Terry Harrison

Professor of Anthropology; Chair

Ph.D. 1982, B.Sc. 1978, University College, London

Office Address: Rufus D. Smith Hall 25 Waverly Place New York, NY 10003


Phone: 212-998-8581

Fax: 212-995-4014

Areas of Research/Interest

Primate and human paleontology; evolutionary morphology; paleobiology; allometry; taphonomy; paleoecology; zooarchaeology; Europe, East Africa, and Asia.

External Affiliations

Director - Center for the Study of Human Origins


Selected Publications

“The evolutionary context of the first hominins.” Wood, B. & Harrison, T.  Nature 470: 347-352. 2011.

“Laetoli revisited: Renewed palaeontological and geological investigations at localities on the Eyasi Plateau in northern Tanzania.”  Harrison, T. In Harrison, T. (Editor) Paleontology and Geology of Laetoli: Human Evolution in Context.  Volume 1:  Geology, Geochronology, Paleoecology and Paleoenvironment, pp. 1-15.  Dordrecht: Springer. 2011.

“Hominins from the Upper Laetolil and Upper Ndolanya Beds, Laetoli.”  Harrison, T. In Harrison, T. (Editor) Paleontology and Geology of Laetoli: Human Evolution in Context.  Volume 2:  Fossil Hominins and the Associated Fauna, pp. 141-188.  Dordrecht: Springer. 2011.

“Paleontology and Geology of Laetoli, Tanzania: Human Evolution in Context. Volume 1:  Geology, Geochronology, Paleoecology and Paleoenvironment.” Harrison, T. (Editor) Dordrecht: Springer. 2011.

“Paleontology and Geology of Laetoli, Tanzania: Human Evolution in Context.  Volume 2:  Fossil Hominins and the Associated Fauna.” Harrison, T. (Editor) Dordrecht: Springer. 2011.

“Apes among the tangled branches of human origins.” Harrison, T. Science 327: 532-534. 2010.

“Later Tertiary Lorisiformes”  Harrison, T. In Werdelin, L. & Sanders, W.J. (Editors) Cenozoic Mammals of Africa, pp. 333-349.  Berkeley: University of California Press. 2010.

"Dendropithecoidea, Proconsuloidea and Hominoidea.” 
 Harrison, T. In Werdelin, L. & Sanders, W.J. (Editors) Cenozoic Mammals of Africa, pp. 429-469.  Berkeley: University of California Press. 2010.

“The anatomy and systematic position of a new species of early Miocene proconsulid from Meswa Bridge, Kenya.”  Harrison, T. & Andrews, P. Journal of Human Evolution 56: 479-496. 2009.

“Ecological implications of the relative rarity of fossil hominins at Laetoli.”  Su, D. & Harrison, T. Journal of Human Evolution 55: 672-681. 2008.

"Isotopic dietary reconstructions of Pliocene herbivores at Laetoli: Implications for hominin paleoecology." Kingston, J. & Harrison T. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 243: 272-306. 2007.

“The paleoecology of the Upper Laetolil Beds at Laetoli: A reconsideration of the large mammal evidence.” Su, D. & Harrison, T. In Bobe, R., Alemseged, Z. & Behrensmeyer, A.K. (Editors). Hominin Environments in the East African Pliocene: An Assessment of the Faunal Evidence, pp. 279-313. Dordrecht: Springer. 2007.

"Neanderthals Revisited: New Approaches and Perspectives."
Harvati, K. & Harrison, T. (Editors) Dordrecht: Springer. 2006

“Neogene Paleontology of the Manonga Valley, Tanzania: A Window into East African Evolutionary History.” Harrison, T. (Editor) New York: Plenum Press. 1997.

Current News / Projects
Updated November 2012

My recent research has focused on the search for early hominins in East Africa and on the paleobiology and evolutionary history of fossil apes from Africa and Asia.  

I am continuing with my long-term paleoanthropological investigations in East Africa at the renowned early hominin site of Laetoli in northern Tanzania (co-directed with Dr. Amandus Kweka of the National Museum of Tanzania).  The aims of the project are to recover additional remains of early hominins, and to learn more about their paleobiology, and paleoecology.  During the summer of 2012 we were fortunate enough to recover several exciting new fossil hominin specimens belonging to Australopithecus afarensis.

A critical component of my research project at Laetoli involves the reconstruction of the paleoecology of early hominins.  As part of this research, I have made a study of the systematics and paleobiology of a number of other taxa, including aardvarks, cercopithecid monkeys, bushbabies, ostriches, tortoises and snails.  In addition to synthesizing evidence from a wide variety of taxa, I am currently exploring the utility of different ecological proxies and methodological approaches for inferring paleoecology.  Studies of the fossil camels, chalicotheres and dik-diks from Laetoli are currently underway.

I recently published major review articles on Miocene African catarrhines and lorisoids respectively, including the description of two new species of fossil primates – Komba walkeri and Simiolus andrewsi.  I’m currently working on several projects relating to Proconsul and other Miocene catarrhines from East Africa including a revision of the alpha-taxonomy of Proconsul and the phylogenetic and functional implications of the vertebral column of Proconsul (with Bill Sanders at the University of Michigan).  I’m also collaborating with Yohannes Haile-Selassie (Cleveland Museum of Natural History) on a study of new fossil bushbabies from Woranso-Mille in Ethiopia.

I am also working on several collaborative projects on Miocene and Plio-Pleistocene primates from China.  A remarkable diversity of pliopithecids (primitive extinct relatives of Old World monkeys and apes) has been found in China in recent years, and I am deeply involved in their analysis and description.  I am in the process of reanalyzing (with Pan Yuerong) Laccopithecus from Yunnan, and describing a new genus and species (with Jin Changzhu) from Anhui Province. I am also describing new finds of Yuanmoupithecus (with Ji Xueping and Pan Yuerong) from the late Miocene of Yunnan, which represents the earliest known fossil gibbon.  I am also studying fossil hominoids from the Plio-Pleistocene of southern China, including Pongo, Gigantopithecus and an undescribed genus of ape (with Jin Changzhui, Wang Wei, Zhang Yingqi, and Russ Ciochon). Other ongoing projects on Miocene primates from Asia include a new look at late Miocene Old World monkeys from the Siwalik Hills in Indo-Pakistan (with Eric Delson).

More information on my research projects and my latest publications are available at http://www.nyu.edu/gsas/dept/anthro/programs/csho/pmwiki.php/Home/TerryHarrison

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