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Richard G. Klein

richard klein

Richard G. Klein

Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor of Anthropology and Biology
Ph.D. Chicago, 1966
Research Interests: 
Paleoanthropology; Africa, Europe


Professor Klein researches the archeological and fossil evidence for the evolution of human behavior. He has done fieldwork in Spain and especially in South Africa, where he has excavated ancient sites and analyzed the excavated materials since 1969. He has focused on the behavioral changes that allowed anatomically modern Africans to spread to Eurasia about 50,000 years ago, where they swamped or replaced the Neanderthals and other non-modern Eurasians.

After earning his undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan, Professor Klein went to the University of Chicago to pursue his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees. Following receipt of his doctorate, he taught at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Northwestern University, the University of Washington, and for 20 years at the University of Chicago. He came to Stanford from Chicago in 1993.

Professor Klein has served on numerous editorial and advisory boards, he has edited The Journal of Archaeological Science since 1981, and he co-chairs the Grants Committee of the L.S.B. Leakey Foundation. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the National Academy of Sciences.

Selected Articles

2019  Population structure and the evolution of Homo sapiens in Africa. Evolutionary Anthropology 38: 179-188. (DOI: 10.1002/evan.21788)

2018  Hominin dispersals in the Old World. In (Scarre, C. Ed.) The Human Past: World Prehistory & the Development of Human Societies, Fourth Edition, pp. 71-107. London: Thames & Hudson.

2017  Counting and miscounting sheep: genetic evidence for pervasive misclassification of wild fauna as domestic stock. Southern African Humanities 30: 53-69 (with K. A. Horsburgh and J. V. Moreno-Mayer).

2017  Finding the First Americans. Science 358 (6363): 592-594. (with Todd J. Braje, Tom D. Dillehay, Jon M. Erlandson, and Torben C. Rick).

2017  Language and human evolution. Journal of Neurolinguistics 43, 204-221.

2016  Large mammal and tortoise bones from Elands Bay Cave: Implications for Later Stone Age environment and ecology. Southern African Humanities: 29: 259–282 (with Kathryn Cruz-Uribe).

2016  Shellfishing and human evolution. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 44:198-205. (with Douglas W. Bird).

2016  Beware the springbok in sheep's clothing: How secure are the faunal identifications upon which we build our models? African Archaeological Review 33: 1-9. (with K. Ann Horsburgh and Jayson Orton)

2013  Archaeological shellfish size and later human evolution in Africa. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 110: 10910-10915 (with Teresa Steele).

2013  The Middle and Later Stone Age faunal remains from Diepkloof Rock Shelter, Western Cape, South Africa. Journal of Archaeological Science 40: 3453-3462 (with Teresa Steele).

2013  Modern Human Origins. General Anthropology 20(1):1-4.

2013  Hominin dispersals in the Old World. In (Scarre, C. Ed.) The Human Past: World Prehistory & the Development of Human Societies, Third Edition, pp. 84-123. London: Thames & Hudson.

2013  Early dates for cattle from Namaqualand, South Africa: implications for the origins of herding in southern Africa. Antiquity 87: 108–120 (with Jayson Orton, Peter Mitchell, Teresa Steele, and K. Ann Horsburgh).

2011  Two Holocene rock shelter deposits from the Knersvlakte, southern Namaqualand, South Africa. Southern African Humanities 23: 109-150 (with J. Orton, A. Mackay, S. Schwortz, and T. E. Steele).

2011  Review of fossil phocid and otariid seals from the southern and western coasts of South Africa. Transactions of the Royal Society of South Africa 66: 14-24 (with G. Avery).

2011  The abundance of eland, buffalo, and wild pigs in Middle and Later Stone Age sites. Journal of Human Evolution: 60 309-314 (with T. D. Weaver and T. E. Steele).

2010  Comment on the paleoenvironment of Ardipithecus ramidus. Science 328: 1105d (with T. E. Cerling, N. E. Levin, J. Quade, J. G. Wynn, D. L. Fox, J. D. Kingston, and F. H. Brown).

2010  A Howiesons Poort tradition of engraving ostrich eggshell containers dated to 60,000 years ago at Diepkloof Rock Shelter, South Africa. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 107: 6180-6185 (with P-J. Texier, G. Porraz, J. Parkington, J-Ph. Rigaud, C. Miller, C. Tribolo, C. Cartwright, A. Coudennau. T. E. Steele, and C. Verna).

2010  Morphometric identification of bovid metapodials to genus and implications for taxon-free habitat reconstruction. Journal of Archaeological Science 37: 389-401 (with R. G. Franciscus and T. E. Steele).

2009  Darwin and the recent African origin of modern humans. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 106 (38): 16007–16009.

2008  Out of Africa and the evolution of human behavior.  Evolutionary Anthropology 17: 267–281.

2007 The mammalian fauna associated with a fossil hominin skull and later Acheulean artifacts at Elandsfontein, Western Cape Province, South Africa.  Journal of Human Evolution 52: 164-186.

2004 The Ysterfontein 1 Middle Stone Age site, South Africa, and early human exploitation of coastal resources. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 101: 5708-15.