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Deano Stynder

Deano Stynder is a Lecturer in the Department of Archaeology at UCT.  He received his PhD from the University of Cape Town in 2006, and took up his post at UCT in 2010.

His research focuses on understanding the ecological and climatic conditions under which our hominin ancestors evolved. Key to the reconstruction of these are the diets of fossil animal taxa. Ungulates, which have restricted diets, are particularly good indicators of past vegetation cover (and by extension, climatic conditions), and are therefore a main focus of his and his graduate students’ research. Extensive use is made of ecomorphology, an analytical approach that uses functional morphology to inform on the preferred habitats of fossil taxa. Analytical methods that elucidate aspects of dietary behaviour, such as dental mesowear and microwear, are also widely employed. In addition to laboratory analyses, Stynder and his research group are extensively involved in fieldwork and the recovery of new fossil material.

Selected publications:

Smith, K. M. and Stynder, D. D. 2015. Biogeography and molar morphology of Pleistocene African Elephants: new evidence from Elandsfontein, Western Cape Province, South Africa. Quaternary Science Reviews 115: 101-111.

Dollion, A. Y., Cornette, R., Tolley, K. A., Boistel, R., Euriat, A., Boller, E., Fernandez, V., Stynder, D. and Herrel, A. 2015. Morphometric analysis of chameleon fossil fragments from the Early Pliocene of South Africa: a new piece of the chamaeleonid history. Naturwissenschaften 102: 1-14.

Braun, D., Levin, N. E., Stynder, D., Herries, A. I., Archer, W., Forrest, F. L., Roberts, D. L., Bishop, L. C., Mathews, T., Lehmann, S. B., Pickering, R. and Fitzsimmons, K. 2013. Mid-Pleistocene Hominin Occupation at Elandsfontein, Western Cape, South Africa. Quaternary Science Reviews 82: 145-166.

Braun, D. R., Levin, N. E., Roberts, D., Stynder, D., Forrest, F., Herries, A. I., Matthews, T., Bishop, L., Archer, W. and Pickering, R. 2013. Initial investigations of Acheulean hominin behaviour at Elandsfontein. The archaeology of the west coast of South Africa. Jerardino, A., Malan, A. and Braun, D. (eds.). Cambridge Monographs in African Archaeology 84. Pp. 10 – 23. Archaeopress : Oxford.

Hartstone-Rose, A. and Stynder, D. D. 2013. Hypercarnivory, durophagy or generalized carnivory in the Mio-Pliocene Hyaenids and Felids of South Africa? South African Journal of Science 109: 1-10.

Stynder, D. D. and Kupczik, K. 2013. Tooth root morphology in the Early Pliocene African bear Agriotherium africanum (Mammalia, Carnivora. Ursidae) and its implications for feeding ecology. Journal of Mammalian Evolution 20: 227-237.

Stynder, D. D., Ungar, P. S., Scott, J. R. and Schubert, B. W. 2012. A dental microwear texture analysis of the Mio-Pliocene hyaenids from Langebaanweg, South Africa. Acta Palaeontologica Polonica 57: 485-496.

Kurki, H. K., Pfeiffer, S. and Stynder, D. D. 2012. Allometry of head and body size in Holocene foragers of the South African Cape. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 147: 462-471.

Oldfield, C. C., McHenry, C. R., Clausen, P.D., Chamoli, U., Parr, W.C.H., Stynder, D. D. and Wroe, S. 2012. Finite Element Analysis of ursid cranial mechanics and the prediction of feeding behaviour in the extinct giant Agriotherium africanum. Journal of Zoology 286: 163-170.

Kupczik, K. and Stynder, D. D. 2012. Tooth root morphology as an indicator for dietary specialisation in carnivores (Mammalia: Carnivore). Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 105: 456-471.

Stynder, D. D. 2011. Fossil bovid diets indicate a scarcity of grass in the Langebaanweg ‘E’ Quarry (South Africa) late Miocene/early Pliocene environment. Paleobiology 37(1): 126-139.

Tseng, Z. J. and Stynder, D. D. 2011. Mosaic functionality in a transitional ecomorphology: skull biomechanics in stem Hyaeninae compared to modern South African carnivorans. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 102: 540-559.

Matthews, T. and Stynder, D. D. 2011. An analysis of the Aethomys (Murinae) community from Langebaanweg (Early Pliocene, South Africa) using geometric morphometrics. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 302: 230-242.

