Dr Pia NystromPia Nystrom

Senior University Teacher in Biological Anthropology and Primatology

Estates and Resources Officer

Deputy Health and Safety Officer

BA, MA and PhD in Anthropology from Washington University, St. Louis, MO, USA

Email address: p.nystrom@sheffield.ac.uk

Telephone: +44 (0)114 2222902

Department address:

Department of Archaeology
University of Sheffield
Minalloy House. Room D01
10 – 16 Regent Street
S1 3NJ
United Kingdom



At the university I studied Physical Anthropology with a special focus on Primatology. I received my PhD in 1992 (thesis title: Mating success of Hamadryas, Anubis and Hybrid male baboons in a "mixed" social group in the Awash National Park, Ethiopia). Following graduation I held a postdoctoral research position in the Neurobiology Department at Harvard Medical School studying primate neurobiology and the effects of stress on the brain and behaviour.

I moved to the UK in 1994 to take up a post as a visiting lecturer at the University of Liverpool and joined the University of Sheffield in 1995. I have conducted research projects in Europe (the Czech Republic, Romania) and in Africa (Ethiopia, Tanzania, South Africa).

Professional Roles

Member of the following:

  • American Association of Physical Anthropology
  • British Association of Biological Anthropology
  • International Primatological Society
  • Primate Society of Great Britain
  • North of England Primate Group.

Research interests

I have many research interests but there are three topics which are of special interest:

  • examination of skeletal pathology in non-human primates using standards developed for the human species, examining the influence of age, sex, positional behaviour, and captivity. The aim is to establish if non-human primates suffer from the same range of skeletal pathologies as frequently noted in extant, historic and prehistoric human populations
  • reconstruction of diet in past societies, especially on an individual level, and how diet impact on individual health, wealth and position within a population
  • the position of children in past societies, their health and well-being and how well integrated they were within the adult social world

Research supervision

I have supervised and co-supervised PhD and MSc dissertations on a wide range of topics within the remit of Biological Anthropology including diet, health and well-being in past human populations, growth and development in humans and non-human primates, laterality and origins of language, use of primate behavior as models for hominins.

My interests are fairly broad, but I would be especially interested in supervision research students who have interests in:

  • growth and development, especially from a comparative primate perspective
  • diet, health and well-being in past human populations
  • skeletal pathology in non-human primates especially as it pertains to degenerative disease

Selected publications

  • Harrison RM, Nystrom P. 2010. Handedness in captive gorillas (Gorilla gorilla). Primates 51(3):251-261
  • Mahoney-Swales D, Nystrom P. 2009. Skeletal manifestation of non-adult scurvy from early medieval Northumbria: The Black Gate Cemetery, Newcastle-upon-Tyne. In ME Lewis and M Clegg editors. Proceedings of the Ninth Annual Conference of the British Association for Biological Anthropology and Osteoarchaeology, pp. 31-41. British Archaeology Reports International Series 1918. Oxford: Archaeopress
  • Nystrom P. 2008. Dental microwear signatures of an early LBK population from Vedrovice, Moravia, the Czeck Republic. Anthropologie 46 (2-3):161-173
  • Nystrom P, Ashmore P. 2008. The Life of Primates. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall.
  • Harrison RM, Nystrom P. 2008. Handedness in captive bonobos (Pan paniscus). Folia Primatologica 79(5):253-268.
  • Nystrom P, Phillips-Conroy JE, Jolly CJ. 2004. Dental microwear in anubis and hybrid baboons (Papio hamadryas, sensu lato) living in Awash National Park, Ethiopia. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 125:279-291.


  • Archaeology in the Laboratory
  • Introduction to Biological Anthropology
  • Primate Evolution and Behaviour


Administrative Duties

Administrative Duties

Health & Safety Training, Estates & Resources