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Alan Walker

Alan Walker

Evan Pugh Professor Emeritus of Anthropology and Biology

Curriculum Vitae

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  1. B.A., Cambridge University, 1962
  2. Ph.D., University of London, 1967


Areas of Specialization:

Dr. Walker is a paleoanthropologist who works on primate and human evolution, concentrating mainly on the Neogene record from East Africa.

Research Activities and Interests:

Dr. Walker endeavors to extract ancient behaviors from the fossil and taphonomic record. Teeth record information about an individual's diet and life history and semicircular canals are tuned to a species' rapidity of locomotion. Walker is collaborating with colleagues in other universities to quantify tooth wear in evaluating possible diets of extinct primates and has just finished a long term program with Dr. Tim Ryan of the Department and other colleagues of using high resolution CT scanning to quantify the semicircular canals of living and fossil primates.  He is also collaborating with Dr. Ryan on a study of the scaling phenomena in trabecular bone in primates, with a view to using the results to inform us about the use of the limbs in extinct forms.


Studies of living Madagascan lemurs, living East African primates; Excavations in England (Jurassic, Eocene, and Pleistocene); Excavations in Madagascar (Holocene); Excavations in Uganda (Miocene) and Kenya (Miocene and Plio/Pleistocene); Visits to many other sites, including all important ones in Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa.

Courses Taught:

ANTH 401H Human Evolution: Material Evidence (Syllabus)

Recent Publications:

  • Walker, A. (2007) Taphonomy and Site Formation of two Early Miocene sites on Rusinga Island, Kenya.  In Breathing Life into Fossils, Pickering, T., Shick, K., and Toth, N (eds) Stone Age Press, Gossport pp. 107-118.
  • Spoor, F., Garland, T. Jr., Krovitz, G., Ryan, T.M., Silcox, M.T., & Walker, A. (2007) 
    The Primate semicircular canal system and locomotion. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci.104:10808-10812.
  • Walker, A., Ryan, T.M., Silcox, M.T., Spoor, F., and Simons, E. (2008) The semicircular canal system and locomotion: the case of extinct lemuroids and lorisoids.  Evolutionary Anthropology 17:135-145.
  • Walker, A. (2009) The strength of apes and the speed of humans.  Current Anthropology 50:229-234.
  • Silcox, M.T., Bloch, J.I., Boyer, D.M., Godinot, M., Ryan, T.M., Spoor, F., & Walker, A. (2008) Semicircular canal system in early primates and euprimates. J. Hum. Evol. 56: 315-327.
  • Scott, J.R., Ungar, P.S., Jungers, W.L., Godfrey, L.R., Scott, R.S., Simons, E.L., Teaford, M.F., Walker, A. (2008) Dental microwear texture analysis of two families of subfossil lemurs from Madagascar.  . J. Hum. Evol. 56:405-416.
  • Ryan, T.M., Burney, D.A., Godfrey, L.R., Golich, U.B., Jungers, W.L., Vasey, N., Ramilisonina, Walker ,A., and Weber, G. (2008) A reconstruction of the Vienna skull of Hadropithecus stenognathus. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 105:10699-10702.