., & van Schaik, C. P. (2022). Social tolerance and interactional opportunities as drivers of gestural redoings in orang-utans. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 377: 20210106. DOI:10.1098/rstb.2021.0106

2.    Fröhlich M., van Schaik C. P., van Noordwijk M. A., Knief U. (2022). Individual variation and plasticity in the infant-directed communication of orang-utan mothers. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 289: 20220200. DOI:10.1098/rspb.2022.0200

3.     Fröhlich M., Bartolotta N., Fryns C., Wagner C., Momon L, Jaffrezic M, Mitra Setia T., Schuppli C., van Noordwijk M. A., van Schaik C.P. (2021). Orangutans have larger gestural repertoires in captivity than in the wild – a case of weak innovation? iScience 24: 103304. DOI:10.1016/j.isci.2021.103304

4.     Fröhlich M., Sievers C., Townsend S.W., Gruber T., van Schaik C.P. (2019). Multimodal communication and language origins: integrating gestures and vocalizations. Biological Reviews 94: 1809–1829. DOI:10.1111/brv.12535

5.     Fröhlich M., Kuchenbuch P.H., Müller G., Fruth B., Furuichi T., Wittig R.M., Pika S. (2016). Unpeeling the layers of language: Bonobos and chimpanzees engage in cooperative turn-taking sequences. Scientific Reports 6: 25887. DOI:10.1038/srep25887

Student Assistants

Fadhl Al-Eryani

Masters student in Computational Linguistics

google scholar

fadhl.al-eryanispam prevention@student.uni-tuebingen.de

Nkyone Gbadegoye

Former Staff

Dr. Marisa Köllner (Scientific Coordinator)

Dr. Marisa Köllner (née Delz) is a Linguist specialized in the field of computational historical linguistics with a focus on language contact, borrowing and the resulting language change. Her research focuses on the application and adaptation of phylogenetic and computational models into the field of historical linguistics. 

Dr. Köllner was the current Scientific Coordinator at the DFG Center for Advanced Studies "Words, Bones, Genes, Tools: Tracking Linguistic, Cultural and Biological Trajectories of the Human Past" at the University of Tuebingen. Within the Center her research widened with respect to other fields in order gain deeper insights in the driving factors of language contact and lexical borrowing in the history of languages, societies, and human evolution.

Dr. Köllner completed her Bachelor and Master in General Linguistics at the Department of Linguistics in Tuebingen.
In parallel, she completed her second Master degree in Computational Linguistics at the University of Tuebingen
In 2021, Dr. Köllner received her doctoral degree in General Linguistics at the at the Department of Linguistics in Tuebingen.


Miri Mertner MA (Interim Scientific Coordinator)

Miri Mertner is a linguist specialising in language contact and African linguistics. She is currently a PhD student at the University of Tübingen, where she works on developing computational methods to study the effects of language contact on the global and areal distribution of linguistic features. She is especially interested in language mixing phenomena as a window onto mechanisms of language change, as well as multimodality and the origins of language.


Saetbyul Lee (Student Assistant)