Sally Reynolds

Dr Sally Reynolds

  • 01202 965080
  • sreynolds at bournemouth dot ac dot uk
  • Senior Lecturer in Hominin Palaeoecology and Deputy Head of ISLHE
  • Christchurch House C238b, Talbot Campus, Fern Barrow, Poole, BH12 5BB
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I am a South African born mammalian palaeontologist, working on African Plio-Pleistocene fauna as a means to understand hominin palaeoecology. I did my BA at the University of Pretoria (1996) and my BA (hons) and MSc at the University of the Witwatersrand (1998, 2002). I did my PhD degree at the Liverpool John Moores University (2005).

Since 2014 I have been empoyed at Bournemouth University as Senior Lecturer in Hominin Palaeoecology and also the Deputy Head of the Institute for Studies of Landscape and Human Evolution (ISLHE) here at BU.

I am interested in how landscapes, and the individual biology of species interact to create patterns of speciation, adaptation, range change and finally extinction.

I am currently supervising two PhD students on aspects of the hominin habitats (as evidence through mutiproxy toothwear analysis and isotopic studies of antelope teeth through time) and a third student on the role of quality of sleeping platforms in the increased brain function over the course of human evolution.


I am using modern dental wear on human volunteers of known plants to create a record of distinctive tooth wear associated with African edible plants that hominin and ancient peoples may have used as part of their staple diet. Examples include Egyptian papyrus stalks and rhisomes (Cyperus papyrus).

We are currently using remote sensing to characterize the behaviour of certain landscapes and wetlands over decadal time-scales. This research is indicating that certain wetland areas are able to buffer against the local drying trends and provide a degree of localised refuge from climatic extremes. This has important implications for how we view and understand palaeo-wetlands, like Olduvai Gorge, which hosted hominin species over many millennia.

Journal Articles

  • Altamura, F., Bennett, M.R., D'Aout, K., Gaudzinski-Windheuser, S., Melis, R.T., Reynolds, S.C. and Mussi, M., 2018. Archaeology and ichnology at Gombore II-2, Melka Kunture, Ethiopia: everyday life of a mixed-age hominin group 700,000 years ago. SCIENTIFIC REPORTS, 8.
  • Belvedere, M., Bennett, M.R., Marty, D., Budka, M., Reynolds, S.C. and Bakirov, R., 2018. Stat-tracks and mediotypes: powerful tools for modern ichnology based on 3D models. PEERJ, 6.
  • Sewell, L., Merceron, G., Hopley, P.J., Zipfel, B. and Reynolds, S.C., 2018. Using springbok (Antidorcas) dietary proxies to reconstruct inferred palaeovegetational changes over 2 million years in Southern Africa. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports.
  • Cuthbert, M.O., Gleeson, T., Reynolds, S.C., Bennett, M.R., Newton, A.C., McCormack, C.J. and Ashley, G.M., 2017. Modelling the role of groundwater hydro-refugia in East African hominin evolution and dispersal. NATURE COMMUNICATIONS, 8.
  • Bennett, M.R., Reynolds, S.C., Morse, S.A. and Budka, M., 2016. Footprints and human evolution: Homeostasis in foot function? PALAEOGEOGRAPHY PALAEOCLIMATOLOGY PALAEOECOLOGY, 461, 214-223.
  • Reynolds, S.C., Marston, C.G., Hassani, H., King, G.C.P. and Bennett, M.R., 2016. Environmental hydro-refugia demonstrated by vegetation vigour in the Okavango Delta, Botswana. SCIENTIFIC REPORTS, 6.
  • Kubler, S., Rucina, S., Reynolds, S., Owenga, P., Bailey, G. and King, G.C.P., 2016. Edaphic and topographic constraints on exploitation of the Central Kenya Rift by large mammals and early hominins. Open Quaternary, 2 (5), 1-18.
  • Marston, C.G., Giraudoux, P., Armitage, R.P., Danson, F.M., Reynolds, S.C., Wang, Q., Qiu, J. and Craig, P.S., 2016. Vegetation phenology and habitat discrimination: Impacts for E. multilocularis transmission host modelling. REMOTE SENSING OF ENVIRONMENT, 176, 320-327.
  • Bennett, M.R., Reynolds, S.C., Morse, S.A. and Budka, M., 2016. Laetoli's lost tracks: 3D generated mean shape and missing footprints. SCIENTIFIC REPORTS, 6.
  • Kuebler, S., Owenga, P., Reynolds, S.C., Rucina, S.M. and King, G.C.P., 2015. Animal movements in the Kenya Rift and evidence for the earliest ambush hunting by hominins. SCIENTIFIC REPORTS, 5.
  • Reynolds, S.C., Wilkinson, D.M., Marston, C.G. and O'Regan, H.J., 2015. The ‘mosaic habitat’ concept in human evolution: past and present. Transactions of the Royal Society of South Africa, Vol. 70 (1).
  • Deves, M.H., Reynolds, S., King, G.C.P., Kuebler, S., Sturdy, D. and Godet, N., 2015. Insights from Earth Sciences into Human Evolution studies: The example of prehistoric landscape use in Africa and the Levant. COMPTES RENDUS GEOSCIENCE, 347 (4), 201-211.
  • Reynolds, S.C., 2012. Nyctereutes terblanchei: The raccoon dog that never was. South African Journal of Science, 108 (1/2).
  • Reynolds, S.C., 2012. Nyctereutes terblanchei: The raccoon dog that never was. SOUTH AFRICAN JOURNAL OF SCIENCE, 108 (1-2), 64-73.
  • Reynolds, S.C. and Kibii, J.M., 2011. Sterkfontein at 75: review of paleoenvironments, fauna, dating and archaeology from the hominin site of Sterkfontein (Gauteng Province, South Africa). Palaeontologia africana, 46, 59-88.
  • Reynolds, S.C., Bailey, G.N. and King, G.C.P., 2011. Landscapes and their relation to hominin habitats: Case studies from Australopithecus sites in eastern and southern Africa. Journal of Human Evolution, 60, 281-298.
  • Bailey, G.N., Reynolds, S.C. and King, G.C.P., 2011. Landscapes of human evolution: models and methods of tectonic geomorphology and the reconstruction of hominin landscapes. Journal of Human Evolution, 60, 257-280.
  • Reynolds, S.C., 2010. Morphological evaluation of genetic evidence for a Pleistocene extirpation of eastern African impala. South African Journal of Science, 106 (11/12).
  • Reynolds, S.C., 2010. Where the Wild Things Were: Spatial and Temporal Distribution of Carnivores in the Cradle of Humankind (Gauteng, South Africa) in Relation to the Accumulation of Mammalian and Hominin Assemblages. Journal of Taphonomy, 8 (2-3), 233-257.
  • O' Regan, H.J. and Reynolds, S.C., 2009. An ecological reassessment of the southern African carnivore guild: a case study from Member 4, Sterkfontein, South Africa. Journal of Human Evolution, 57, 212-222.
  • Reynolds, S.C., 2008. Sterkfontein Early Hominid Site in the 'Cradle of Humankind'. SOUTH AFRICAN ARCHAEOLOGICAL BULLETIN, 63 (188), 177.
  • Reynolds, S.C., 2007. Mammalian body size changes and Plio-Pleistocene environmental shifts: implications for understanding hominin evolution in eastern and southern Africa. Journal of Human Evolution, 53, 528-548.
  • Reynolds, S.C., Clarke, R.J. and Kuman, K.A., 2007. The view from the Lincoln Cave: mid- to late Pleistocene fossil deposits from Sterkfontein hominid site, South Africa. Journal of Human Evolution, 53, 260-271.
  • Reynolds, S.C., 2007. Temporal variation in Plio- Pleistocene Antidorcas (Mammalia: Bovidae) horncores: the case from Bolt's Farm and why size matters. South African Journal of Science, 103, 47-50.
  • Reynolds, S.C., 2006. Temporal changes in vegetation and mammalian communities during Oxygen Isotope Stage 3 at Sibudu Cave. Southern African Humanities V, 18 (1), 301-314.
  • Reynolds, S.C., Vogel, J.C., Clarke, R.C. and Kuman, K.A., 2003. Preliminary results of excavations at Lincoln Cave, Sterkfontein, South Africa. South African Journal of Science, 99 (May/June), 286-288.
  • Thackeray, J.F. and Reynolds, S.C., 1997. Variability in Plio-Pleistocene climates, habitats, and ungulate biomass in southern Africa. South African Journal of Science, 93, 171-172.


