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Frank Williams


Ph.D., University of Massachusetts Amherst, 2001


Paleoanthropology, Biological Anthropology, Osteology, Primates, Neandertals, Australopithecus, Paranthropus, Dental Microwear


Dr. Frank L’Engle Williams received his B.A. from the University of Florida, and his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Before coming to Georgia State, he was a post-doctoral research assistant at Pennsylvania State University. In March 2014, Dr. Williams was a Visiting Scholar at the Department of Archaeology, University of Calgary as a Fulbright Specialist Program grantee. During Spring 2016, he was a Fulbright Scholar in Belgium where he conducted research at the Royal Museum for Central Africa and the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, and gave lectures at the Musée de Préhistoire, Université de Liège, and the Faculteit Archaeologie, Vrij Universiteit Brussel as detailed in several blogs (here, here and here) and the national Fulbright office Instagram posting.

The professional interests of Dr. Williams include studies of Neandertals from a developmental perspective, and the anatomy and biology of early humans from the genus Australopithecus. Parallel to his interest in morphology, he has explored dental microwear to reconstruct ancient diets and the paleoecology of early humans and their relatives, as well as cercopithecid monkeys from Plio-Pleistocene southern Africa and Eurasia. Dr. Williams has also examined human and nonhuman primate anatomical structures and allometric scaling. Fluent in Dutch (from his ethnographic fieldwork on environmental issues in the Netherlands), he translated an anatomical description of Perodicticus potto (a prosimian) from 19th century Dutch to English. His publications can be found in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology, Journal of Human Evolution, Current Anthropology, Folia Primatologica, Clinical Anatomy, Homo-Journal of Comparative Human Biology, Palaios, Anatomical Record, Central European Journal of Geosciences, Anthropological Review, Zoologische Mededelingen , Periodicum Biologorom, Journal of Archaeological Sciences, Journal of Anthropological Sciences and Quaternary International. His published booWilliams book coverk chapters appear in The Origins of Modern Humans: Biology Reconsidered (eds. Smith and Ahern, 2013), Patterns of Growth and Development in the Genus Homo (eds. Thompson et al., 2003), Human Evolution through Developmental Change (eds. Minugh-Purvis and McNamara, 2002) and Neanderthals on the Edge (eds. Stringer et al., 2000). His book, Exploring Biological Anthropology, was published by Oxford University Press in 2010.

At Georgia State University, Dr. Williams teaches introductory courses in anthropology, as well as upper level / graduate level courses such as Human Evolution, Primate Behavioral Ecology, Methods and Theories in Biological Anthropology, Forensic Anthropology and Dental Anthropology. Dr. Williams supervises the Dental Microwear Laboratory at Georgia State University which houses a unique collection of dental molds and casts (n = 728) from fossil and extant nonhuman primates, fossil hominins and Neolithic humans. Stereomicroscopy, statistical tools and a digital library of occlusal surfaces are available for students and researchers to address the biochronology, paleoecology and ancient diets of Plio-Pleistocene southern Africa and Eurasia, the Neolithic of Belgium and Neandertals from western Eurasia.

Frank Williams profile pic


Williams FL. Neandertals. Encyclopedia Britannica (invited submission, in press).

Williams FL, Cofran Z (2016) Postnatal craniofacial ontogeny in Neandertals and modern humans. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 159: 394-409.

Hoover K, Williams FL (2016) Variation in regional diet and mandibular morphology in prehistoric Japanese hunter-gatherer-fishers. Quaternary International 405: 101-109.

