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

Daily Mail
July 11, 2018
Ancient tools and bones unearthed in China suggest our early hominid ancestors left Africa and arrived in Asia 270,000 years earlier than previously thought.
July 31, 2017
In a 2016 interview with CNN, Anthony Scaramucci — President Donald Trump's new White House communications director — said that Earth, as well as human history, is just 5,500 years old. But ample evidence exists to prove that the world has been around for much, much longer.
Science News
December 15, 2015
Scientists trying to untangle the human evolutionary family’s ancient secrets welcomed a new set of tantalizing and controversial finds this year. A series of fossil discoveries offered potentially important insights into the origins of the human genus, Homo. Most notably, a group of South African fossils triggered widespread excitement accompanied by head-scratching and vigorous debate.

Articles Featuring Brian Villmoare

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.