CASHP lab assistants holding bone specimens


Human paleobiologists study the biological and environmental history of our species through scientific research. We search for the roots of human physical traits, culture and behavior, attempting to answer questions like: What makes humans distinct from other animal species? When and why did we begin to walk on two legs? How did our brains, language, art, music and technology develop?

The Center for the Advanced Study of Human Paleobiology approaches these questions from a combination of academic perspectives and methods. Our research draws on evidence from the fossil record, as well as the biology and behavior of living primates, including skeletal remains, footprints, stone artifacts, settlement localities, comparative genetics, long-term studies of wild great apes, and more.




Elaine Miller

Elaine Miller

PhD '27
Human Paleobiology

"Studying humans and their close phylogenetic relatives allows us to understand where we’ve come from and why we are the way we are."

CASHP Mission and Method



  • Undertake strategic research that addresses fundamental questions in human evolution across disciplinary boundaries
  • Act as a catalyst for research programs involving scientists from centers around the world
  • Promote interdisciplinary research through training and education

Interdisciplinary Method

CASHP brings together faculty from GW’s Departments of Anatomy and Regenerative Biology; Anthropology; Biology; Engineering and Applied Sciences; Philosophy; and Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences.

Our researchers also work closely with the Human Origins Program at the Smithsonian Institution, the College of Medicine at Howard University, the John Hopkins University and the Carnegie Institution of Washington.