Williams FL, Cunningham DL, Amaral LQ (2015) Forelimb proportions in Homo sapiens, Australopithecus afarensis and the great apes. Homo—Journal of Comparative Human Biology 66: 477-491.
Williams FL (2015) Dietary proclivities of Paranthropus robustus from Swartkrans, South Africa. Anthropological Review 78:1-19.
Williams FL, Geissler E (2014) Reconstructing the diet and paleoecology of Plio-Pleistocene Cercopithecoides williamsi from Sterkfontein, South Africa. Palaios 29: 483-494.
Williams FL (2014) Dietary reconstruction of Pliocene Parapapio whitei from Makapansgat, South Africa, using dental microwear texture analysis. Folia Primatologica 85: 21-37.
Williams FL (2013) Neandertal craniofacial growth and development and its relevance for modern human origins. In The Origins of Modern Humans: Biology Reconsidered (Smith F and Ahern J, eds.). Wiley: Hoboken, NJ, pp. 253-284.
Williams FL (2013) Enamel microwear texture properties of IGF 11778 (Oreopithecus bambolii) from the late Miocene of Baccinello, Italy. Journal of Anthropological Sciences 91: 201-217.
Williams FL, Schroeder L, Ackermann RR (2012) The mid-face of lower Pleistocene hominins and its bearing on the attribution of SK 847 and StW 53. Homo – Journal of Comparative Human Biology 63: 245-257.
Williams FL, Holmes NA (2012) Dental microwear texture analysis of late Pliocene Procynocephalus subhimalayanus (Primates: Cercopithecidae) of the Upper Siwaliks, India. Central European Journal of Geosciences 4: 425-438.
Forouzan F, Glover JB, Williams F, Deocampo D (2012) Portable XRF analysis of zoomorphic figures, “tokens,” and sling bullets from Chogha Gaveneh, Iran. Journal of Archaeological Sciences 39: 3534-3541.
Williams FL, Holmes NA (2011) Evidence of terrestrial diets in Pliocene Eurasian papionins (Mammalia: Primates) inferred from low-magnification stereomicroscopy of molar enamel use-wear scars. Palaios 26: 720-729.
Williams FL, Patterson JW (2010) Reconstructing the paleoecology of Taung, South Africa from low-magnification of dental microwear features in fossil primates. Palaios 25: 439–448.
Robinson CA, Williams FL (2010) Quantifying mental foramen position in extant hominoids and Australopithecus: Implications for its use in studies of human evolution. Anatomical Record 293: 1337–1349.
Williams FL (2009) We will age. American Scientist 97: 4–5.
Williams FL, Belcher RL, Armelagos GJ (2007) On Meroitic Nubian crania, Fordisc 2.0, and human biological history. A reply to SOY Keita. Current Anthropology 48: 425–427.
Williams FL, Armelagos GJ (2007) On the misclassification of Nubian crania: Are there any implications for assumptions about human variation? A reply to M Hubbe and W Neves. Current Anthropology 48: 285–288.
Williams FL, Orban R. (2007) Ontogeny and phylogeny of the pelvis in Gorilla, Pongo, Pan, Australopithecus and Homo. Folia Primatologica 78: 99–117.
Williams FL, Ackermann RR, Leigh SR. (2007) Inferring Plio-Pleistocene southern African biochronology from facial affinities in Parapapio and other fossil papionins. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 132: 163–174.
Williams FL (2006) A comparison of the Krapina lower facial remains to an ontogenetic series of Neandertal fossils. Periodicum Biologorom 108: 279–288.
Smeenk D, Godfrey LR, Williams FL (2006) The early specimens of the potto Perodicticus potto (Statius Müller, 1776) in the National Museum of Natural History, Leiden, with the selection of a neotype. Zoologische Mededelingen 80: 139–164.
Williams FL, Belcher RL, Armelagos G (2005) Forensic misclassification of ancient Nubian crania: Implications for assumptions about human variation. Current Anthropology 46: 340–346.
van vark GN, Kuizenga D, Williams FL (2005) A reply to Jantz and Owsley: Kennewick, Luzia and later human evolution. Fysisch Anthropologische Mededelingen 13: 27–31.
Williams FL, Hall JM (2005) Homo erectus, two species or one? General Anthropology 10: 1, 8–10.
Williams FL, Krovitz GE (2004) Ontogenetic migration of the mental foramen in Neandertals and modern humans. Journal of Human Evolution 47: 199–219.
Williams FL, Richtsmeier JT (2003) Comparison of mandibular landmarks from computed tomography and 3-D digitizer data. Clinical Anatomy 16: 494–500.
van Vark GN, Kuizenga D, Williams FL (2003) Kennewick and Luzia: Lessons from the European Upper Paleolithic. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 121: 181–184.
Williams FL, Godfrey LR, Sutherland MR (2003) Diagnosing heterochronic perturbations in the craniofacial evolution of Homo (Neandertals and modern humans) and Pan (P. troglodytes and P. paniscus). In Patterns of Growth and Development in the Genus Homo (Thompson J Krovitz G and Nelson A, eds). Cambridge Studies in Biological and Evolutionary Anthropology, Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, UK, pp. 295–319.
Williams FL, Godfrey LR, Sutherland MR (2002) Heterochrony and the evolution of Neandertal and modern human craniofacial form, In Human Evolution through Developmental Change (N. Minugh-Purvis and K. McNamara, eds.). Johns Hopkins University Press: Baltimore, pp. 405–441.
Williams FL (2000) Heterochrony and the human fossil record: Comparing Neandertal and modern human craniofacial ontogeny, In: Neanderthals on the Edge: 150th Anniversary Conference of the Forbes’ Quarry Discovery (C. Stringer, R.N.E. Barton and C. Fenlayson, eds.). Oxbow Books: Oxford, UK, pp. 257–267.
Godfrey LR, Sutherland MR, Paine RR, Williams FL, Boy DS, Vullaume-Randriamanantena M (1995) Limb bone joint surface areas and their ratios in Malagasy lemurs and other mammals. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 97: 47–59.
Williams FL (1989) Early hominid evolution. Florida Journal of Anthropology 14: 51–55.