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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 in 2002. In 2004, I completed a postdoc at the American Museum of Natural History and in 2005, I was awarded 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. I also participate in various national and international projects (Palarq, ERC). I have supervised five PhD theses and five Master thesis. To date, I have published 130 papers in peer-reviewed journals (first author in 48 of them) of which 64% in Q1 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 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 (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 focussing on the Near East (Israel), Africa (Tanzania, Ethiopia and Morocco), and South America (Chile, Argentina, Brasil).

Selected publications

Rivals F, Blasco R, Rosell J, Efrati B, Gopher A & Barkai R 2021. ‘Seasonality, duration of the hominin occupations and hunting grounds at Middle Pleistocene Qesem Cave (Israel)‘, Archaeological And Anthropological Sciences, vol. 13, no. 11, 205.

– Zilio L, Hammond H, Karampaglidis T, Sanchez-Romero L, Blasco R, Rivals F, Rufà A, Picin A, Chacón MG, Demuro M, Arnold LJ, Rosell J 2021, ‘Examining Neanderthal and carnivore occupations of Teixoneres Cave (Moià, Barcelona, Spain) using archaeostratigraphic and intra-site spatial analysis‘, Scientific Reports, vol. 11, no. 1, 4339.

– Uzunidis A, Pineda, Jiménez-Manchón S, Xafis A, Ollivier V & Rivals F 2021, ‘The impact of sediment abrasion on tooth microwear analysis: an experimental study‘, Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences, vol. 13, no. 8, 134.

– Bertacchi A, Gasparyan B, Gruwier B, Rivals F, Kandel AW 2021, ‘Upper Paleolithic animal exploitation in the Armenian Highlands: The zooarchaeology of Aghitu-3 Cave‘, Quaternary International, vol. 587-588, pp 400-414.

– Moncel MH, Chacón MG, Vettese D, Courty MA, Daujeard C, Eixea A, Fernandes P, Allué E, Hardy B, Rivals F, Bearez P, Gallotti R, Puaud S 2021, ‘Late Neanderthal short-term and specialized occupations at the Abri du Maras (South-East France, level 4.1, MIS 3)‘, Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences, vol. 13, no. 3, 45.

Selected research activities

– Principal investigator of the project “Neanderthal behaviour and paleoecology in Mediterranean ecosystems” 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 Editorial board member for Palaeogeogr., Palaeoclimatol., Palaeoecol. and Open Quaternary.

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

ICREA Memoir 2021