Alannah Pearson

Alannah Pearson

Position: PhD Candidate in Archaeology and Palaeoanthropology
School and/or Centres: School of Archaeology and Anthropology


Location: Room 117, Banks Building (#44), Linnaeus Way


MPhil, Australian National University (2015)


A PhD candidate in Archaeology and Palaeoanthropology, my subdiscipline is in paleoneurology where I am investigating cranial base and temporal lobe evolution in fossil and living primates including the human lineage. My research methods include virtual imaging, multivariate regressions, geometric morphometrics and phylogenetic comparative methods. Research interests also include primate cranial variation, morphological disparity and environmental adaptation. My PhD is multidisciplinary with supervision from Assoc. Prof Alison Behie at ANU, Dr Emiliano Bruner at CENIEH in Spain and Prof P. David Polly at Indiana University, Bloomington. I contribute to a Emiliano Bruner’s paleoneurology blog ( 

Thesis title

Inside and Out: Using virtual imaging to investigate the evolution of cerebrocranial temporal regions in fossil and living primates



Conference Presentations

- 2019 PEARSON, A., Polly, P.D. and Bruner, E. Paleoneurology of Asian Homo erectus: preliminary reconsiderations for temporal lobe morphology, The Asia Pacific Conference on Human Evolution (APCHE), Brisbane, Australia.

- 2019 PEARSON, A., Polly, P.D. and Bruner, E. Temporal lobe variation in extant and fossil old world monkeys (Cercopithecoidea, Catarrhini), Society of Vertebrate Paleontology (SVP), Brisbane, Australia.

- 2019 PEARSON, A., Polly, P.D. and Bruner, E. Middle cranial fossa and temporal lobe morphology in Neanderthals and modern humans, European Society for the study of Human Evolution (ESHE), Liège, Belgium.

- 2019 PEARSON, A., Ruskin, K., Polly, P. D. Does skull form vary with geography, environment or diet? Investigating morphological disparity in the genus Pan, The Australasian Society for Human Biology (ASHB) Canberra, Australia.

- 2018 PEARSON, A. Polly, P.D., and Bruner, E. Palaeoneurology and digital anatomy: predicting skull-brain evolution in fossil platyrrhines, The Australasian Society for Human Biology (ASHB), Townsville, Australia.

- 2017 PEARSON, A. and Bruner, E. A preliminary survey of temporal lobe and cranial morphometrics in extant haplorrhines, Iberian Primatological Congress, Burgos, Spain.


- 2020 PEARSON, A. Polly, P.D. and Bruner, E. Is the middle cranial fossa a reliable predictor of temporal lobe volume in extant and fossil anthropoids? American Journal of Physical Anthropology

- 2015 PEARSON, A. Groves, C.P. and Cardini, A. The ‘temporal effect’ in hominids: Reinvestigating the nature of support for a chimp-human clade in bone morphology, Journal of Human Evolution, 88: 146-159.

- 2016 – Present Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship

- 2020 American Association of Physical Anthropologists (AAPA) Pollitzer Student Travel Award (declined)

- 2019 The Society of Vertebrate Paleontology (SVP) Colbert Student Poster Prize Finalist

- 2018 The Australasian Society for Human Biology (ASHB) Student Conference Grant

- 2017 Australian National University Vice-Chancellor's HDR Travel Grant

- 2016 The Australasian Society for Human Biology (ASHB) Student Travel Award

- 2014 The Rhys Jones Award in Archaeology and Palaeoanthropology, Australian National University

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