Dr. Emma Finestone

Department of Archaeology

Main Focus

Dr. Emma Finestone uses archaeological fieldwork to investigate behavioral innovations and adaptive shifts in the human lineage. Her integrative field projects in eastern Africa and Central Asia span evolutionary changes throughout the Plio-Pleistocene. Emma’s research focuses on reconstructing the mobility, range expansion, and landscape use of toolmakers to illuminate how early technology facilitated the spread of genus Homo across the globe. She directs projects investigating the adaptive significance and impact of early tool-use and hominin dispersal into Central Asia. Emma also spearheads several MPI-SHH initiatives in science communication and outreach, including the online discussion series ArchaeoChats (with co-creator Robert Patalano).


Curriculum Vitae

Emma received her PhD in 2019 in Biological Anthropology from the City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate Center. Her dissertation “Oldowan tool behaviors through time on the Homa Peninsula, Kenya” used technological measurements and geochemical methods to identify shifts in strategy and resource use in lithic production through the Oldowan Industrial Complex. This research received awards and grants from the National Science Foundation, the Leakey Foundation, and the American Association of Physical Anthropologists. Emma was also an instructor from 2014-2019 at Hunter College, and Lehman College and received a Graduate Teaching Fellowship and a Professional Staff Congress award from CUNY. Prior to CUNY, Emma worked at the Conservation and Science Department at the Lincoln Park Zoo studying the foraging and tool behaviours of chimpanzee and gorillas. Emma holds a BA with honors in Anthropology and Biology from the University of Chicago (2010).

Published Research Articles and Chapters

Patalano R., Hamilton R., Finestone E.M., Amano N., Heddell-Stevens P., Itambu M., Petraglia M. & Roberts P. (2021) Microhabitat Variability in Human Evolution. Frontiers in Earth Science 9:797669. 

Reeves J.S., Braun D.B., Finestone E.M., Plummer T.W. (2021). Ecological perspectives on technological diversity at Kanjera South. Journal of Human Evolution.

Finestone E.M., Braun D.R., Plummer T.W., Bartilol S., & Kiprono N. (2020). Building ED-XRF datasets for sourcing rhyolite and quartzite artifacts: A case study on the Homa Peninsula, Kenya. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, ISSN: 2352-409X, Vol: 33. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jasrep.2020.102510.

E.M. Finestone. (2019). Oldowan tools behaviors through time on the Homa Peninsula, Kenya. CUNY Academic Works.

Plummer T.W. & E.M. Finestone. (2018). Archeological sites from 2.6 2.0 Ma: Towards a deeper understanding of the early Oldowan. In J. Schwartz (ed.) Rethinking Human Evolution(pp. 267-296). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Finestone E.M., Brown M.H., Ross S.R., & Pontzer H. (2018). Great ape walking kinematics: Implications for hominoid evolution. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 166:4355.

Kozma E.E., Webb N.M., Harcourt-Smith W.E.H., Raichlen D A., D’Août K., Brown M.H., Finestone E.M., Ross S.R., Aerts P., & Pontzer H. (2018). Hip extensor mechanics and the evolution of walking and climbing capabilities in humans, apes, and fossil hominins. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 201715120. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1715120115.

Finestone E.M., Bonnie K.E., Hopper L.M., Vreeman V.M., Lonsorf E.V., & Ross S.R. (2014). The interplay between individual, social, and environmental influences on chimpanzee food choice. Behavioural Processes 105: 71-78.


Published Abstracts

Bergmann, L., Finestone, E., Braun, T., Yanjun, C., Scott, P., Modestou, S., Umbo S., Trappe, M., Petraglia, M., Boivin, N., Breitenbach, S. (2022). A tentative stalagmite-based multi-proxy reconstruction of environmental changes at the end of Marine Isotope Stage 11 in Uzbekistan, Central Asia. European Geosciences Union General Assembly 2022.

Ditchfield, P., Plummer, T., Bishop, S., Blumenthal, S., Oliver, J., Hertel F., Whitfield, E., Vincent, T., Kinyanjui, R., Finestone, E., Potts, R. (2021). Palaeoenvironmental comparison of Oldowan sites from the Homa Peninsula, southwestern Kenya. Society of Africanist Archaeologists. 

Breitenbach, S.F.M., Finestone, E., Cai, Y., Scott, P., Petraglia M, Boivin, N. Impact of the Toba eruption on rainfall - a speleothem record suggests multi-staged eruption affected EASM (2021). European Geosciences Union General Assembly 2021.

