- Department Head, Anthropology, College of Arts and Sciences
- Professor, Anthropology, College of Arts and Sciences
I am a paleoanthropologist whose research focuses on the ecology and evolution of the early hominins of Africa. My research centers on the origin of the genus Homo, and on early representatives of that genus. In 2010, my research team and I announced the discovery of a new hominin species - Australopithecus sediba - from the site of Malapa in South Africa. Australopithecus sediba represents a curious mixture of both australopith-like and Homo-like morphologies, and based on this mosaic of characters, we hypothesized that it represents the australopith ancestor of the genus Homo. In 2015 my research team and I announced the discovery of another new hominin species - Homo naledi - from the site of Rising Star, also in South Africa. This species is especially fascinating in that it was likely contemporaneous with the earliest representatives of Homo sapiens, and, perhaps even more remarkable, that they appear to have deliberately disposed of their dead. I am also involved in a series of studies investigating the isotope ecology of modern South Africa in order to better contextualize the isotope ecology of the extinct hominins of South Africa.
I originally arrived at Texas A&M University in 2003, after receiving my PhD in Anatomical Sciences at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg in 2001. In 2009 I was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure, and was appointed to a Ray A. Rothrock '77 Fellowship for my efforts in research, teaching, and service leading up to tenure. In 2013 I was promoted to Full Professor, and in 2014 I was appointed to a Cornerstone Faculty Fellowship in Liberal Arts. In 2016 I was honored to receive a Distinguished Achievement Award in Research from the Association of Former Students at Texas A&M. I have been serving as the Department Head of Anthropology since July of 2019.
- Ph.D. in Palaeoanthropology, University of the Witwatersrand - (Johannesburg, South Africa) 2001
- M.A. in Anthropology, University of Manitoba - (Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada) 1995
- B.A. in Anthropology, University of Manitoba - (Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada) 1992
- Brophy, J. K., Elliott, M. C., De Ruiter, D. J., Bolter, D. R., Churchill, S. E., Walker, C. S., Hawks, J., & Berger, L. R. (2021). Immature Hominin Craniodental Remains From a New Locality in the Rising Star Cave System, South Africa. PaleoAnthropology. (1), 1-14.
- Brophy, J. K., Irish, J., Churchill, S. E., de Ruiter, D. J., Hawks, J., & Berger, L. R. (2019). A comparison of hominin teeth from Lincoln Cave, Sterkfontein L/63, and the Dinaledi Chamber, South Africa. SOUTH AFRICAN JOURNAL OF SCIENCE. 115(5-6), 102-104.
- de Ruiter, D. J., Laird, M. F., Elliott, M., Schmid, P., Brophy, J., Hawks, J., & Berger, L. R. (2019). Homo naledi cranial remains from the Lesedi chamber of the rising star cave system, South Africa.. J Hum Evol. 132, 1-14.
- Elliott, M. C., Quam, R., Nalla, S., de Ruiter, D. J., Hawks, J., & Berger, L. R. (2018). Description and analysis of three Homo naledi incudes from the Dinaledi Chamber, Rising Star cave (South Africa).. J Hum Evol. 122, 146-155.
- Williams, S. A., DeSilva, J. M., & De Ruiter, D. J. (2018). Special Issue: Australopithecus sediba --- Malapa at 10: Introduction to the Special Issue on Australopithecus sediba. PaleoAnthropology. 2018, 49-55.
- de Ruiter, D. J., Churchill, S. E., Hawks, J., & Berger, L. R. (2017). Late Australopiths and the Emergence of Homo. Annual Reviews.
- de Ruiter, D. (2022). Swartkrans: A Record of Paleoenvironmental Change in the Cradle of Humankind. Bobe, R., & Reynolds, S. C. (Eds.), African Paleoecology and Human Evolution. 102-119. Cambridge University Press.
- de Ruiter, D. (2022). Using the Faunal Community to Determine the Local Ecology for Early Hominins at Coopers Cave at 1.5 Ma. Bobe, R., & Reynolds, S. C. (Eds.), African Paleoecology and Human Evolution. 86-91. Cambridge University Press.
- de Ruiter, D. J., Churchill, S. E., & Berger, L. R. (2013). Australopithecussediba from Malapa, South Africa. The Paleobiology of Australopithecus. 147-160. Springer Nature.
- de Ruiter, D. J., Sponheimer, M., & Lee-Thorp, J. (2012). Animal palaeocommunity variability and habitat preference of the robust australopiths in South Africa. African Genesis. 451-470. Cambridge University Press (CUP).
- Sponheimer, M., Lee-Thorp, J. A., & de Ruiter, D. J. (2007). Icarus, isotopes, and australopith diets. Ungar, P. S. (Eds.), Evolution of the Human Diet: The Known, the Unknown, and the Unknowable. 132-149. Oxford University Press.
- Brophy, J. K., Elliott, M. C., Makhubela, T., De Ruiter, D. J., Hawks, J., & Berger, L. R. (2020). Craniodental fossils from a new locality in the Rising Star Cave System. AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL ANTHROPOLOGY. 171, 38-38.
- Brophy, J. K., De Ruiter, D. J., & Berger, L. R. (2019). Crown shape analysis of the maxillary dentition of Homo naledi. AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL ANTHROPOLOGY. 168, 29-30.
- Brophy, J. K., & De Ruiter, D. J. (2018). Investigating molar crown shape variation of australopithecines at Sterkfontein and Makapansgat, South Africa. AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL ANTHROPOLOGY. 165, 36-37.
- De Ruiter, D. J., Brophy, J. K., Van der Merwe, R., Smilg, J. S., Churchill, S. E., & Berger, L. R. (2018). New craniodental remains of the type specimen of Australopithecus sediba. AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL ANTHROPOLOGY. 165, 65-66.
- Sponheimer, M., Leichliter, J. N., Paine, O., De Ruiter, D. J., & Lee-Thorp, J. A. (2018). Paranthropus paleoenvironments in South Africa. AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL ANTHROPOLOGY. 165, 261-261.
- ANTH201 Intro To Anthropology Instructor
- ANTH225 Intro Biological Anthro Instructor
- ANTH312 Fossil Evid Human Evo Instructor
- ANTH370 Cultural Diversity & Ethics-uk Instructor
- ANTH409 Sci Pseudoscience Anth Instructor
- Carlson, Keely Britt (2014-08). Developmental Simulation of the Adult Cranial Morphology of Australopithecus sediba. (Doctoral Dissertation)
- Brophy, Juliet (2011-12). Reconstructing the Habitat Mosaic of Australopithecus robustus: Evidence from Quantitative Morphological Analysis of Bovid Teeth. (Doctoral Dissertation)