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., 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.. Journal of Human Evolution. 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). Journal of Human Evolution. 122, 146-155.
- Robinson, C., Campbell, T. L., Cote, S., & de Ruiter, D. J. (2018). Temporal ranges and ancestry in the hominin fossil record: The case of Australopithecus sediba. SOUTH AFRICAN JOURNAL OF SCIENCE. 114(3-4),
- Hawks, J., Elliott, M., Schmid, P., Churchill, S. E., de Ruiter, D. J., Roberts, E. M., ... Berger, L. R. (2017). New fossil remains of Homo naledi from the Lesedi Chamber, South Africa. Elife. 6,
- de Ruiter, D. J., Churchill, S. E., & Berger, L. R. (2013). Australopithecus sediba from Malapa, South Africa. Vertebrate Paleobiology and Paleoanthropology. (pp. 147-160). Springer Netherlands.
- 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. (pp. 132-149). Oxford University Press.
- de Ruiter, D. J. (2004). Relative abundance, skeletal part representation and accumulating agents of macromammals at Swartkrans. Swartkrans: a cave’s chronicle of early man, 2nd Ed.. (pp. 265-278). Transvaal Museum.
- 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.
- Campbell, T. L., Robinson, C., Cote, S., & De Ruiter, D. J. (2018). Specimen dates and species longevity: An evaluation of the use of temporal range data for questions of ancestry in the hominin fossil record. AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL ANTHROPOLOGY. 165, 41-41.
- Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship conferred by Wenner-Gren Foundation conferred by Wenner-Gren Foundation - (New York, New York, United States) 2002
- 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)