Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences

Feibel, Craig S.

  • Image
  • Position: Professor of Geology and Anthropology
  • Office: Room 140 Wright Geological Laboratory
  • Phone: (848) 445-2721
  • Email:

Lab Website: PRL: The Paleoenvironmental Research Laboratory


  • B.A. Dartmouth College
  • M.S. Iowa State University
  • Ph.D. University of Utah


Research Interests

  • Stratigraphy, sedimentology, paleoenvironments, geoarchaeology, environmental geology, Africa, Middle East.

  • My research focuses on the investigation of the geological context for evolution in terrestrial ecosystems, particularly those related to hominid evolution and the later Cenozoic. My primary research area is the Turkana Basin of Kenya, where I've worked for over forty years in association with the National Museums of Kenya and the Turkana Basin Institute. My work there involves stratigraphy, sedimentology and paleontology, to establish a geologic framework and an environmental backdrop to the evolutionary and archaeological record for which that region is so famous. Since 2013 I have lead a coring effort in West Turkana as part of the Hominin Sites and Paleolakes Drilling Project (HSPDP).  This endeavor recovered some 216 m of lacustrine sediments spanning the interval 2.0 - 1.4 Ma, and is intended to provide a high-resolution multi-proxy environmental dataset that can be directly linked to contiguous outcrops which have yielded important evidence for early human evolution and cultural development.  My other recent projects have included studies of Pleistocene paleoenvironments along the Levantine Corridor in Israel, stratigraphy of Miocene lake deposits in Hungary and Croatia, and geology at the Hadar hominid site in Ethiopia.


  • Nengo, I., Tafforeau, P., Gilbert, C. C., Fleagle, J. G., Miller, E. R., Feibel, C. S., Fox, D., Feinberg, J., Pugh, K. D., Berruyer, C., Mana, S., Engle, Z. and Spoor, F.  in press.  New infant cranium from the African Miocene sheds light on ape evolution.  Nature 548: 169–174.  doi:10.1038/nature23456
  • Campisano, C.J., Cohen, A.S., Arrowsmith, J.R., Asrat, A., Behrensmeyer, A.K., Brown, E.T., Deino, A.L., Deocampo, D.M., Feibel, C.S., Kingson, J.D., Lamb, H.F., Lowenstein, T.K., Noren, A., Olago, D.O., Owen, R.B., Pelletier, J.D., Potts, R., Reed, K.E., Renaut, R.W. Russell, J.M., Schäbitz, F., Stone, J.R., Trauth, M.H., Wynn, J.G.  2017. The Hominin Sites and Paleolakes Drilling Project: High-Resolution Paleoclimate Records from the East African Rift System and Their Implications for Understanding the Environmental Context of Hominin Evolution.  PaleoAnthropology 2017: 1–43. doi:10.4207/PA.2017.ART104
  • Uno, K. T., Pratigya, P. J., Kahle, E., Feibel, C., Harmand, S., Roche, H., and deMenocal, P. B. 2016.  A Pleistocene palaeovegetation record from plant wax biomarkers from the Nachukui Formation, West Turkana, Kenya.  Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B  371: 20150235.  doi: 10.1098:rstb.2015.0235
  • Cohen, A., Campisano, C., Arrowsmith, R., Asrat, A., Behrensmeyer, A.K., Deino, A., Feibel, C., Hill, A., Johnson, R., Kingson, J., Lamb, H., Lowenstein, T., Noren, A., Olago, D., Owen, R.B., Potts, R., Reed, K., Renaut, R., Schäbitz, F., Tiercelin, J.-J., Trauth, M.H., Wynn, J., Ivory, S., Brady, K., O’Grady, R., Rodysill, J., Githiri, J., Russell, J., Foerster, V., Dommain, R., Rucina, S., Deocampo, D., Russell, J., Billingsley, A., Beck, C., Dorenbeck, G., Dullo, L., Feary, D., Garello, D., Gromig, R., Johnson, T., Junginger, A., Karanja, M., Kimburi, E., Mbuthia, A., McCartney, T., McNulty, E., Muiruri, V., Nambiro, E., Negash, E.W.,  Njagi, D., Wilson, J.N., Rabideaux, N., Raub, T., Sier, M.J., Smith, P., Urban, J., Warren, M., Yadeta, M., Yost, C., Zinaye, B.  2016. The Hominin Sites and Paleolakes Drilling Project: Inferring the Environmental Context of Human Evolution from Eastern African Rift Lake Deposits.  Scientific Drilling 21: 1–16. doi:10.5194:sd-21-1-2016
  • Marder, O., Biton, R., Boaretto, E., Feibel, C. S., Melamed, Y., Mienis, H. K., Rabinovich, R., Zohar, I. and Sharon, G. 2015.  Jordan River Dureijat - A New Epipaleolithic Site in the Upper Jordan Valley.  Journal of the Israel Prehistoric Society - Mitekufat Haeven 45: 5-30.
  • Harmand, S., Lewis, J. E., Feibel, C. S., Lepre, C. J., Prat, S., Lenoble, A., Boës, X., Quinn, R. L., Brenet, M., Clément, S., Daver, G., Brugal, J. –P., Leakey, L., Kent, D. V., Mortlock, R. A., Wright, J. D., and Roche, H. 2015. Before the Oldowan: 3.3 Ma Stone Tools from Lomekwi 3, West Turkana, Kenya. Nature 521:310-315. doi: 10.1038/nature14464
  • Ward, C. V., Feibel, C. S., Plavcan, J. M., Skinner, M. M., Spoor, F., Hammond, A. S., Moffett, E. A., Leakey, L. N., and Leakey, M. G..  2015.  Associated ilium and femur from Koobi Fora, Kenya, and postcranial diversity in early HomoJournal of Human Evolution 81: 48-67. doi:10.1016/j.jhevol.2015.01.005
  • Joordens, J. C. J., Dupont-Nivet, G., Feibel, C. S., Spoor, F., Sier, M., van der Lubbe, J. J., Nielsen, T. K., Knul, M. V., Davies, G. R. and Vonhof, H. V.  2013.  Improved age control on early Homo fossils from the upper Burgi Member at Koobi Fora, Kenya. Journal of Human Evolution 65: 731-745.  doi: 10.1016/j.jhevol.2013.09.002
  • Vonhof, H., Joordens, J. C. A., Noback, M. L., van der Lubbe, J. H. J. L., Feibel, C. S. and Kroon, D.  2013. Environmental and climatic control on seasonal stable isotope variation of freshwater molluscan bivalves in the Turkana Basin (Kenya).  Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 383-384: 16-26. doi: 10.1016/j.palaeo.2013.04.022
  • Quinn, R. L., Lepre, C. J., Feibel, C. S., Wright, J. D., Mortlock, R. A., Harmand, S., Brugal, J. –P. and Roche, H.  2013.  Pedogenic carbonate stable isotopic evidence for wooded habitat preference of early Pleistocene tool makers in the Turkana Basin.  Journal of Human Evolution 65: 65-78. doi: 10.1016/j.jhevol.2013.04.002
  • Feibel, C. S.  2013. Facies analysis and Plio-Pleistocene paleoecology. In:  Sponheimer, M. Lee-Thorp, J. Reed, K. Ungar, P. (eds.)  Early Hominin Paleoecology.  University of Colorado Press. Boulder.  pp. 35-58.  (pdf)
  • Leakey, M. G., Spoor, F., Dean, M. C., Feibel, C. S., Antón, S. C., Kiarie, C. and Leakey, L. N. 2012. New fossils from Koobi Fora in northern Kenya confirm taxonomic diversity in early Homo. Nature 488: 201-204. doi: 10.1038/nature11322
  • Feibel, C. S.  2011. A Geological History of the Turkana Basin.  Evolutionary Anthropology 20(6): 206-216.  (pdf)
  • Lepre, C.  J., Roche, H., Kent, D. V., Harmand, S., Quinn, R. L., Brugal, J. -P., Lenoble, A., Texier, P. -J. and Feibel, C. S.  2011.  An earlier origin for the Acheulean.  Nature 477: 82-85.  (pdf)
  • Feibel, C. S.  2011.  Shades of the savannah.  Nature 476: 39-40. doi: 10.1038/476039a
  • Indriati, E., Swisher, C.C., Lepre, C., Quinn, R.L., Suriyanto, R.A., Hascaryo, A.T., Feibel, C.S., Pobiner, B.L. and Antón, S.C.  2011. Reassessing the age of the 20 meter Solo River Terrace, Central Java, Indonesia, and the survival of Late Homo erectus in Asia.  PLoS One 6(6): e21562: 1-10. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0021562
  • Joordens, J. C.J., Vonhof , H. B., Feibel, C. S., Lourens, L. J., Dupont-Nivet, G., van der Lubbe, J. H. J. L., Sier, M. J., Davies, G. R. and Kroon, D.  2011. An astronomically-tuned climate framework for hominins in the Turkana Basin.  Earth and Planetary Science Letters 307: 1-8. doi: 10.1016/j.epsl.2011.05.005
  • Sharon, G., Feibel, C., Alperson-Afil, N., Harlavan , Y., Feraud, G., Ashkenazi, S. and Rabinovitch, R.  2010.  New evidence for the northern Dead Sea Rift Acheulian.  PaleoAnthropology 2010: 79-99. 
  • Alperson-Afil, N., Sharon, G., Kislev, M., Melamed, Y., Zohar, I., Ashkenazi, S., Rabinovich, R., Biton, R., Werker, E., Hartman, G., Feibel, C. and Goren-Inbar, N.  2009. Spatial patterning revealing hominin behavioral modernity at Gesher Benot Ya‘aqov, Israel.  Science 326: 1677-1680. doi: 10.1126/science.1180695
  • Spiro, B., Ashkenazi, S., Mienis, H.K., Melamed, Y., Feibel, C., Delgado, A., and Starinsky, A.  2009. Climate variability in the Upper Jordan Valley around 0.78 Ma, inferences from time-series stable isotopes of Viviparidae, supported by mollusc and plant palaeoecology.  Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 282: 32-44. doi: 10.1016/j.palaeo.2009.08.005
  • Feibel, C. S., Lepre, C. J. and Quinn, R. L.  2009.  Stratigraphy, Correlation, and Age Estimates for Fossils from Area 123, Koobi Fora.  Journal of Human Evolution 57: 112-122. (pdf)
  • Feibel, C. S., Goren-Inbar, N., and Frumin, M. 2009.  Historical perspectives on long-term landscape evolution in the Hula Basin. In: Shea, J. J. and Lieberman, D. E.  (eds.) Transitions in Prehistory: Essays in Honor of Ofer Bar-Yosef.  Oxbow Books for the American Schools of Prehistoric Research, Oxford, pp. 23-31.
  • Campisano, C. J. and Feibel, C. S.  2008b.  Depositional environments and stratigraphic summary of the Pliocene Hadar Formation, Afar Depression, Ethiopia.  In: Quade, J. and Wynn, J. G. (eds)  The geology of early humans in the Horn of Africa.  Geological Society of America, Special Publication 446.  Boulder. pp. 179-201.
  • Campisano, C. J. and Feibel, C. S.  2008a.  Tephrostratigraphy of the Hadar and Busidima Formations at Hadar, Afar Depression, Ethiopia.  In: Quade, J. and Wynn, J. G. (eds)  The geology of early humans in the Horn of Africa.  Geological Society of America, Special Publication 446.  Boulder.  pp. 135-162.
  • Roman, D., Campisano, C., Quade, J., DiMaggio, E., Arrowsmith, R. and Feibel, C. 2008.  Composite tephrostratigraphy of the Dikika, Gona, Hadar, and Ledi-Geraru Project areas, northern Awash, Ethiopia.  In: Quade, J. and Wynn, J. G. (eds)  The geology of early humans in the Horn of Africa.  Geological Society of America, Special Publication 446.  Boulder.  pp. 119-134.
  • Feibel, C. S.  2008.  Microstratigraphy of the Kibish Hominin Sites KHS and PHS, lower Omo Valley, Ethiopia.   Journal of Human Evolution 55: 404-408.
  • Van Bocxlaer, B., Van Damme, D. and Feibel, C. S. 2008.  Gradual versus punctuated equilibrium evolution in the Turkana Basin molluscs: Evolutionary events or biological invasions?  Evolution 62: 511-520.
  • Quinn, R. L., Lepre, C. J., Wright, J. D. and Feibel, C. S.  2007.  Tectonic and climatic controls on the paleogeographic distribution of isotopic ratios (d13C, d18O) from pedogenic carbonates in Plio-Pleistocene hominin habitats at Koobi Fora, Kenya.  Journal of Human Evolution 53: 560-573.
  • Campisano, C. J. and Feibel, C. S. 2007.  Connecting local environmental sequences to global climate patterns: Evidence from the hominin-bearing Hadar Formation, Ethiopia.  Journal of Human Evolution 53: 515-527.
  • Lepre, C. J., Quinn, R. L., Joordens, J. J., Swisher, C. C., and Feibel, C. S. 2007.  Plio-Pleistocene facies environments from the KBS Member, Koobi Fora Formation: implications or climate controls on the development of lake-margin hominin habitats in the northeast Turkana Basin (northwest Kenya).  Journal of Human Evolution 53: 504-514.
  • Feibel, C. S.  2005.  Quaternary lake margins of the Levant Rift Valley.  In:  Speth, J. D. and Goren-Inbar, N. (eds.)  Paleoecology of the Levantine Corridor.  Oxbow Books, Oxford.  pp. 21-36.

       A complete list of publications can be found here.

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