DR KERRYN WARREN
Palaeoanthropologist, Researcher and Science Communicator
Researching evolution education in South Africa and trying to understand how the processes of evolution affect the diversity we see in the human fossil record.
I am a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Cape Town, researching evolution education and funded by the Centre of Excellence in Palaeosciences. I am still actively researching projects stemming from my PhD on identifying hybridization in the human fossil record (e.g. detecting which bones might belong to a human-Neanderthal hybrid!) While my research often involves deeply analytical/statistical methodologies, I strongly believe in making my science accessible and fun and have a passion for education and science communication! I also have the fantastic privilege of being on the Rising Star team of excavators, and am therefore one of the new "underground astronauts".
MY EDUCATION AND CAREER
A brief synopsis
POSTDOCTORAL FELLOWSHIP (UCT)
Nov, 2018 - Present
The Evolution Education Project, funded by the Centre of Excellence in Palaeosciences, DST) aims to understand whether small additions to the CAPS High School Life Sciences Curriculum could facilitate understanding and acceptance of evolution among learners.
RISING STAR UNDERGROUND ASTRONAUT
Nov, 2018 - Present
I am privileged to now belong to an exclusive team of excavators involved in excavating out, and understanding the context of, the remains of Homo naledi. These enigmatic, small-brained hominins, found in the Rising Star Cave System are of immense interest to scientists and the broader public alike!
DATA SCIENTIST AND STAKEHOLDER ENGAGEMENT (SAEON)
Dec, 2017 - Aug, 2018
My time at the South African Environmental Observation Network involved creating and updating databases and reports for the BioEnergy Atlas. Here, working closely with government and researchers alike, for the purpose of producing informative tools to aid in policy-making, I was able to understand the nuances of using research and data science to help with public decision-making.
LECTURING AND COURSE CONVENING
Jun, 2017 - Dec, 2018
I have several years of course convening, lecturing and tutor-administrative experience at the University of Cape Town. With this experience, my lecturing philosophies have largely aligned with the spirit of transformation of the discipline of archaeology and an attempt to decolonise curricula.
PHD IN ARCHAEOLOGY
Feb, 2013 - Feb, 2017
Under the Hybrid Mouse Research Project, my PhD research looked at how hybridization between various mouse species and subspecies effects the morphology of hybrids to inform on a mammalian model of hybridization. In my thesis and subsequent publications, I proposed that these models may be used to identify hybridization in the hominin fossil record.
MASTERS IN ARCHAEOLOGY
Feb, 2011 - Feb, 2013
My Masters Thesis, on population variation in the Iron Age of southern Africa (and subsequent publications), was instrumental in the beginnings of my research career. Here, I used dental anthropology and 3D modeling of human crania to highlight comparisons among population groups within the Iron Age.
IN THE NEWS AND POPULAR MEDIA
May 15, 2018
May 21, 2019
April 18, 2017
Jan 30, 2019