Florent Rivals

Florent Rivals

Institut Català de Paleoecologia Humana i Evolució Social


I graduated in Biology at the University Paul Sabatier in Toulouse, and received my PhD in Prehistory from the University of Perpignan (France) in 2002. In 2004, I completed a postdoctoral research at the American Museum of Natural History and in 2005, I was awarded a postdoctoral fellowship from the Humboldt Foundation at the Universität Hamburg (Germany). I was appointed ICREA Junior Researcher (2007 to 2012) at the Institut Català de Paleoecologia Humana i Evolució Social (IPHES) in Tarragona and since 2013, I am ICREA Research Professor at the same institution. I participate in several national and international projects, and I am principal investigador of the "NEANDERLIFE 2” project funded by the Ministerio de Ciencia, Innovación y Universidades. I am co-author of about 100 peer-reviewed articles in international journals.

Research interests

My primary research interest is 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. My research focus 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 (known as the last supper phenomenon), 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 hominin behavioral strategies in different ecological settings. Beyond Europe, my research is also recently focussing on the Near East (Israel), Africa (Tanzania, Etiopia and Morocco), and South America (Chile, Argentina, Brasil).

Selected publications

– Marín J, Rodríguez-Hidalgo A, Vallverdú J, Gómez de Soler B, Rivals F, Rabuñal JR, Pineda A, Chacón MG, Carbonell E & Saladié P 2019 ‘Neanderthal logistic mobility from a taphonomic perspective of Abric Romaní (Capellades, Spain)‘, Quaternary Science Reviews, vol. 225, 106033.

– Pappa S, Schreve DC & Rivals F 2019, ‘The bear necessities: A new dental microwear database for the interpretation of palaeodiet in fossil Ursidae‘, Palaeogeography Palaeoclimatology Palaeoecology, vol. 514, pp 168-188.

– Ramirez-Pedraza I, Tornero C, Pappa S, Talamo S, Salazar-Garcia DC, Blasco R, Rosell J & Rivals F 2019, ‘Microwear and isotopic analyses on cave bear remains from Toll Cave reveal both short-term and long-term dietary habits‘, Scientific Reports, vol. 9, 5716.

– Sanz M, Rivals F, Garcia D & Zilhao J 2019, ‘Hunting strategy and seasonality in the last interglacial occupation of Cueva Antón (Murcia, Spain)‘, Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences, vol. 11, pp 3577-3594.

– Sanchez-Hernandez C, Gourichon L, Pubert E, Rendu W, Montes R & Rivals F 2019, ‘Combined dental wear and cementum analyses in ungulates reveal the seasonality of Neanderthal occupations in Covalejos Cave (Northern Iberia)‘, Scientific Reports, vol. 9, 14335.

Rivals F, Semprebon GM & Lister AM 2019, ‘Feeding traits and dietary variation in Pleistocene proboscideans: a tooth microwear review‘, Quaternary Science Reviews, vol. 219, pp 145-153.

Selected research activities

– Principal investigator of the research grant “Snapshots of Neanderthal lifestyles 2” funded by the Ministerio de Ciencia, Innovación y Universidades (2017-2020).

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

– Associate editor for Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution.

– Associate Professor at the Universitat Rovira i Virgili in the Erasmus Mundus Master in Quaternary and Prehistory.