Dr Kevin Kuykendall


School of History, Philosophy and Digital Humanities

Senior Lecturer in Palaeoanthropology

Course Director- MSc Palaeoanthropology

Postgraduate Research Programmes Admissions Tutor

Dr Kevin Kuykendall
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+44 114 222 2937

Full contact details

Dr Kevin Kuykendall
School of History, Philosophy and Digital Humanities
Room C03
Minalloy House
10-16 Regent Street
S1 3NJ

Dr Kuykendall obtained his training in archaeology and palaeoanthropology, completing his BA degree at the University of Arizona in 1984.

During this time, he participated in archaeological fieldwork of Hohokam and Anasazi sites in Arizona, lithic scatters and historic logging camps in Northern California, and a Mayan temple complex in Belize (Central America).

His PhD research concerned the use of dental development and aging standards to assess the evolution of life history in early hominids such as Australopithecus africanus.

After completion of his PhD, Kuykendall accepted a lecturing position at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa and for the next decade was involved in fieldwork at the Plio-Pleistocene sites at the Makapansgat Limeworks, Buffalo Cave, and Gondolin.

He also has conducted research in the fields of skeletal biology, CT analysis of fossil hominid crania, and development of innovative teaching methods.

Kuykendall joined the Department of Archaeology at the University of Sheffield in 2004, where he is the course coordinator of the MSc Palaeoanthropology programme, and continues with research in palaeoanthropology.

  • 1992- PhD – Washington University, USA
    • Thesis- Dental development in chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) and implications for dental development patterns in fossil hominids
Research interests
  • Plio-Pleistocene hominin evolution in Africa
  • Evolution of early hominin life history
  • Middle Palaeolithic archaeology and Neanderthal occupation of Britain

Current research projects/ collaborations

Where are all the Neanderthals? Limestone cave survey in the UK

This project aims to locate Middle and Upper Palaeolithic Cave sites in the UK. It has also begun to implement ‘non-cave’ localities and a regional landscape approach to explore new areas with potential to produce archaeology relevant to understanding Neanderthal and early modern human occupation in Britain. It involves a collaboration with the Creswell Crags Museum and Visitor Centre to develop a field excavation programme highlighting public engagement with local archaeology and prehistory.

Collaborators: Andrew Reid (Wessex Archaeology); Chris Breedon (Wessex Archaeology); Tim Cockrell (Archaeology, Sheffield); Creswell Crags

Dental development and age estimation in extant apes: applications to understanding early hominin life history.

This project involves the re-analysis of existing data sets of dental radiography in chimpanzees, and the acquisition and analysis of new radiographic data sets from museum collections in the UK and Europe. Dental development assessment provides a comparative schedule for determining the relative timing of developmental events in both extant and extinct primates and hominins, allowing further elucidation of the evolutionary differences in growth and life history schedules among different early hominin species.

Collaborators: J Boughner (University of Saskatchewan, Canada); C Brimacombe (Simon Fraser University, Canada)

Past research projects/ collaborations:

South African Palaeocave Survey Project, South Africa

This project aimed to implement a regional GIS-based landscape survey of historic mining sites in South Africa, and to inventory such localities for the recovery of palaeoanthropological resources such as geological dating, environmental isotopes, palynology, mineral trace elements, fossils and other sampling techniques that will provide information about local environmental evolution.

This contextual information would provide data for the construction of a palaeoanthropological model of regional environmental evolution, and for the successful location of new fossil localities pertinent to furthering research on extinct hominid evolution.

Collaborators: J Brink (Bloemfontein Museum, South Africa); B Villmoare  (University of Nevada, Las Vegas, USA); K Lewton (University of Southern California, USA); Andrew Reid (Wessex Archaeology)

Paranasal sinuses in extant and fossil primates

This project involves the 2D and 3D analysis of CT scan and other radiographic data sets to quantify and compare internal morphological structures in extant and fossil primate crania. One focus has been the investigation of the evolutionary presence and absence of the maxillary sinus in extinct species of colobine monkeys, whose descendant species (modern colobines) have lost this structure. Future work objectives are to develop a method to document and compare the eruption pathways and development of the dentition in relation to maxillary sinus pneumatisation in humans and apes using radiographic and CT data sets. 

