Dr. Natalie Uomini

Dept. of Linguistic and Cultural Evolution
+49 3641-686-820
+49 177-393-0323

Main Focus

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COLT Lab (COgnition, Language and Technology)

Curriculum Vitae

2017 - 2021: Templeton World Charity Foundation grant, "Teaching in wild New Caledonian crows"

2020 - present: core member, Ethics Working Group, Interspecies I/O

2015 - present: Senior Scientist, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Jena

2014 - 2015: Researcher, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig

2013 - 2014: Career break

2011 - 2013: Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship, University of Liverpool

2010 - 2011: Career break

2008 - 2010: British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship, University of Liverpool

2008: PhD Evolutionary Anthropology & Archaeology, University of Southampton

2001: MSc Biological Anthropology, Durham University

2000: Master Linguistics & Teaching French as Foreign Language, University of Grenoble

1999: BA Cognitive Science & Linguistics, University of California, San Diego

I'm interested in the evolution of cognition. My focus is on tools and language. I integrate different disciplines and different species (including humans) to study:

  • what are evolutionarily shared traits (continuities in the evolution of tool-use, intelligence, or communication across species) 
  • what makes a species unique (some behaviours or abilities in a species which seem to be unique)

I combine the approaches of Psychology/Cognitive Science and Evolutionary Anthropology on the one hand, which generally focus on human uniqueness, and Biology and Ecology on the other hand, which generally focus on similarities across species. I think each species has both shared and unique traits, and both are important to define a species while understanding its origins.

My current projects are:

  • Neuroarchaeology study of language and stone tools in the brain (fMRI with humans)
  • Grammar of tool-making in wild New Caledonian crows (behavioral observations and field experiments)
  • Laterality in California sea otters (behavioral observations)
  • Evolution of speech (chimpanzee phonetics)
  • Social transmission of technology, social learning (controlled experiments with humans, human cross-cultural syntheses, and wild animal behavior)
  • Co-evolution of language and material culture (human comparisons and real-world experiments)
  • Teaching in a cross-cultural and cross-species perspective

Archaeological fieldwork I have directed

  • Cave exploration and surveying in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea (Mt. Hagen area)
  • Surveys at Camp Guernsey, Wyoming, USA

To write me a message, please fill in the form here. Thank you!

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