Brian Villmoare

Assistant Professor, Anthropology
Expertise: Human paleontology, Human evolution, Evolutionary theory


Brian Villmoare received his Ph.D. in physical anthropology from Arizona State University in 2008. Working with Charlie Lockwood and Bill Kimbel, he focused on detailed analyses of the craniofacial morphology of early fossil hominins. For his dissertation he developed new geometric morphometric methods for quantifying morphological shape to address questions of systematics and craniofacial integration in the hominins.

His research interests range from broad questions of evolutionary theory to high-resolution studies of the internal structures of the hominin face. Current research projects include studying the role of selection and genetics in evolutionary change and extinction, the specific evolutionary constraints and selection pressures responsible for hominin craniofacial form, determining the homology of unique characters in the hominin cranium, and FEA biomechanical analyses of early hominins.

His fieldwork includes travels Makapansgat, South Africa, and Koobi Fora, Kenya. Since 2002, he has worked in the Afar region of Ethiopia, where he is currently a co-director of the Ledi-Geraru Project with Kaye Reed, Chris Campisano, and Ramone Arrowsmith. The project is funded by the National Science Foundation.


  • Ph.D., Anthropology, Arizona State University
  • M.A., Anthropology, Arizona State University
  • B.A., Philosophy, University of Virginia

Brian Villmoare In The News

The Hindu Business Line
Why recent study on modern brain size has experts scratching heads
Discover Magazine
Decades of research suggest that our brains have shrunk over time, but not all scientists agree.
Advanced Science News
Researchers refute a hypothesis that the human brain shrank 3,000 years ago as a result of the transition to living in modern societies.
No, we aren’t devolving: Human brain size hasn’t changed since Jebel Irhoud Person stalked the Sahara 300,000 years ago, says new team

Articles Featuring Brian Villmoare

a female student sits in the grass by a tree reading a book
Campus News | September 1, 2022

A roundup of prominent news stories highlighting university pride, research, and community collaboration.

Brian Villmoare sits at a desk and holds a fossil
Research | December 1, 2015

By illuminating a dark period in human evolutionary history, a UNLV scientist gets his turn in the spotlight.

Brian Villmoare examines jawbone
Research | May 5, 2015

A 2.8-million-year-old jawbone fills in section missing from human evolution’s timeline.