Collaborators: Todd C. Rae (Roehampton University); Lauren Butaric (Des Moines University, USA)

Research group

Areas of potential research supervision

  • hominoid dental development and early hominid life history reconstruction
  • GIS and landscape approaches to Plio-Pleistocene hominid fossil site survey
  • CT-based analysis of craniofacial development and variation in fossil and extant primates

Current Research Students

  • Evelyne Browaeys- Birds of prey in the Bronze Age Near East: their role and identification
  • Ian McAfee- "Joint disease in post-Medieval England: Comparative analysis of modern risk factors and historic lifestyles"
  • Tegid Watkin- "3D geometric morphometric analysis of metacarpal and phalangeal torsion in humans, primates and fossil hominins, and its application in stone tool use"
  • Benjamin Wimmer- "Osteological variability in European Cattle: The impact of sexual dimorphism and selective breeding on size and shape"


Teaching activities


  • Human Origins, Migrations and Identities (co-ordinator)
  • Primate and Human Evolution (co-ordinator)
  • Archaeology of Britain: From Prehistory to the Industrial Revolution
  • Thinking Through Archaeology
  • Catastrophes and Climate Change: From Prehistory to Modernity


  • Digital Cultural Heritage: From Theory to Practice (co-ordinator)
  • Evolutionary Anatomy (co-ordinator)
  • Human Evolution: Theory and Practise in Research (co-ordinator)
  • Quantitative Methods in Anthropology and Archaeology (co-ordinator)
  • Research Design: Planning, Execution and Presentation
Professional activities and memberships
  • European Society for the study of Human Evolution
  • American Association of Physical Anthropologists
  • Palaeoanthropology Society
Publications & Conferences

Selected Publications

Book Chapters

  • Kuykendall, K.L., and Heyerdahl-King, I.S., 2013. Modern human origins in Africa: A review of the origins and early dispersals of Homo sapiens. In Cummings, V., Jordan, P., and Zvelebil, M. (eds.) Oxford Handbook of the Archaeology and Anthropology of Hunter-Gatherers, Oxford. 
  • Kuykendall, K.L. 2012. On the evolutionary development of early hominid molar teeth and the Gondolin Paranthropus molar. In Reynolds, S.C., and Gallagher, A. (eds.) African Genesis: Proceedings of the African Genesis Symposium, University of Cambridge Press, pp. 280-297. 
  • Kuykendall, K.L., and Strkalj, G. 2007. A history of South African palaeoanthropology. Ch. 2 In: Bonner, P., Esterhuysen, A., and Jenkins, T. (eds). A Search for Origins: Science, History, and South Africa’s ‘Cradle of Humankind’, Johannesburg: Wits University Press, pp. 28-49. 
  • Kuykendall, K.L. 2007. Fossil hominids of the Cradle of Humankind. Ch. 3, In: Bonner, P., Esterhuysen, A., and Jenkins, T. (eds.) A Search for Origins: Science, History, and South Africa’s ‘Cradle of Humankind’, Johannesburg: Wits University Press, pp. 50-77. 
  • Kuykendall, K.L. 2003. Reconstructing australopithecine growth and development: what do we think we know? In JL Thompson, G Krovitz, and A Nelson (Eds.) Patterns of Growth and Development in the Genus Homo, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 191-218.
  • Kuykendall, K.L. 2002. An assessment of radiographic and histological standards of dental development in chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). IN McNamara, K.J. and Minugh-Purvis, N. (eds.) Human Evolution Through Developmental Change, Johns Hopkins University Press, pp. 281-304.
  • Latham, AG, Herries, A., Quinney, P., Sinclair, A., and Kuykendall, K.L. 1999. The Makapansgat Australopithecine Site from a Speleological Perspective. IN Pollard, A.M. (ed.), Geoarchaeology: exploration, environments, resources. Geological Society, London, special Publications, 165: 61-77.

