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PhD position in biological anthropology

Palevoprim, Université de Poitiers, France. Application Deadline: 28. May 2024.

Université de Poitiers
Image: Université de Poitiers

Start date:


Deadline for application:



Evolution of brain metabolism within the human lineage


Amélie Beaudet


The fossil record documents significant changes in the size, organisation, shape and development of the hominin brain. However, our understanding of the mode and timing of evolutionary processes involved remains fragmentary. As such, the present PhD project aims to test if energetic costs could have limited and constrained the nature and magnitude of changes that have shaped the human brain. In this perspective, the PhD candidate will develop an innovative approach that combines the study of living humans and investigation of fossil hominin specimens. Variation in brain energetics will be studied and estimated on a populationscale (human evolution) and individual-scale (ontogeny). In particular, the PhD candidate will study brain metabolism in living humans by collecting biological data (blood flow, energy expenditure) and information on feeding practices. Measurements of osteological proxies will be performed on original and virtual (3D models) dry specimens from extant and fossil hominin skeletal collections. By combining data from various lines of evidence, the PhD candidate will be able ultimately to estimate brain energetics in fossil hominins, determine how brain energy consumption varied throughout human evolution and test a possible correlation with major brain changes.


The present PhD position is part of the project entitled “Co-evolution between brain and dietary behaviours within the human lineage” (CPJ-HOMININES) and will be supervised by Amélie Beaudet at PALEVOPRIM (UMR 7262 Université de Poitiers & CNRS).


The candidate will have to hold a Master degree in paleontology, biological anthropology or neuroscience. Knowledge in imaging techniques, statistics and comparative anatomy, as well as a strong interest in research questions related to evolutionary mechanisms and human physiology, will be considered as key strengths. The candidate will have to demonstrate abilities to speak and write in English, writing skills and capacity to work as part of a team.

Application: Contact:


  • Anthropology
  • Anthropology, Primatology