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Jeroen B Smaers


Tel: +44 (0)20 7679 8781

Jeroen B Smaers  

NERC Postdoctoral Fellow (2010-2013)

UCL, Department of Anthropology

UCL, Department of Genetics, Evolution and Environment

Current position

Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology, Stony Brook University, New York


The central focus of my work is to link macroevolutionary pathways to diversity, adaptation and function. In order to reconstruct evolutionary pathways I develop comparative methods that allow estimating variable rates for individual lineages of the tree of life. My empirical interests lie with biological traits that are of key relevance to understanding mammalian, primate and human evolution. My current work focuses on brain system evolution in primates and mammals, cranial- and postcranial mosaicism in primates, and life history evolution in mammals. 


In review

Goswami A., Smaers J.B., Soligo C. & Polly P.D. The macroevolutionary consequences of phenotypic integration: from development to deep time. 

MacDonald K., Smaers J.B. & Steele J. Hominin geographical range dynamics: do non-human primates provide a good analogy?

Smaers J.B. Modelling the evolution of the cerebellum: from macroevolution to function. 

Smaers J.B., Soligo C., Weisbecker V., Iwaniuk A., Kranstauber B., Goswami A., Dechmann D. & Safi K. The evolutionary landscape of mammalian brain organization. 

Parr W.C.H., Soligo C., Smaers J.B., Chatterjee H.J., Ruto A., Cornish L. & Wroe S. What controls the shape of the hominoid talus? Articular facet curvatures, orientations and analysis of whole talar surface shapes. 


Tsegai Z.J., Kivell T.L., Gross T., Nguyen H., Parr D.H., Smaers J.B. & Skinner M.M. (In Press) Trabecular bone structure correlates with hand posture and use in hominoids. PLoS One

Kivell T.L., Barros A.P. & Smaers J.B. (2013) Different evolutionary pathways underlie the morphology of wrist bones in hominoids. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 13: 229.

Smaers J.B. (2013) How humans stand out in frontal lobe scaling. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA. 110(39), E3682.

Sherwood C.C. & Smaers J.B. (2013) What's the fuss over human frontal lobe evolution? Trends in Cognitive Sciences. doi: 10.1016/j.tics.2013.06.008

Smaers J.B., Steele J., Case C.R. & Amunts K. (2013) Laterality and the evolution of the prefronto-cerebellar system in anthropoids. In The Evolution of Human Handedness (Eds. McGrew WC, Marchant L, Schiefenhovel W). New York, Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. 1288: 59-69.

Smaers J.B. & Soligo C. (2013) Brain reorganization, not relative brain size, primarily characterizes anthropoid brain evolution. Proceedings of the Royal Society B. 280, 20130269.


Smaers J.B., Dechmann D., Goswami A., Soligo C. & K. Safi. (2012) Comparative analyses of evolutionary rates reveal different pathways to encephalisation in bats, carnivorans and primates. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA. 109(44), 18006-18011. (media , BioScience brief report)

Brill B., Smaers J.B., Steele J., et al. (2012) Functional mastery of “percussive technology” in nut-cracking and stone-flaking actions: experimental comparison of the tasks and implications for the evolution of the human brain. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 367: 59-74.

Smaers J.B., Mulvaney P., Soligo C., Zilles K. & Amunts K. (2012) Sexual dimorphism and laterality in the evolution of the primate prefrontal cortex. Brain, Behavior and Evolution 79,3:205-212.

Kandler A. & Smaers J.B. (2012) An agent-based approach to modelling mammalian evolution: How resource distribution and predation affect body size evolution. Advances in Complex Systems 15:1-2.


Zilles K., Amunts K. & Smaers J.B. (2011) Three brain collections for comparative neuroanatomy and neuroimaging. In New Perspectives on Neurobehavioral Evolution (Eds. Johnson JI, Zeigler HP, Hof PR), p.E94-E104. New York, Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences.

Smaers J.B., Steele J. & Zilles K. (2011) Modeling the evolution of cortico-cerebellar systems in primates. In New Perspectives on Neurobehavioral Evolution (Eds. Johnson JI, Zeigler HP, Hof PR), p.176-190. New York, Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences.

Smaers J.B., Steele J., Case C.R., Cowper A., Amunts, K. & Zilles K. (2011) Primate prefrontal cortex evolution: human brains are the extreme of a lateralized ape trend. Brain, Behavior and Evolution 77:67-78. (Editor's Choice Article) pdf


Smaers J.B., Schleicher A., Zilles K. & Vinicius L. (2010) Frontal white matter is associated to brain enlargement and increased structural connectivity in haplorrhine primates. PLoS One 5(2). pdf


Smaers, J.B. & Vinicius L. (2009) Inferring macroevolutionary patterns using an adaptive peak model of evolution. Evolutionary Ecology Research. 11: 1-25.


Smaers, J.B. (2007). Comparative socioecology of primate brain component evolution: overall brain size scaling versus internal grade shifting. European Human Behaviour & Evolution Conference, London School of Economics, UK. 


Anatomy, Diversity, and Phylogenetics: Trends in vertebrate Evolution

10kTrees Project

Brain collections at Jülich and Düsseldorf

Brain Biodiversity Bank at Michigan State University

European Network for Brain Evolution Research

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