|Born||1983/1984 (age 36–37)|
|Alma mater||University College London, Imperial College London|
|Fields||Paleoanthropology, Evolutionary Biology|
Ella Al-Shamahi (Arabic: آلاء الشماحي) is an explorer, paleoanthropologist, evolutionary biologist and stand-up comic. She specializes in the study of Neanderthals. She is also the presenter and producer of BBC2's Neanderthals: Meet Your Ancestors. She is a Trustee of the International Association for the Study of Arabia.
Early life and career
Al-Shamahi grew up in Birmingham, United Kingdom, and has Yemeni and Syrian ancestry. She has previously received a degree from Imperial College London and is currently doing a PhD at University College London in the Department of Anthropology. In 2015 she was named a National Geographic Emerging Explorer.
Al-Shamahi specializes in finding fossils in Palaeolithic caves in unstable and hostile territories, such as Syria, Iraq, Nagorno-Karabakh and Yemen. In her TED talk, Al-Shamahi describes her reconnaissance expedition to Socotra, a Yemeni island. The expedition was funded by the MBI Al Jaber Foundation as part of their ongoing support for the heritage of Yemen. She was prohibited from traveling to mainland Yemen, as it was a no-fly zone, but found that the island was relatively safe. However, she had to find a way to get to the island. In early 2018 her team set off on a cement cargo ship through the Indian Ocean, where they were at risk of running into Somali pirates, and reached Socotra after three days. Besides Al-Shamahi, the team included Rhys Thwaites-Jones, Martin Edstrom, and Leon McCarron.
Al-Shamahi is producer and presenter on the BBC2 show Neanderthals: Meet Your Ancestors, on which she works with Andy Serkis. She is also a stand-up comic and performed 3 shows at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. She furthermore presented an episode for Horizon called Body Clock: What Makes Us Tick?, for which she locked a test subject in an underground bunker for 10 days. Ella is a Trustee of the International Association for the Study of Arabia.
- Maxted, Anna (2018-05-10). "Ella Al-Shamahi: Meet the new star of Sunday night TV". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 2019-07-20.
- "Yemen's Ella al-Shamahi: Unearthing the past, preserving the future". alaraby.co.uk. 20 May 2018.
- "Why is there only one species of human?". National Geographic. 6 December 2018.
- "The fossil finder who can't wait to return to war-torn Yemen". New Scientist. 24 January 2018.
- "Structure | The IASA".
- "Did you hear the one about the anthropologist who walked into a comedy club?". BBC Science Focus Magazine. Retrieved 2019-07-20.
- UCL (2016-08-22). "Fossil Hunting in the Yemen: Archaeologists Without Borders". Human Evolution @ UCL. Retrieved 2019-07-20.
- Society, National Geographic. "Learn more about Ella Al-Shamahi". www.nationalgeographic.org. Retrieved 2019-07-20.
- Al-Shamahi, Ella. "Ella Al-Shamahi | Speaker | TED". www.ted.com. Retrieved 2019-07-20.
- "MBI Al Jaber Lecture Series: "Dragon's Blood Island: Socotra and Our Search for Dragons" by Ella Al-Shamahi". www.mbifoundation.com.
- Uqba, Sana. "Yemen's Ella al-Shamahi: Unearthing the past, preserving the future". alaraby. Retrieved 2019-07-20.
- "Open Explorer | Dragon's Blood Island: Socotra". Open Explorer. 2018-02-01. Retrieved 2019-07-20.
- "MBI Al Jaber Foundation". www.mbifoundation.com. Retrieved 2019-07-20.
- Maxted, Anna. "Ella Al-Shamahi: Meet the new star of Sunday night TV" – via www.thetimes.co.uk.
- Street, 180 High; Edinburgh; Eh1 1qs; Kingdom +44131 226 0026, United. "Ella Al-Shamahi and Susie Steed: Gold Diggers". Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Retrieved 2019-07-20.
- "Ella Al-Shamahi". Adventure Uncovered Live. Retrieved 2019-07-20.
- "It's time to listen to our body clock". BBC Science Focus Magazine. Retrieved 2019-07-20.