Having graduated with a BSc in Biology from the University of Leeds and an M.Phil in Biological Anthropology from the University of Cambridge, I’m now a PhD researcher at University College London, becoming increasingly fascinated by how anthropology, conservation biology, technology, archaeology, and human evolution can fit together to address some of the planet’s most pressing problems.
As part of my rearcher in the Extreme Citizen Science Research Group (ExCiteS) at University College London (UCL), I am working on a project alongside the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) in Cameroon, aiming to empower indigenous groups including the hunter-gatherer Baka people to contribute their extensive knowledge of the forest and what goes on inside it in order to tackle the extreme levels of poaching in the Congo Basin. This approach promotes indigenous rights AND conservation aims, a well overdue double-whammy.
The first part of this site is dedicated to the incredible opportunity I had to work with Prof John Parkington at the University of Cape Town for a year, with the aim of trying to reveal the behaviour and ecology of early humans of the Middle Stone Age (~300,000-30,000 years ago), as well as some later periods. The Middle Stone Age is exceptionally important and interesting because our species evolved in this time (~200,000 years ago), and the first evidence of abstract thought, symbolic behaviour and art occurs here.
By excavating and analysing animal bones, shellfish remains, lithics (stone tools) and other human-made objects found in ancient hangout spots around the Western Cape (caves and rock shelters), we are revealing a tiny piece in the vast picture of how these early humans not only survived, but evolved massive brains, leading to art, music, agriculture, iPhones, and you reading this sentence.
Follow the research here
LinkedIn: Simon Hoyte