Andrew Barr

W. Andrew Barr

Visiting Assistant Professor of Anthropology
[email protected]

Areas of Expertise

paleoecology, ecomorphology, paleoanthropology, statistical methods, academic computing

Andrew Barr is a paleoecologist and paleoanthropologist whose research focuses on understanding the environmental and ecological context of early human evolution. He conducts fieldwork in the Afar region of Ethiopia with the Mille-Logya Research Project.

He received his PhD in 2014 from the University of Texas at Austin. His dissertation explored the paleoenvironments of the Omo Shungura Formation by reconstructing the locomotor ecology of fossil bovids (antelopes) found alongside early hominins. Results from this research point to major environmental changes in the Shungura Formation during the period from 2.8 – 2.5 Ma, a critical interval immediately preceding the origin of genus Homo.

Andrew has an interest in refining existing methods for reconstructing paleoenvironments. His ecomorphological research incorporates 3D morphometric techniques and phylogenetic comparative methods to improve functional inferences. He is a member of the NSF funded PaleoCore initiative which aims to develop digital infrastructure and a data-standard for paleoanthropology. He is also interested in quantitative statistical methods, and is an experienced programmer in R and Python.


2014 - PhD - University of Texas at Austin. Anthropology
2008 - M.A. - University of Texas at Austin. Anthropology
2005 - B.S. - Tulane University. Anthropology and French 


In press - Barr WA. Ecomorphology. D.A. Croft, S.W. Simpson, and D.F. Su (eds.), Methods in Paleoecology: Reconstructing Cenozoic Terrestrial Environments and Ecological Communities. Springer (Vertebrate Paleobiology and Paleoanthropology Series), Dordrecht.
In press - Reed, DN, Barr WA, Kappelman J. PaleoCore: an open-source platform for geospatial data integration in paleoanthropology. To be published in Anemone R, Conroy G (eds.), New Geospatial Approaches in Anthropology. University of New Mexico Press. Albuquerque, NM.
2017 - Barr WA. Signal or noise? A null model method for testing hypotheses about pulsed faunal turnover. Paleobiology. Online Early View. doi:10.1017/pab.2017.21
2017 - Barr WA.Bovid locomotor functional trait distributions reflect land cover and annual precipitation in sub-Saharan Africa. Evolutionary Ecology Research. 18:253-269.
2015 - Barr WA. Paleoenvironments of the Shungura Formation (Plio-Pleistocene: Ethiopia) based on ecomorphology of the bovid astragalus. Journal of Human Evolution. 88:97-107. doi:10.1016/j.jhevol.2015.05.002
2015 - Reed D, Barr WA, McPherron S, Bobe R, Geraads D, Wynn J, Alemseged Z. Digital Data Collection in Paleoanthropology. Evolutionary Anthropology. 24:238-249. doi:10.1002/evan.21466
2015 - Thompson JC, McPherron S, Bobe R, Reed DN, Barr WA, Wynn J, Marean CW, Geraads D, Alemseged Z. Taphonomy of fossils from the hominin-bearing deposits at Dikika, Ethiopia. Journal of Human Evolution. 86:112-135. doi:10.1016/j.jhevol.2015.06.013
2014 - Barr WA. Functional Morphology of the Bovid Astragalus In Relation To Habitat: Controlling Phylogenetic Signal In Ecomorphology. Journal of Morphology. 275:1201-1216. doi:10.1002/jmor.20279
2014 - Barr WA and Scott RS. Phylogenetic comparative methods complement discriminant function analysis in ecomorphology. American Journal of Physical Anthropology. 153:663-674. doi:10.1002/ajpa.22462
2014 - Scott RS and Barr WA. Ecomorphology and phylogenetic risk: implications for habitat reconstruction using fossil bovids. Journal of Human Evolution. 73:47-57. doi:10.1016/j.jhevol.2014.02.023
2010 - Reed DN, and Barr WA. A preliminary account of the rodents from Pleistocene levels at Grotte des Contrebandiers (Smuggler’s Cave), Morocco. Historical Biology. 22:286-294. doi:10.1080/08912960903562192


Classes Taught

ANTH 6413: Evolutionary Impacts Of Cenozoic Climate Change