Matthews, T. and Stynder, D. D. 2011. An analysis of two Myosorex species (Soricidae) from the Early Pliocene site of Langebaanweg (West coast, South Africa) using geometric morphometrics, linear measurements, and non-metric characters. Geobios 44: 87-99.

Ungar, P. S., Scott, J. R., Schubert, B. W. and Stynder, D. D. 2010. Carnivore dental microwear textures: comparability of carnassial facets and functional differentiation of the postcanine teeth. Mammalia 74: 219-224.

Stynder, D. D., Braga, J. and Crubézy, E. 2009. Craniometric evidence for biological continuity between Meroitic and post-Meroitic populations buried at the necropolis of Missiminia, Middle Nubia. South African Archaeological Bulletin 64: 122-129.

Stynder, D. D. 2009. Tooth crown form as an indicator of niche partitioning in late Miocene/early Pliocene hyenas from ‘E’ Quarry, Langebaanweg, South Africa. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 283: 148-159.

Rossouw, L., Stynder, D.D and Haarhof, P. 2009. Evidence for opal phytolith preservation in the Langebaanweg ‘E’ Quarry Varswater Formation and its potential for palaeohabitat reconstruction. South African Journal of Science 105: 223-227.

Stynder, D. D, Brock, F., Sealy, J. C., Morris, A. G., Wurz, S. and Volman, T. P. 2009. A mid-Holocene AMS 14C date for the presumed Late Pleistocene Peers Cave human skeleton from South Africa. Journal of Human Evolution 56: 431-434.

Stynder, D. D. (2009). Craniometric evidence for South African Later Stone Age herders and hunter–gatherers being a single biological population. Journal of Archaeological Science 36: 798-806.

Stynder, D. D. 2009. South African Later Stone Age herders and hunter-gatherers were a single biological population. Journal of Archaeological Science 36: 798-806.

Stynder, D. D. 2009. The diets of ungulates from the hominid fossil-bearing site of Elandsfontein, Western Cape, South Africa. Quaternary Research 71: 62-70.

Brink, J. and Stynder, D. D. (2009). Morphological and trophic distinction in the dentitions of two early alcelaphine bovids from Langebaanweg (genus Damalacra). Palaeontologia africana 44:139-193.

Stynder, D. D. 2008. The impact of medium-sized canids on a seal bone assemblage from Duinfield Midden, west coast, South Africa. South African Archaeological Bulletin 63: 159-163.

Stynder, D. D., Ackermann, R. and Sealy, J. 2007. Early to mid-Holocene South African Later Stone Age human crania exhibit a distinctly Khoesan morphological pattern. South African Journal of Science 103: 349-352.

Stynder, D. D., Ackermann, R. and Sealy, J. 2007. Craniofacial variation and population continuity during the South African Holocene. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 134: 489-500.

Stynder, D. D. and Yates, R. 2006. A rare example of a human burial with a stone packed grave shaft in the Western Cape Province, South Africa. South African Archaeological Bulletin 61: 202-207.

Morris, A.G., Dlamini, N., Parker, J., Powrie, C., Ribot, I. and Stynder, D. (2004/2005). Later Stone Age burials from the Western Cape Province, South Africa, Part 1: Voëvlei. Southern African Field Archaeology 13 & 14: 19-26.   

Marean, C. W., Nilssen, P. J., Brown, K., Jerardino, A. and Stynder, D. 2004. Paleoanthropological Investigations of Middle Stone Age Sites at Pinnacle Point Mossel Bay (South Africa): Archaeology and Hominid remains from the 2000 Field Season. PaleoAnthropology 1: 14-83.

Stynder, D. D., Moggi-Cecchi, J., Berger, L. R. and Parkington, J. E. 2001. Human mandibular incisors from the Late Middle Pleistocene locality of Hoedjiespunt 1, South Africa. Journal of Human Evolution 41: 369-383.

Churchill, S. E., Brink, J. S., Berger, L. R., Hutchison, R. A., Rossouw, L., Stynder, D., Hancox, P. J., Brandt, D., Woodborne, S., Loock, J. C., Scott, L., and Ungar, P. 2000. Erfkroon: a new Florisian fossil locality from fluvial contexts in the western Free State, South Africa. South African Journal of Science 96: 161-163.


Sections in Books:

Stynder, D. 2008. Les Khoï-San: Données historiques et origines. Anthropobiologie : évolution humaine. Crubézy, E., Braga, J. et Larrouy, G. (eds.). p. 292. Elsevier Masson : Cedex