Florent Rivals

Institut Català de Paleoecologia Humana i Evolució Social (IPHES)


Graduated in Biology at the University Paul Sabatier in Toulouse, Florent Rivals received his PhD in Prehistory from the University of Perpignan (France) in 2002. In 2004, with the support of a grant from the French ministry of Foreign Affairs, he completed a postdoctoral research at the American Museum of Natural History. In 2005, he was awarded a postdoctoral fellowship from the Humboldt Foundation at the University of Hamburg (Germany). He was appointed ICREA Junior Researcher (2007 to 2012) at the Institut Català de Paleoecologia Humana i Evolució Social (IPHES) in Tarragona and since October 2013, he is ICREA Research Professor at the same institution. F. Rivals is co-author of about 70 peer-reviewed articles in international journals.

Research interests

Florent Rivals has a primary research interest in evolutionary paleoecology and the ecological context of evolution. The analysis of mammalian fauna from Plio-Pleistocene sites provides the framework for studying the evolution of hominins. His research focuses on the impact of climate-driven environmental changes on hominins, and Neanderthals in particular. Examining mammal teeth, such as bison, deer, horse and mammoth, under a microscope and looking at the marks left by the food they ate, provides insight into the habitats they roamed just before they died. The changes in diet over thousands of years are used to reconstruct ancient environments, to track shifts related to climatic changes, and to understand Neanderthal behavioral strategies in different ecological settings.

Selected publications

– Sánchez-Hernández C, Rivals F, Blasco R & Rosell J 2016 ‘Tale of two timescales: Combining tooth wear methods with different temporal resolutions to detect seasonality of Palaeolithic hominin occupational patterns’, Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, vol. 6, pp 790-797.

Rivals F & Lister AM 2016, ‘Dietary flexibility and niche partitioning of large herbivores through the Pleistocene of Britain’, Quaternary Science Reviews, vol. 146, pp. 116-133.

– Camarós E, Cueto M, Lorenzo C, Villaverde V & Rivals F 2016, ‘Large carnivore attacks on hominins during the Pleistocene: a forensic approach with a Neanderthal example’, Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences, vol. 8, no. 3, pp 635-646.

– Talamo S, Blasco R, Rivals F, Picin A, Chacón MG, Iriarte E, López-García JM, Blain HA, Arilla M, Rufà A, Sánchez-Hernández C, Andrés M, Camarós E, Ballesteros A, Cebrià A, Rosell J & Hublin JJ 2016, ‘The radiocarbon approach to Neanderthals in a carnivore den site. A well-defined chronology for Teixoneres cave (Moià, Barcelona, Spain)’, Radiocarbon, vol. 58, pp 247- 265.

Rivals F, Sanz M & Daura J 2016, ‘First reconstruction of the dietary traits of the Mediterranean deer (Haploidoceros mediterraneus) from the Cova del Rinoceront (NE Iberian Peninsula)’, Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, vol. 449, pp 101-107.

Rivals F, Camarós E & Sánchez-Hernández C 2016, ‘Stories written in teeth: New archeological insights from tooth-related studies’, Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, vol. 6, pp 777-779.

Selected research activities

– Principal investigator of the research grant “Snapshots of Neanderthal lifestyles: Behavioral patterns and high resolution archaeology” funded by the Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad.

– Co-direction of the excavations at Teixoneres and Toll caves, Moià (Barcelona), Spain.

– Associate editor of Quaternary International.

– Associate Professor at Universitat Rovira i Virgili (Tarragona): Master in Quaternary Archeology and Human Evolution.