Thomas A. Püschel

Thomas A. Püschel

Postdoctoral researcher

The Venditti group - Reading University


I am an evolutionary anthropologist and vertebrate palaeobiologist mainly focused on human, primate and mammalian evolution. My main interest is to study organismal evolution by reconstructing and comparing the palaeobiology of fossils to their living ecological relatives. In order to do this, I apply a combination of phylogenetics, 3D morphometrics, virtual biomechanical techniques, computational simulations, statistical modelling, phylogenetic comparative methods, and fieldwork. I am part of the Venditti group, University of Reading, within the framework of the Leverhulme project ‘The evolutionary and biogeographical routes to hominin diversity’. I am also a research affiliate at the Institute of Human Sciences, University of Oxford, where I work together with the Paleo-Primate Project Gorongosa, Mozambique.


  • Evolutionar anthropology
  • Primate evolution
  • Palaeoanthropology
  • Vertebrate palaeontology
  • Morphometrics
  • Biomechanics
  • Phylogenetic comparative methods
  • Palaeoecology


  • PhD in Adaptive Organismal Biology, 2018

    The University of Manchester

  • MSc in Anatomy and Evolution, 2013

    The University of York, Hull York Medical School

  • BSc in Biological Anthropology, 2011

    Universidad de Chile



Postdoctoral Researcher - Leverhulme Research Leadership Project

Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Division, University of Reading

May 2021 – Present Reading, UK.
Project: ‘The evolutionary and biogeographical routes to hominin diversity.’

Postdoctoral Research Officer- Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship

School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography, University of Oxford

Oct 2018 – May 2021 Oxford, UK.
Project: ‘This study has teeth: exploring human origins and Climate Change through time.’

College advisor

St Antony’s College

Oct 2018 – May 2021 Oxford, UK.
Pastoral duties at St Anthony’s College where I advise students, both at the levels of MSc and DPhil.

Research Officer

The University of Manchester

Apr 2018 – Sep 2018 Manchester, UK.
Postdoctoral position within the NERC project: ‘The co-evolution of human hands and tool using behaviour’ led by Prof. William Sellers.

Recent Posts

Decision boundary plot

I was recently asked by a colleague about how I generated the decision boundary plots that are displayed in these two papers: Püschel Thomas A., Marcé-Nogué Jordi, Gladman Justin T.


Contact: Email: Web: Yesterday I received an email asking me how did I generate the 3D plots displayed in this preprint so I decided to share the process in this post.

S4. Landmark and semi-landmarks used in 'Characterizing the body morphology of the first metacarpal in the Homininae using 3D geometric morphometrics'

Paper authors: Jonathan Morley, Ana Bucchi, Carlos Lorenzo, Thomas A. Püschel Link to preprint Corresponding author: Thomas A. Püschel Contact: Email: thomas.

Intervals' method tutorial

Tutorial: How to use R to analyse data from FEA using the intervals’ method We have developed a new method, named the intervals’ method, to analyse data from finite element models in a comparative multivariate framework.

Intervals' method tutorial Part2

Tutorial: How to use R to analyse data from FEA using the intervals’ method Part2: Convergence procedure to estimate an appropiate number of intervals This script corresponds to the convergence procedure used to estimate an appropiate number of interval variables.



Evolutionary Anthropology

My main academic interest relates to the study of how and why human and primate bodies have become the way they currently are.

African Miocene mammals

I am currently analising different Miocene mammal fossils from Gorongosa, as well as comparing them with fossil materials from other African regions in order to better characterise the fauna from the southernmost point of the East African Rift System

African palaeoecology

Understanding the relationship between ecosystem dynamics and hominin palaeobiology is fundamental to test hypotheses that attempt to elucidate the influence of the environment on the morphological and behavioural adaptations of early hominins.

New morpho-functional tools

One of my long-standing aims is to understand the relationship between form and ecological function. In order to do this, some colleagues and I are currently developing new methods and approaches in comparative functional morphology to contribute towards this effort.

Primate morphology

An important part of my research has been devoted to the study of the key adaptations defining different stages of anthropoid morphological evolution.

Paleo-Primate Project

Gorongosa National Park, Mozambique, represents the last unstudied link in the great African Rift that runs across eastern Africa, wherein lie the “cradles of humankind”. This project seeks to shed light on the origins and evolutionary success of the human lineage.

Talks and Social Media

De árboles y homininos

Speaker at FACSO’s Seminar series

¿Desde cuándo somos Homo sapiens?

On 30th November 2021, my brother and I will talk about palaeontology and palaeanthropology with the Cerro Navia community, Chile. You …

Online TV show on the scientific career of Chilean scientists

On 24th October 2021, I will talk about my scientific career and research as part of the ‘Todo tiene su Ciencia’ Online TV …

Primate evolutionary morphology Assessing ecomorphological questions in extant and extinct anthropoids

Talk at the Oxford Palaeoclub about how to assess ecomorphological questions using the virtual morpho-functional toolkit

Paleontología virtual un conjunto de herramientas emergente para análisis morfo-funcionales en contextos evolutivos

Plenary speaker at the XIII Jornada Chilena de Anatomía

Recent Publications

Drosophila Wing Integration and Modularity A Multi-Level Approach to Understand the History of Morphological Structures

geometric morphometrics, static integration, developmental integration, evolutionary integration, Drosophila, fluctuating asymmetry


  • Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Reading, School of Biological Sciences · Philip Lyle Building, RG6 6BX, UK
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