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ESR4: 3D Morphological and molecular-based phylogeny of Homo erectus. PUSHH: “Palaeoproteomics to Unleash Studies on Human History”, H2020 / ETN.

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    University of Paris/CNRS
    Biological sciences
    First Stage Researcher (R1)
    24/07/2020 23:00 - Europe/Brussels
    France › Paris
    H2020 / Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions


The University of Paris invites applications for a PhD fellowship in Palaeoproteomics and Palaeoanthropology, starting October 1st 2020, or as soon as possible thereafter. The fellowship is part of the European Training Network (ETN) PUSHH: “Palaeoproteomics to Unleash Studies on Human History”, funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement N° 861389. The PUSHH ETN will provide international doctoral training on palaeoproteomics applied to palaeontology, palaeoanthropology and archaeology. It builds on the recent exciting advances in palaeoproteomics, i.e. mass spectrometry-based ancient protein sequencing. PUSHH will develop new proteomic methods, optimised for ancient protein analysis, that will be applied to address outstanding evolutionary questions in human and hominoid evolution.

Read more about the network and application procedure at: www.pushh-etn.eu

Our group and research

The successful candidate will be enrolled as a PhD student at the University of Paris, and based at the research laboratory FRE 2029 BABEL (Biology, Anthropology, Biometry, Epigenetic, Lineage) in Paris, involved in biological, forensic and biomolecular sciences (www.babelanthropo.cnrs.fr). The research unit is supported by two directing institutions, the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) (https://www.cnrs.fr), and the University of Paris (https://u-paris.fr). The student will be supervised by specialists in palaeoanthropology, palaeontology, palaeogenetics and palaeoproteomics to investigate question on human and primate evolution in Southeast Asia.

About the position

The main purpose of the PhD position is to complete a doctoral thesis, which qualifies for independent research and for other forms of employment that demand specific competency, and to complete PhD courses or other equivalent education corresponding to 100 hours. The PhD position demands that the applicant has his or her regular workplace at the University of Paris (Faculté de chirurgie dentaire, Montrouge) until mid-2021, and after at the Forensic Institute (Institut médico-légale) in Paris.

A part of the formation in “virtual imaging and geometric morphometrics” will be carried out at the University of Bordeaux (UMR 5199 PACEA Laboratory), France. Formation in proteomics studies will be carried out at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark.

Project description

Title: 3D Morphological and Molecular-based Phylogeny of Homo erectus

The taxonomic diagnosis of many Asian Early Pleistocene hominid dentognathic specimens has been debated for over a century, notably for isolated teeth and occlusally worn specimens. This is mostly related to the convergence in molar crown size and overall morphology between fossil Homo and Pongo species. The resulting taxonomic confusion has affected the historical debate on the evolution of the genus Homo in Southeast Asia and, more generally, the assessment of Pleistocene hominid palaeobiodiversity. Recently, the investigation of the tooth internal structure of some Indonesian hominid specimens using microtomography enabled to clarify their taxonomic attribution and to bring into light the existence and the validity of Meganthropus as a Hominid different from Gigantopithecus, Pongo and Homo. Recent advances in palaeoproteomics prove to be a reliable complementary diagnostic way to resolve the taxonomic conundrum affecting some of the Asian Pleistocene specimens.

The Early Stage Researcher (ESR4) involved in this project will investigate a set of hominid specimens currently attributed to Homo erectus, Meganthropus and Pongo using the analysis of tooth internal structure, to test the validity of their taxonomic assignment. A number of Early to Middle Pleistocene isolated teeth from Indonesia and China whose taxonomic attribution is still unclear will also be revised. The results of this morphometrical approach will be compared with those obtained from molecular analyses based on the same specimens. In case DNA is not preserved anymore, the samples will be deep-sequenced to maximise the dental enamel palaeoproteome sequence recovered and to enable confident phylogenetic assignment (Homo erectus or other hominine species).

The ESR will also have the opportunity to collaborate with the other fellows in the PUSHH network and especially within ESR3 based at the University of Copenhagen.


Principal supervisor is Anne-Marie Bacon, FRE 2029 Babel CNRS/University of Paris (France).


Second supervisors are:

Fabrice Demeter (Assist. Prof.), Lundbeck GeoGenetics Centre, Globe Institute (Denmark);


Clément Zanolli, UMR 5199 PACEA CNRS/University of Bordeaux (France).




More Information

Offer Requirements


Eligibility criteria

To be eligible for the PhD position on October 1st, 2020, the candidate must:

  • have not resided or carried out your main activity (work, studies, etc.) in France for more than 12 months since October 1, 2017. Compulsory national service, short stays such as holidays, and time spent as part of a procedure for obtaining refugee status under the Geneva Convention are not taken into account.
  • be in the first four years (full-time equivalent research experience) of your research career and have not been awarded a doctoral degree. Full-time equivalent research experience is measured from the date when you obtained the first degree entitling you to embark on a doctorate (either in the country in which the degree was obtained or in the country in which you are recruited), even if a doctorate was never started or envisaged.

The candidate must have a Master of Sciences or equivalent, with a background in one or more of the following areas: Evolutionary biology, palaeontology, palaeoanthropology, morphometric geometrics, genomics, proteomics. Experience in at least one of these two disciplines “genomics/proteomics” or “morphometric geometrics “, is encouraged for this application.


Specific Requirements

Terms of employment

The candidate must have the legal requirements to be enrolled in the PhD program of the University of Paris (BioSPC – Ecole Doctorale Bio Sorbonne Paris Cité). General information is available at the Graduate School’s website: Https://ecolesdoctorales.parisdescartes.fr

The application must include the following documents in PDF format and must be sent to




1. Motivated letter of application (maximum one page).

2. CV including education, experience, language skills and other skills relevant for the position.

3. Master of Science diploma or equivalent (5 years of formation in a University) and transcripts.



Work location(s)
1 position(s) available at
FRE2029 University of Paris/CNRS
2 Place Mazas

EURAXESS offer ID: 535640


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