Finestone, E.M., Braun, D., Bartilol, S., Kiprono, N., Plummer, T. Comparing Non-Destructive Energy Dispersive X-Ray Fluorescence Analysis Across Instruments. (2019). East African Association for Paleoanthropology and Palaeontology.

Finestone, E.M., Plummer, T., Reeves, J., Braun, D., Ditchfield, P. (2019). Raw material selection and transport at three Oldowan localities on the Homa Peninsula, Kenya. Paleoanthropology.

Finestone, E.M., Plummer, T., Reeves, J., Braun, D., Ditchfield, P. (2019). ED-XRF study of Oldowan artifacts documents raw material selection and transport through time on the Homa Peninsula, Kenya. American Association of Physical Anthropologists.

Braun, D.R., Plumer, T.W., Reeves J.S., Finestone E.M., Ditchfield, P., Bishop, L. (2018). Oldowan transport and use of stone resources: Insights from Kanjera South. PanAfrican Conference. PANAF2018/AFR.001-C.006.

Finestone, E.M., Plummer, T., Reeves, J., Braun, D., Ditchfield, P., Whitfield, E., Bishop, L., Vincent, T. (2018). Early Oldowan raw material selection and transport at Nyayanga, Kenya. Society of Africanist Archaeologists.

Reeves, J., Braun, D., Plummer T., Finestone, E. (2018). Oldowan transport and use of stone resources: Insights from Kanjera South. Society of Africanist Archaeologists.

Finestone, E M., Plummer T. W., Ditchfield P.W., Whitfield E., Vincent, T., Blumenthal S.A., Bishop L.C., Oliver J., Braun D.R., Reeves, J.S., Lamela-Lopez, R., Parkinson, J.A. (2017). Preliminary findings from Sare River, an early Pleistocene Oldowan site on the Homa Peninsula, Kenya. PaleoAnthropology: A11.

Vincent, T., Whitfield, E., Bishop, L., Plummer, T., Ditchfield, P., Williams, S., Finestone, E., Kiriakoulakis, K. (2017). Can phytoliths and lipid biomarkers constrain and refine isotopic palaeoclimatic reconstructions? Insights from the Homa Peninsula, western Kenya. European Geosciences Union General Assembly 19: 18172.

Vincent, T., Whitfield, E., Bishop, L., Plummer, T., Ditchfield, P., Williams, S., Finestone, E., Kiriakoulakis, K. (2017). Paleoenvironmental evolution at Plio-Pleistocene Hominin sites in Western Kenya: Preliminary result. European Geosciences Union General Assembly 19: 18187.

Kozma, E.E., Webb, N.M., Harcourt Smith, W.E.H, Richlen, D.A., D'Août, K., Brown M.H., Finestone, E.M., Ross, S.R., Aerts, P., Pontzer, H. (2017). Mechanics of Hip Extension Characterize Arboreal-Terrestrial Trade-offs in Hominin Evolution. American Journal of Physical Anthropology.

Finestone, E.M., Brown, M.H., Ross, S.R., Pontzer, H. Spatiotemporal Characteristics of over ground walking in zoo-housed great apes. (2016). International Journal of Primatology.

Finestone, E M., Brown, M.H., Ross, S.R., Pontzer, H. (2016). Videographic analysis of kinematics in great apes: To what extent are gait and posture conserved? American Journal of Physical Anthropology 159: 143.

Finestone, E.M., Brown, M.H., Ross, S.R., Pontzer, H. (2015). The kinematics of knuckle-walking: To what extent are gait and posture conserved in the African great apes? PaleoAnthropology.

Finestone, E.M.,  Bonnie, K.E., Hopper, L.M., Vreeman, V.M., Lonsorf E.V., & Ross, S.R. Chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) foraging behavior is mediated by food preference, competition avoidance, and social facilitation. (2014). American Journal of Physical Anthropology 153: S58: 117.

Finestone, E., Bonnie, K., Vreeman, V., Ross, S.R., Lonsdorf, E. Chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) food selections differ between solitary and social conditions. (2012). American Journal of Primatology 74 S1: 61.

Finestone, E., Bonnie, K., Vreeman, V., Ross, S., Lonsdorf, E. Assessing food selectivity of zoo-housed chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) in social and individual settings. (2011). American Journal of Primatology 73: S1: 65.

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