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Personal profile


Justin W. Adams, PhD is a Senior Lecturer in the Centre for Human Anatomy Education of the Department of Anatomy and Developmental Biology. Since 2003, Dr Adams has led fieldwork and faunal analysis at multiple sites in and around the Cradle of Humankind UNESCO World Heritage Site. His ongoing research projects and collaborations address outstanding questions on the palaeobiology of Pliocene and early Pleistocene South African mammalian faunas and the taphonomy and palaeoecology of palaeocave sites. His Integrated Morphology and Palaeontology lab brings together comparative methods and advanced 3D imaging resources to the study of living and fossil mammal anatomy.

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Research interests

Neogene and Quarternary mammal palaeontology and evolution, Australian marsupial anatomy and evolution, South African faunal palaeoecology and taphonomy, human and comparative anatomy, comparative methods, imaging studies, biochronology

External positions

Research Associate, University of Johannesburg

1 Jan 2017 → …

Research area keywords

  • Comparative mammalian anatomy
  • Neogene mammal palaeontology
  • Comparative methods
  • Imaging studies
  • Biochronology
  • Palaeoecology
  • Taphonomy

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Projects 2014 2020

Evolving landscapes of our early South African ancestors

Herries, A., Adams, J., Strait, D., Fink, D., Joannes-Boyau, R., Menter, C. & Birkett-Rees, J.


Project: Research

Understanding the evolution of human diet through digital anatomy and dental biomechanics

Fiorenza, L., Adams, J., Herries, A., Joannes-Boyau, R., Wroe, S., Benazzi, S., Kullmer, O. & Evans, A.


Project: Other

The Haasgat hominin site (South Africa): excavation and palaeobiological integration

Adams, J., Kegley, A., Tallman, M. & Herries, A.

Leakey Foundation


Project: Research

Research Output 2005 2019

Advanced 3D printed model of middle cerebral artery aneurysms for neurosurgery simulation

Nagassa, R. G., McMenamin, P. G., Adams, J. W., Quayle, M. R. & Rosenfeld, J. V., 1 Aug 2019, In : 3D Printing in Medicine. 5, 12 p., 11.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Open Access

Combining legacy data with new drone and DGPS mapping to identify the provenance of Plio-Pleistocene fossils from Bolt’s Farm, Cradle of Humankind (South Africa)

Edwards, T. R., Armstrong, B., Birkett-Rees, J., Blackwood, A. F., Herries, A. I. R., Penzo-Kajewski, P., Pickering, R. & Adams, J. W., 14 Jan 2019, In : PeerJ. 7, 23 p., 6202.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Open Access
1 Citation (Scopus)

Elemental signatures in Australopithecus africanus teeth reveal seasonal dietary stress

Joannes-Boyau, R., Adams, J. W., Austin, C., Arora, M., Moffat, I., Herries, A. I. R., Tonge, M. P., Benazzi, S., Evans, A. R., Kullmer, O., Wroe, S., Dosseto, A. & Fiorenza, L., 15 Jul 2019, In : Nature. 572, p. 112-115 4 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Integrating palaeocaves into palaeolandscapes: An analysis of cave levels and karstification history across the Gauteng Malmani dolomite, South Africa

Herries, A. I. R., Adams, J. W., Joannes-Boyau, R., Armstrong, B., Baker, S., F. Blackwood, A., Boshian, G., V. Caruana, M., Penzo-Kajewski, P., Murszewski, A. & Rovinsky, D. S., 15 Sep 2019, In : Quaternary Science Reviews. 220, p. 310-334 25 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Speleothem evidence for C 3 dominated vegetation during the Late Miocene (Messinian) of South Africa

Hopley, P. J., Reade, H., Parrish, R., De Kock, M. & Adams, J. W., May 2019, In : Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology. 264, p. 75-89 15 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Press / Media

Early humans breastfed their young for a year, study says

Renaud Joannes-Boyau, Ian Moffat, Justin Adams, Luca Fiorenza & Alistair Evans


18 items of Media coverage, 2 Media contributions

Press/Media: Article/Feature