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Katerina Harvati

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Katerina Harvati
Κατερίνα Χαρβάτη
Born1970 (age 53–54)
Alma materColumbia College (B.A.)
Hunter College (M.A.)
CUNY Graduate Center (PhD)
Known forIdentification of the remains of the earliest known Homo sapiens outside of Africa in the Apidima Cave, Greece
Scientific career
InstitutionsUniversity of Tübingen
Doctoral advisorEric Delson [de]

Katerina Harvati (Greek: Κατερίνα Χαρβάτη; born 1970 in Athens) is a Greek paleoanthropologist and expert in human evolution. She specializes in the broad application of 3-D geometric morphometric and virtual anthropology methods to paleoanthropology. Since 2009, she is full professor and director of Paleoanthropology at the University of Tübingen, Germany. From 2020 to 2023 she was Director of the Institute for Archaeological Sciences and since 2023 she is Director of the Senckenberg Centre for Human Evolution and Palaeoenvironment at the University of Tübingen.[1]


Harvati is a graduate of Columbia College, New York, where she earned a B.A. in Anthropology 1994 (summa cum laude).[2][3] Four years later, she received her master's degree in Anthropology at Hunter College, City University of New York. After having been awarded with her Ph.D. at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York in 2001[4] she worked as a tenure-track assistant professor at New York University. From 2004 to 2009, she was senior researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology[5] in Leipzig, Germany. In 2005, she also became also adjunct associate professor at the City University of New York Graduate School.[6] In 2009 she was appointed full professor at the University of Tübingen and director of Paleoanthropology.

In 2010, she was elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science for her contributions to Paleoanthropology.[7] In 2014 she was awarded the Research Award of the State Baden-Württemberg,[8] and in 2021 the Leibniz Prize of the German Research Foundation,[9] the highest academic recognition in Germany. She was elected member of the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina in 2022.[10]

Harvati is married to the Greek biotechnology executive Elias Papatheodorou.[11] They have two children.


Harvati´s research focuses on primate and human evolution as well as on evolutionary theory, with emphasis on the paleobiology of Pleistocene humans and on modern human origins. She has conducted fieldwork in different parts of Europe and Africa and contributed largely to the understanding of the relationship of morphological variability to population history and the environment. Harvati has led recent breakthroughs in the understanding of modern human origins and Neanderthal behavior. Her recent work on the fossil human remains from Apidima Cave, Southern Greece, pushed back the arrival of Homo sapiens in Europe by more than 150 thousand years, showing an earlier and much more geographically widespread early modern human dispersal than was previously known (Harvati et al. 2019 Nature). This work was listed as one of the most important discoveries of the year by The Guardian,[12] Discover Magazine[13] and LiveScience,[14] as well as one of the most important archaeological discoveries of the decade by Gizmodo.[15] She also led research overthrowing long held assumptions about increased levels of violence and traumatic injuries relative to modern humans (Beier et al. 2018) and pioneered work exploring the effects of hybridization on the early modern human cranial phenotype (Harvati and Ackermann 2022). Other contributions include the assessment of the Neanderthal species status (Harvati et al. 2004 PNAS), the identification of an early modern human in Southern Africa (Grine et al. 2007 Science; a publication that TIME magazine ranked as one out of Top Ten discoveries of the year[16]); and the demonstration that modern humans evolved much earlier than previously thought, around 300,000 years ago in Morocco (Hublin et al. 2017, Nature). Finally, Harvati's work has spearheaded paleolithic and paleoanthropological research in South-East Europe (Harvati and Roskandic 2016). She has received three European Research Council grants, an ERC Starting Grant in 2011, an ERC Consolidator Grant in 2016[17] and an ERC Advanced Grant in 2021.[18] Together with G. Jäger, she heads a Centre for Advanced Studies on linguistic, cultural and biological trajectories of the human past since 2015.[19]

Awards and distinctions[edit]

  • 2009 Hellenes abroad award – Woman of the year 2009, Europe[20]
  • 2014 Research Prize of Baden-Württemberg for basic research[8]
  • 2021 Leibniz Prize of the German Research Foundation (DFG)[9]



  1. ^ "Institute for Archaeological Sciences at the University of Tübingen". uni-tuebingen.de. Retrieved 2023-05-15.
  2. ^ Harvati, Katerina (2021). "Profile at AcademiaNet". academia-net.org. Retrieved 2021-04-06.
  3. ^ "AitN: July 15, 2019". Columbia College Today. 2019-07-15. Retrieved 2022-01-26.
  4. ^ "Fall 2002 Colloquia at CUNY Graduate Center". gc.cuny.edu. Retrieved 2017-07-17.
  5. ^ "News release NYU 2004". nyu.edu. Retrieved 2017-07-17.
  6. ^ "New York Consortium in Evolutionary Primatology (NYCEP)". gc.cuny.edu. Retrieved 2017-07-17.
  7. ^ "News AAAS 2009". aaas.org. Retrieved 2017-07-17.
  8. ^ a b "Press Release 2014". mwk.baden-wuerttemberg.de. 29 October 2014. Retrieved 2017-07-17.
  9. ^ a b "Prof. Dr. Katerina Harvati-Papatheodorou". www.dfg.de. Retrieved 2021-04-06.
  10. ^ "National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina". Leopoldina.org.
  11. ^ "Management Genkyotex". genkyotex.com. Retrieved 2017-07-17.
  12. ^ Betts, Richard; Czerski, Helen; Butterworth, Jon; Mills, Anne; Rutherford, Adam; Lowell-Badge, Robin; Islam, Saiful; Jones, Julia; Scott, Sophie (2019-12-22). "The science stories that shaped 2019". The Observer. ISSN 0029-7712. Retrieved 2020-02-03.
  13. ^ "Scientists Find the Oldest Human Skull Outside of Africa". Discover Magazine. Retrieved 2020-02-03.
  14. ^ Contributor 2019-12-26T12:00:00Z, Owen Jarus-Live Science (26 December 2019). "The 10 Biggest Archaeology Discoveries of 2019". livescience.com. Retrieved 2020-02-03. {{cite web}}: |last= has generic name (help)CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  15. ^ "How This Decade of Archaeology Changed What We Know About Human Origins". Gizmodo. 29 October 2019. Retrieved 2020-02-03.
  16. ^ Mahr, Krista (2007-12-09). "Top 10 Everything of 2007 – TIME". Time. ISSN 0040-781X. Retrieved 2020-02-03.
  17. ^ "Press release of the University of Tübingen 2016". uni-tuebingen.de. Retrieved 2017-07-17.
  18. ^ "Attempto online". University of Tübingen. Retrieved 2023-05-23.
  19. ^ "Curriculum Vitae". www.wordsandbones.uni-tuebingen.de/. Retrieved 2017-07-17.
  20. ^ "News Article 2009". helleniccomserve.com. Retrieved 2017-07-17.

External links[edit]