Matt Sponheimer Headshot
(Ph.D. • Rutgers University • 1999)

HALE 347

Office Hours

Friday 12-2 and by appt

Sponheimer does research on the ecology of early hominins and associated fauna in Africa. He has also directed and co-directed several multi-disciplinary projects on the ecology of living mammals, both large and small, in South Africa.

Selected Publications:

  • Ungar, P. & Sponheimer, M. (2011). The Diets of Early Hominins. Science 334, 190-193.
  • Sponheimer, M., Codron, D., Passey, B., de Ruiter, D., Lee-Thorp, J. & Cerling, T. (2009). Using Carbon Isotopes to Track Dietary Change in Modern, Historical, and Ancient Primates. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 140, 661-670.
  • Sponheimer, M. & Lee-Thorp, J.A. (2006). Enamel Diagenesis at South African Australopith Sites: Implications for Paleoecological Reconstruction with Trace Elements. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 70, 1644-1654.
  • Sponheimer, M., Passey, B., de Ruiter, D., Guatelli-Sternberg, D. Cerling, T. & Lee-Thorp, J. (2006). Isotopic Evidence for Dietary Flexibility in the Early Hominin Paranthropus robustus. Science 314, 980-982.
  • Sponheimer, M., Loudon, J.E.*, Codron, D., Howells, M.E.*, Pruetz, J.D. , Codron, J., de Ruiter, D. & Lee-Thorp, J.A. (2006). Do “Savanna” Chimpanzees Consume C4 resources? Journal of Human Evolution 51, 128-133.
  • Sponheimer, M., Lee-Thorp, J., DeRuiter, D, Smith, J., van der Merwe, N., Reed, K., Ayliffe, L., Heidelberger, C. & Marcus, W. (2003). Diets of Southern African Bovidae: The Stable Isotope Evidence. Journal of Mammalogy 84, 471-479.
  • Sponheimer, M., Robinson, T., Ayliffe, L., Roeder, B., Hammer, J., West, A., Passey, B., Cerling, T., Dearing, D. & Ehleringer, J. (2003). Nitrogen Isotopes in Mammalian Herbivores: Hair d15N Values from a Controlled-Feeding Study. International Journal of Osteoarchaeology 13, 80-87.
  • Sarnecki, J. & Sponheimer, M. (2002). Why Neanderthals Hate Poetry: A Critical Notice of Steven Mithen’s The Prehistory of the Mind. Philosophical Psychology 15, 173-184.
  • Sponheimer, M. & Lee-Thorp, J.A. (1999). Isotopic Evidence for the Diet of an Early Hominid, Australopithecus africanus. Science 283, 368-370.
  • Sponheimer, M. & Lee-Thorp, J.A. (1999). Oxygen Isotopes in Enamel Carbonate and their Ecological Significance. Journal of Archaeological Science 26, 723-728.
  • Sponheimer, M. & Lee-Thorp, J.A. (1999). Alteration of Enamel Carbonate Environments during Fossilization. Journal of Archaeological Science 26, 143-150.

Graduate Studies Information

Matt Sponheimer does research on the ecology of early hominins and living and fossil mammals, both large and small, from the African continent.

Matt Sponheimer's graduate students work on both living and fossil mammals, and regularly do museum and field work in southern Africa. His students' work includes taxonomy, ecology, ecomorphology, isotopic analysis, paleoecology, environmental reconstruction, paleontology, and nutritional and mechanical ecology.

*Professor Sponheimer is not currently accepting graduate students for Fall 2024