Journal Articles


Selected Conferences

  • Kuykendall. K. L., 2015. Using the Dental Maturity Score to understand variation in chimpanzee dental maturity. SSHB Proffered Papers Meeting, Southampton.
  • Kuykendall, K. L., 2015. Dental maturity score in chimpanzees (poster). American Journal of Physical Anthropology 156:195-196. 84th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists, St. Louis, MO USA.
  • Kuykendall, K.L., A. Reid, K.L. Lewton, B. Villmoare, and Brink, J. 2013. The South African Palaeocave Survey: A GIS approach to regional site survey (poster). British Cave Research Association Symposium, Keyworth, UK. 
  • Kuykendall, K.L., A. Reid, K.L. Lewton, B. Villmoare, and Brink, J. 2013. The South African Palaeocave survey: preliminary results using a regional GIS approach in palaeoanthropology (podium). Dearne Valley Archaeology Day, Wath upon Dearne, Rotherham, UK.
  • Kuykendall, K.L., B. Villmoare, and Brink, J. 2012. The heritage of lime mining and palaeoanthropology in South Africa: A GIS approach to regional site survey (poster). Digital Humanities Symposium – Virtualisation and Heritage, University of York, UK. Rae, T.C.,
  • Kuykendall, K.L., and Koppe, T., 2011. Different biomechanical regimes do not affect craniofacial pneumatization in fossil hominins (poster). 80th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA.
  • Kuykendall, KL and Seymour, L 2009. Inspiring solutions or square pegs in round holes? Critical reflections on the use of e-learning to support Undergraduate Dissertations in Archaeology (podium). Teaching & Learning in Archaeology 2009, The Higher Education Academy, Subject Centre for History, Classics and Archaeology. Birkbeck College, London.
  • Williams, C.J., and Kuykendall, K.L. 2009. A preliminary assessment of linear measurements for root growth in permanent molar teeth of the chimpanzee and fossil hominids (poster). The Palaeoanthropology Society, Chicago, USA.
  • Dayal, M.R., Kegley, A.D.T., Strkalj, G., Bidmos, and Kuykendall, K.L. 2009. The Raymond A. Dart Collection of Human Skeletons: history, inventory and demographic assessment (poster). The American Association of Physical Anthropologists, Chicago, USA.
  • Kuykendall, K.L. 2008. Inquiry-based approaches in Palaeoanthropology: teaching modern humans old tricks (poster). Learning Through Enquiry Alliance (LTEA) Conference 2008: Inquiry in a Networked World, University of Sheffield, CILASS.
  • Chambers, E.N., McKee, J.K., and Kuykendall, K.L. 2008. Oxygen isotope analysis of tooth enamel carbonate from Plio-Pleistocene South African fossil sites (poster). Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists, Columbus, Ohio USA.
  • Crawford, T.C., Kuykendall, K.L., McKee, J.K., and Conroy, G. C. 2008. An analysis of the dental and mandibular morphology of the Makapansgat hominids (poster). Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists, Columbus, Ohio USA.
  • Kuykendall, K.L. 2008. Metrical and developmental comparison of a mandibular second molar from Gondolin: a case for hyper-robust Paranthropus in southern Africa? (abstract). Annual meeting of the Society for the Study of Human Biology, Oxford University, UK.
  • Kuykendall, K.L., and Rae, T.C. 2007. Presence of the maxillary sinus in the fossil Colobine Cercopithecoides williamsi from South Africa: An assessment using Computed Tomography (abstract). Annual meetings of the Palaeoanthropology Society, Philadelphia, PA.
  • Kuykendall, K.L., 2006. Life history in Australopithecus and Paranthropus (abstract). African Genesis Symposium, University of the Witwatersrand. Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Kuykendall, K.L. 2004. Growth, development and life history in ‘gracile’ and ‘robust’ australopithecines (abstract). Annual Meetings of the Palaeoanthropology Society, McGill University, Montreal, Canada
  • Crawford, T.C., McKee, J.K., Conroy, G.C., Kuykendall, K.L., and Latham, A.G. 2004. Fossil excavations of the Makapansgat Member 2 and adjacent breccias (abstract). 73rd Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists, Tampa, FLA, USA. AJPA Suppl. 38:80.