  • African Genesis: Perspectives on Hominin Evolution. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


  • Reynolds, S., 2015. The role of landscapes in shaping hominin habitats in Africa. In: Sankhyan, A., ed. Recent Discoveries and Perspectives in Human Evolution Papers arising from ‘Exploring Human Origins: Exciting Discoveries at the Start of the 21st Century’ Manchester 2013. Oxford: Archaeopress, 68-76.
  • Reynolds, S.C., 2012. African Genesis: an evolving paradigm. In: Reynolds, S.C. and Gallagher, A., eds. African Genesis: Perspectives on Hominin Evolution ,. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1-18.
  • Reynolds, S.C. and Bishop, L.C., 2006. Craniodental variability in modern and fossil Plains zebra (Equus burchellii Gray 1824) from East and southern Africa. Equids in Time and Space: Papers in Honour of Véra Eisenmann. Oxford: Oxbow Books, 49-60.
  • Bishop, L.C. and Reynolds, S.C., 2000. Fauna from Twin Rivers. Middle Stone Age of Zambia. Bristol: Western Academic & Specialist Press, 217-222.


  • Reynolds, S.C., 2015. The role of landscapes in shaping hominin habitats in Africa. In: 17th World Congress of the International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences (IUAES 2013): Evolving Humanity, Emerging Worlds 5-10 August 2013 Manchester, UK.
  • Reynolds, S.C. and King, G., 2007. Understanding hominin use of topographically complex landscapes at Sterkfontein (South Africa) during the last 3.5 million years. 1123.
  • Reynolds, S.C., Vogel, J.C., Clarke, R.J. and Kuman, K.A., 2003. Preliminary results of excavations at Lincoln Cave, Sterkfontein, South Africa. 286-288.


  • Reynolds, S.C., 2005. Geographic variation in selected African mammalian taxa: a comparison of modern and fossil conspecifics. PhD Thesis. School of Biological and Earth Sciences, Liverpool John Moores University.

PhD Students

  • Emma Hankinson. Orang-utan (Pongo abelii) sleep architecture: Exploring the importance of a good night’s sleep and sleeping platform construction for cognitive functioning in the Hominidae
  • Lucile Crete. Fossil Antelope teeth and remote sensing of contemporary African vegetation to reconstruct hominin habitats
  • Emma Hankinsom. Exploring the importance of sleeping platforms for sleep quality and smart landscape use in homininds
  • Lauren Sewell, 2018. Using a multiproxy analysis of springbok fossils to track 2 million years of vegetation changes as experienced by hominins in southern Africa

Profile of Teaching PG

  • Masters Human Evolution

Profile of Teaching UG

  • Unit Leader for AAFS Study Skills (Level C)
  • Unit Leader for International Investigations (Level H)

Public Engagement & Outreach Activities

  • Meet the Scientist Day at Thomas Hardey School, Dorchester


  • Higher Education Academy, Associate (2013-),
The data on this page was last updated at 04:03 on March 21, 2018.