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Pat Shipman

Pat Shipman

Adjunct Professor of Anthropology

315 Carpenter Building

Curriculum Vitae

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  1. B.A., Smith College,1970
  2. M.A., New York University, 1973
  3. Ph.D., New York University, 1977


Research Activities and Interests:

Dr. Shipman is an internationally-recognized expert in the taphonomy, the study of how living animals are transformed into skeletons and then fossils.  Her research focuses on learning how to reconstruct the ecology of ancient environments from preserved fossils and how to determine whether the fossils in an assemblage are the remains of the activities of early human ancestors or not. She pioneered the use of scanning electron microscopy in diagnosing cutmarks on archaeological or fossil bones. Shipman's research as involved fossil and archaeological bone assemblages from Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Italy, France,  Indonesia, and various sites in North and South America. She was part of the team that established convincing proof of cannibalism in Neolithic France and also identified the earliest known bone tools in the world. In recent years, she has written several books for general audiences. The topics include the history of anthropology and the discovery and interpretation of fossils. She is fascinated by the question: who makes discoveries and how they are interpreted? Why is one discovery widely accepted and another rejected?  She has written three biographies: one of Eugene Dubois, the Dutch anatomist who discovered the "missing link"; one of Florence Baker, a Victorian lady who explored Africa searching for the source of the Nile;  and one of Mata Hari, the infamous Oriental dancer and convicted World War I spy. She has also written popular books about Neandertals, race,Homo erectus, and the fossil ape, Proconsul. She plans to tackle the controversial questions about what makes us humans and what has shaped our evolutionary history for her next book.

For information concerning Dr. Shipman's research:


  • 2000   Shipman, Pat. "Doubting Dmanisi." American Scientist vol. 88: 491-494.
  • 2001    Shipman, Pat. "Missing Links: A Scientist Reconstructs Biography."  American Scholar vol. 70, no. 1: 81-86.
  • Shipman, Pat. "What can you do with a bone fragment?" PNAS vol. 98, no. 4:1335-1337.
  • Shipman, Pat. "On the Nature of Violence." American Scientist vol. 89, 488-489. Reprinted in The Penn Stater vol. 89, no. 2, 44-47.
  • Shipman, Pat. "Telling Science." Research/Penn State May, 2001, 3. Reprinted in Social Science Education Consortium Bulletin vol. 10, no. 1, 8.
  • 2002   Shipman, Pat, "Hunting the First Hominid." American Scientist. Vol. 90, no. 1.
  • Shipman, Pat. “A Worm’s Eye View of Human Evolution.” American Scientist, vol 90, p. 508-510.
  • 2003    Shipman, Pat. "We are all Africans." American Scientist. Vol. 91(6): 496-498.
  • 2004    Shipman, Pat. "Telling Science." April.
  • Shipman, Pat. "Growing up Neandertal." American Scientist. Vol. 92 (6): 506-508.
  • Shipman. Pat. "Bandwürmer; Zeugen der Menschwerdung." Spektrum Oktober: 110-112.
  • 2005   Shipman, Pat. "Being Stalked by Intelligent Design." American Scientist. 93:500-503.
  • 2006 Shipman, Pat. “Missing Links and Found Links.” American Scientist.
  • Shipman, Pat.  “Penn State Research Yields New Insights into the Cause of   Diabetes.” Press release.