Associate Professor Darren Curnoe
BA (Hons), PhD ANU
Field of Research: 
Human and primate palaeontology, evolutionary biology
Contact details:
+61 2 9385 8929

Room 201A
Biological Sciences North (D26)
UNSW, Kensington 2052


I am interested in many aspects of human evolution, but it is a vast and multidisciplinary subject. Therefore, I have tended to focus my research on reconstructing and understanding the hominin (human) fossil record of the last last 2.6 million years (or Pleistocene Epoch), with a focus on the genus Homo. I have worked mostly on fossil remains in Australia, South Africa, Kenya, China and Malaysia. My interests range from the earliest representatives of the human genus (Homo) through to the evolution of modern humans (H. sapiens) and settlement of Eurasia by our species.

I am also a science communicator and former journalist and appear regularly in the media talking about the science of human evolution and related fields and write my own blog and articles for outlets like The Conversation

Awards and recognitions (including Fellowships)

  • Nationally significant international research exchange project, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (2013)
  • Inaugural Shanghai Archaeology Prize, Shanghai Archaeology Forum (2013)
  • 51st in top 100 scientific discoveries of the year, Discover Magazine (2013)
  • 5th  in top 10 science discoveries, Idaho Public Television, Dialogue for Kids (2013)
  • 10th in top 10 year’s strangest science stories, Live Science (2012)
  • 7th in top 10 year in life science, New Scientist (2012)
  • 4th in top 24 year’s science in pictures, The Guardian (2012)
  • 3rd in top 10 human evolution discoveries, Smithsonian Magazine (2012)
  • 14th in top 25 science discoveries, Science News (2012)
  • Australian Research Council Future Fellowship (2012)
  • One of most important palaeontological discoveries of the last five years, Vertebrate Palaeontology Society of China (2012)
  • Honorary Professor of Palaeoanthropology and Primatology, Southeast Asia Archaeology Research Center and Yunnan Institute for Cultural Relics and Archaeology (2008)
  • Paper of the Month, School of Medical Sciences, UNSW (2006)
  • Head of School Recognition Award, School of Medical Sciences UNSW (2005)
  • Citation classic School of Medical Sciences, UNSW (2005)
  • Honorary Research Associate, Institute for Human Evolution, University of the Witwatersrand (2005-2007)
  • Honorary Research Associate, Sterkfontein Research Unit, University of the Witwatersrand (2005-2007)
  • Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of the Witwatersrand (2002)


Research Students


Ceridwen Boel (PhD candidate)

Raynold Mendoza (PhD candidate)

Natalie Rogers (PhD candidate)


Amanda Guy (PhD)

Olivia Stone (PhD) – Biogeography of Chacma Baboons (Papio ursinus) in Southern Africa Using GIS (Joint supervision with Associate Professor Shawn Laffan)

Lexie Black (Honours candidate)



GEOS1211 Environmental Earth Science (Lecturer)

BIOS2061 Vertebrate Zoology (Lecturer)

GEOS2071 Life Through Time (Lecturer)

BIOS3711 Human Evolution (Course Coordinator)

BIOS3221 Assembling the Tree of Life (Lecturer)



For up to date listings of research publications see below link:

UNSW Research Gateway: