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Thomas Puschel


Academic background

I am a palaeoanthropologist and vertebrate palaeobiologist mainly focused on 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 predictive modelling, 3D morphometrics, virtual biomechanical techniques, computational simulations, phylogenetic comparative methods, and fieldwork. I have recently joined the Venditti group, University of Reading, within the framework of the Leverhulme project: 'The evolutionary and biogeographical routes to hominin diversity'.

Research areas

  • Palaeoanthropology
  • Vertebrate palaeontology


  • Morphometrics
  • Biomechanics
  • Phylogenetic comparative methods


  1. Becas Chile PhD scholarship (2014-2018), National Commission for Scientific and Technological Research of Chile. 2014-2018
  2. Becas Chile Master scholarship (2012-2013), National Commission for Scientific and Technological Research of Chile. 2012-2013
  3. ECOS-CONICYT scholarship for an Internship at the Musée de l'Homme, Muséum d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris. 2012

Grants and awards

  1. SYNTHESYS+ Transnational Access (BE-TAF-8207) grant for access to the Royal Museum for Central Africa, Tervuren, Belgium. 2020
  2. SAME, University of Oxford Award for Excellence 2020. Award for Excellence of the School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography, University of Oxford. 2020
  3. The Boise Trust Fund Research Award. Research fund awarded by the Department of Zoology of the University of Oxford. 2019
  4. The Boise Trust Fund Research Award. Research fund awarded by the Department of Zoology of the University of Oxford. 2018
  5. Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship (ECF-2018-264). Postdoctoral fellowship. 2018-2021
  6. SYNTHESYS+ Transnational Access (BE-TAF-4459) grant for access to the Royal Museum for Central Africa, Tervuren, Belgium. 2015


Journal Articles

  1. Püschel, H. P., Bertrand, O. C., O'Reilly, J. E., Bobe, R., & Püschel, T. A. (2021). Divergence- time estimates for hominins provide insight into encephalization and body mass trends in human evolution. Nature Ecology & Evolution, 1-12.
  2. Bucchi, A., Püschel, T. A., Lorenzo, C., & Marcé-Nogué, J. (2020). Finite element analysis of the proximal phalanx of the thumb in Hominoidea during simulated stone tool use. Comptes Rendus Palevol, 19(2), 26-39.
  3. Püschel, T. A., Marcé-Nogué, J., Gladman, J., Patel, B. A., Almécija, S., & Sellers, W. I. (2020). Getting its feet on the ground: Elucidating Paralouatta's semi-terrestriality using the virtual morpho-functional toolbox. Frontiers in Earth Science, 8.
  4. Marcé-Nogué, J., Püschel, T. A., Daasch, A., & Kaiser, T. M. (2020). Broad-scale morpho- functional traits of the mandible suggest no hard food adaptation in the hominin lineage. Scientific Reports, 10(1), 1-11.
  5. Püschel, T. A., Marcé-Nogué, J., Chamberlain, A. T., Yoxall, A., & Sellers, W. I. (2020). The biomechanical importance of the scaphoid-centrale fusion during simulated knuckle- walking and its implications for human locomotor evolution. Scientific Reports, 10(1), 1-7.
  6. Püschel, T. A., Friess, M., & Manríquez, G. (2020). Morphological consequences of artificial cranial deformation: Modularity and integration. PLOS ONE, 15(1), e0227362.
  7. Püschel T. A., Marcé-Nogué J., Gladman J. T., Bobe R., & Sellers W. I. (2018). Inferring locomotor behaviours in Miocene New World monkeys using finite element analysis, geometric morphometrics and machine-learning classification techniques applied to talar morphology. Journal of The Royal Society Interface, 15(146), 20180520.
  8. Benítez, H. A., Lemic, D., Püschel, T. A., Virić Gašparić, H., Kos, T., Barić, B., Pajač Živković, I. (2018). Fluctuating asymmetry indicates levels of disturbance between agricultural pro- ductions: An example in Croatian population of Pterostichus melas melas (Coleptera: Cara- bidae). Zoologischer Anzeiger, 276, 42-49.
  9. Püschel, T. A., Marcé-Nogué, J., Kaiser, T. M., Brocklehurst, R. J., & Sellers, W. I. (2018). Analyzing the sclerocarpy adaptations of the Pitheciidae mandible. American Journal of Primatology, 0(0), e22759.
  10. Püschel, T. A., Gladman, J. T., Bobe, R., & Sellers, W. I. (2017). The evolution of the platyrrhine talus: A comparative analysis of the phenetic affinities of the Miocene platyrrhines with their modern relatives. Journal of Human Evolution, 111, 179-201.
  11. Marcé-Nogué, J., Püschel, T. A., & Kaiser, T. M. (2017). A biomechanical approach to understand the ecomorphological relationship between primate mandibles and diet. Scientific Reports, 7(1), 8364.
  12. Püschel, H. P., Püschel, T. A., & Rubilar-Rogers, D. (2017). Taxonomic Comments of a Glossotherium Specimen from the Pleistocene of Central Chile. Boletín Del Museo Nacional de Historia Natural, Chile, 66(2), 223-262.
  13. Marcé-Nogué, J., Esteban-Trivigno, S. D., Püschel, T. A., & Fortuny, J. (2017). The intervals method: A new approach to analyse finite element outputs using multivariate statistics. PeerJ, 5, e3793.
  14. Püschel, T. A., & Sellers, W. I. (2016). Standing on the shoulders of apes: Analyzing the form and function of the hominoid scapula using geometric morphometrics and finite element analysis. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 159(2), 325-341.
  15. Bucchi, A., Püschel, T. A., & Manríquez, G. (2016). Artificial Cranial Modification in San Pedro de Atacama and the Loa Basin: A Quantitative Approach to Its Role as a Marker of Social Identity. Revista Chilena de Antropología, 34(2), 19-30.
  16. Benítez, H. A., Vargas, H. A., & Püschel, T. A. (2015). Left-right asymmetry and morpho- logical consequences of a host shift in the oligophagous Neotropical moth Macaria mirthae (Lepidoptera: Geometridae). Journal of Insect Conservation, 1-10.
  17. Püschel, T. A. (2014). Modularidad e Integración Morfológica en Cráneos Humanos: Un Enfoque Morfométrico Geométrico. International Journal of Morphology, 32(1), 299-304.
  18. Püschel, T. A., & Benítez, H. A. (2014). Femoral Functional Adaptation: A Comparison Between Hunter Gatherers and Agriculturalists Using Geometric Morphometrics. International Journal of Morphology, 32(2), 627-633.
  19. Benítez, H. A., Püschel, T.A., Lemic, D., ČaČija, M., Kozina, A., & Bažok, R. (2014). Ecomorphological Variation of the Wireworm Cephalic Capsule: Studying the Interaction of Environment and Geometric Shape. PLOS ONE, 9(7), e102059.
  20. Benítez, H. A., Lemic, D., Bažok, R., Bravi, R., Buketa, M., & Püschel, T.A. (2014). Morphological integration and modularity in Diabrotica virgifera virgifera LeConte (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) hind wings. Zoologischer Anzeiger - A Journal of Comparative Zoology, 253(6), 461-468.
  21. Benítez, H. A., & Püschel, T. A. (2014). Modelando la Varianza de la Forma: Morfometría Geométrica Aplicaciones en Biología Evolutiva. International Journal of Morphology, 32(3), 998-1008.
  22. Püschel, T. A., Espejo, J., Sanzana, M.-J., & Benítez, H. A. (2014). Analysing the Floral Elements of the Lost Tree of Easter Island: A Morphometric Comparison between the Re- maining Ex-Situ Lines of the Endemic Extinct Species Sophora toromiro. PLOS ONE, 9(12), e115548.

Book chapters

  1. Manríquez, G., Püschel, T. A., Flores, S., González, T., Moraga, M., & Rothhammer, F. (2016). Origen y evolución de la población chilena: El punto de vista biológico. In F. Fallabela, M. Uribe, C. Aldunate, & J. Hidalgo (Eds.), Prehistoria en Chile: Desde sus Primeros Habitantes hasta los Incas. Editorial Universitaria.