Florent Rivals

Florent Rivals

Institut Català de Paleoecologia Humana i Evolució Social


After my graduate degree in Biology, I obtained my PhD in Prehistory from the University of Perpignan in 2002. In 2004, I completed a postdoc at the American Museum of Natural History and in 2005, I received a 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 and since 2013, I am ICREA Research Professor at the same institution. I am principal investigador of a coordinated research project on Neanderthal behaviour and paleoecology funded by the Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación. Additionally, I am involved in several national and international projects (COST Action, Palarq, ERC). I co-direct the excavations of the Toll and Teixoneres caves and I have supervised six PhD dissertations and five Master thesis. To date, I have authored about 160 papers in peer-reviewed journals, serving as the first author in 56 of them.

Research interests

My primary area of research centers on evolutionary paleoecology. I primarily utilize the analysis of mammalian fauna found in Plio-Pleistocene sites as a foundational framework for investigating the evolution of hominins. My research places a strong emphasis on understanding how climate-induced environmental changes influenced hominins, with a specific focus on Neanderthals. By examining mammal teeth, including species like bison, deer, horse, and mammoth and using a multiproxy approach, I gain valuable insights into their diet and the landscapes these animals inhabited shortly before their death. These insights are instrumental in reconstructing ancient environments, tracing alterations linked to shifts in climate, and comprehending the behavioral strategies adopted by hominins in diverse ecological settings. In addition to Europe, my research also extends to regions such as the Near East (Israel), Africa (Tanzania, Morocco), and South America (Chile, Argentina, Brazil).

Selected publications

- Rivals F, Cohen J & Desclaux E 2023, 'Dietary traits of the ungulates from the Middle Pleistocene sequence of Lazaret Cave: palaeoecological and archaeological implications', Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences, vol. 15, no. 3, pp 23.

- Uzunidis A, Rivals F, Rufa A, Blasco R & Rosell J 2023, 'The exceptional presence of Megaloceros giganteus in North-Eastern Iberia and its palaeoecological implications: The case of Teixoneres Cave (Moià, Barcelona, Spain)', Diversity, vol. 15, no. 2, 299.

- Martinez-Polanco MF & Rivals F 2023, 'Browsing into a Panamanian tropical rainforest: micro- and mesowear study of Central American red brocket deer', Mammal Research, vol. 68, pp 203-214.

- Rivals F, Belyaev RI, Basova VB & Prilepskaya NE 2023, 'Hogs, hippos or bears? Paleodiet of European Oligocene anthracotheres and entelodonts', Palaeogeography Palaeoclimatology Palaeoecology, vol. 611, 111363.

Selected research activities

- PI of the project “Neanderthal behaviour and paleoecology in Mediterranean ecosystems 2” funded by the Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación.
- Member of the management committee and Grant Awarding Coordinator in the COST Action "Integrating Neandertal Legacy: From Past to Present".
- Co-director of the field work at Toll and Teixoneres caves, Moià (Barcelona), Spain.
- Associate editor for Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution and Environmental Archaeology.
- Associate Professor at the Universitat Rovira i Virgili in the Master in Quaternary and Prehistory.