Katerina Harvati

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Katerina Harvati is a Greek paleoanthropologist and expert in early human evolution. She specializes in the broad application of 3-D geometric morphometric and virtual anthropology methods to paleoanthropology. Since 2009, she has been full professor and director of Paleoanthropology at the University of Tübingen, Germany.[1]


Harvati is a graduate of Columbia University, New York, where she earned a B.A. in Anthropology 1994 (summa cum laude).[2] 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 CUNY in 2001[3] she worked as an assistant professor at New York University. From 2004 to 2009, she was senior researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology[4] in Leipzig, Germany. In 2005, she became also adjunct associate professor at the City University of New York Graduate School[5] and 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.[6] Harvati is married to the Greek biotechnology executive Elias Papatheodorou.[7] 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 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. As part of international teams of scientists, Harvati showed in 2007 that modern humans left Africa between 65,000 and 25,000 years ago, a publication that TIME magazine ranked as one out of Top Ten discoveries of the year.[8] In 2011, she identified the earliest modern human remains known in Europe from Grotta del Cavallo, Southern Italy (Benazzi et al 2011); and in 2017 demonstrated that modern humans evolved much earlier than previously thought, around 300,000 years ago in Morocco (Hublin et al. 2017). Harvati led recent breakthroughs in the understanding of Neanderthal behaviour: her team’s research refuted long held assumptions about increased levels of violence and traumatic injuries relative to modern humans (Beier et al. 2018) and demonstrated that Neanderthals regularly performed precise manipulative activities, contrary to previous beliefs (Karakostis et al. 2018). Finally, Harvati's work has spearheaded paleolithic and paleoanthropological research in South-East Europe (Harvati and Roskandic 2016, Tourloukis and Harvati 2018). She has received two grants of the European Research Council, one ERC Starting Grant in 2011, and one ERC Consolidator Grant in 2016.[9] In addition, she directs a Centre for Advanced Studies on linguistic, cultural and biological trajectories of the human past since 2015.[10]


  • 2016 ERC Consolidator Grant
  • 2014 Research Prize of Baden-Württemberg for basic research[11]
  • 2011 ERC Starting Grant
  • 2009 Hellenes abroad award - Woman of the year 2009, Europe[12]
  • 2000 City University of New York Dissertation Year Fellowship
  • 1998 American Museum of Natural History Fellowship (Anthropology and Paleontology)
  • 1997 Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation Doctoral Fellowship


  • Beier J., Anthes N., Wahl J., Harvati K. 2018. Similar cranial trauma prevalence among Neanderthals and Upper Paleolithic humans. Nature 563, 686-69.
  • Karakostis F.A., Hotz G., Tourloukis V., Harvati K. 2018. Evidence for precision grasping in Neandertal daily activities. Science Advances 4, eaat2369.
  • Tourloukis V., Harvati K. 2018. The Palaeolithic record of Greece: a synthesis of the evidence and a research agenda for the future. Quaternary International, SI Filling the Geographic Gaps in the Human Evolutionary Story, 466, 48-65.
  • Benazzi S., Douka K., Fornai C., Bauer C. C., Kullmer O., Svoboda J., Pap I., Mallegni F., Bayle P., Coquerelle M., Condemi S., Ronchitelli A., Harvati K., Weber G. W. 2011. Early dispersal of modern humans in Europe and implications for Neanderthal behavior. Nature 479, 525-528.
  • Hublin J.J., Ben-Ncer A., Bailey S., Freideline S., Neubauer S., Skinner M.M., Bergmann I., Le Cabec A., Benazzi S., Harvati K., Gunz P. 2017. New fossils from Jebel Irhoud (Morocco) and the Pan-African origin of Homo sapiens. Nature 546, 289-292.
  • Reyes-Centeno H., Harvati K., Jäger G. 2016. Tracking modern human population history from linguistic and cranial phenotype. Scientific Reports. DOI: 10.1038/srep36645.
  • Harvati K, Roksandic, M. (Eds.) 2016. Paleoanthropology of the Balkans and Anatolia: Human Evolution and its Context. Vertebrate Paleobiology and Paleoanthropology Series, Springer: Dordrecht.
  • Harvati K. 2015. Neanderthals and their contemporaries. In: W. Henke and I. Tattersall (eds.) Handbook of Paleoanthropology, 2nd Edition. Springer, pp. 2243-2279.
  • Reyes-Centeno H., Ghirotto S., Détroit F., Grimaud-Hervé D., Barbujani G, Harvati K. 2014. Genomic and Cranial Phenotype Data Support Multiple Modern Human Dispersals from Africa and a Southern Route into Asia. PNAS 111, 7248-7253.
  • Harvati, K and Harrison, T. 2006. Neanderthals Revisited: New Approaches and Perspectives. Springer: Dordrecht. ISBN 978-1-4020-5120-3.
  • Harvati K., Frost S.R. and McNulty K.P. 2004. Neanderthal taxonomy reconsidered: Implications of 3D primate models of intra- and inter-specific differences. PNAS 101, 1147-1152.


  1. ^ "Department of Geosciences at the University of Tübingen". uni-tuebingen.de. Retrieved 2017-07-17.
  2. ^ "Profile at AcademiaNet". academia-net.org. Retrieved 2017-07-17.
  3. ^ "Fall 2002 Colloquia at CUNY Graduate Center". gc.cuny.edu. Retrieved 2017-07-17.
  4. ^ "News release NYU 2004". nyu.edu. Retrieved 2017-07-17.
  5. ^ "New York Consortium in Evolutionary Primatology (NYCEP)". gc.cuny.edu. Retrieved 2017-07-17.
  6. ^ "News AAAS 2009". aaas.org. Retrieved 2017-07-17.
  7. ^ "Management Genkyotex". genkyotex.com. Retrieved 2017-07-17.
  8. ^ "Top 10 Scientific Discoveries". time.com/. Retrieved 2017-07-17.
  9. ^ "Press release of the University of Tübingen 2016". uni-tuebingen.de. Retrieved 2017-07-17.
  10. ^ "Curriculum Vitae". www.wordsandbones.uni-tuebingen.de/. Retrieved 2017-07-17.
  11. ^ "Press Release 2014". mwk.baden-wuerttemberg.de. Retrieved 2017-07-17.
  12. ^ "News Article 2009". helleniccomserve.com. Retrieved 2017-07-17.

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