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Hugo Reyes-Centeno

Research Interests:
Primate bio-cultural evolution
human fossil record
heritage science
virtual anthropology
geometric morphometrics

Ph.D. Archaeological Sciences, University of Tübingen

M.Sc. Quaternary & Prehistory, University of Ferrara

B.A. Anthropological Sciences, Stanford University



My research focuses on the evolutionary mechanisms that produce the anatomy of humans today and in the past. I ask questions about how biology and culture interact to produce variation and diversity in human anatomical form, particularly the size and shape of crania and teeth. I use comparative evolutionary approaches to study human skeletons from archaeological and paleontological contexts, including quantitative genetics and population genetics. I apply a suite of techniques that maximize data acquisition and heritage conservation, including virtual methods like computed tomography, photogrammetry, and multi-spectral imaging. My work is based at the William S. Webb Museum of Anthropology and includes collaborations with the Colleges of Dentistry and Engineering, including the Electron Microscopy Center. I am Co-Principal Investigator of EduceLab.


Prospective students

Prospective students and post-doctoral scholars may contact me for current and future research opportunities. In addition to current anthropology majors, Federal Work Study and Honors College undergraduate students are particularly welcome to inquire. My philosophy for student and post-graduate mentorship is to provide an inclusive and intellectually stimulating environment founded on a culture of mutual respect, integrity, and dedication to personal and scientific excellence.



Spring 2023

ANTH105 Human Origins

ANTH332/580 Human Evolution


Autumn 2022

ANTH352/580 Geometric Morphometrics

ANTH353/580 Primate Evolution


Office Hours

Spring 2023 Office Hours Thursdays, 14:30-15:30 in Lafferty 203C

or by appointment


Born in Lagos de Moreno, Mexico, Dr. Reyes-Centeno grew up in Port Hueneme (Chumash: Wynema), California and attended the public school system, benefitting from a range of enrichment programs that included GATE (Gifted and Talented Education, California Association for the Gifted), NASA-HACU Proyecto Access (National Aeronautics and Space Administration & Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities), and Math/Science Upward Bound (Federal TRIO, US Department of Education). A first-generation college student from a farm-working family, he was a W.E.B DuBois Scholar at Bard College at Simon’s Rock and completed a bachelor’s degree in Anthropological Sciences at Stanford University in 2008. After two years serving as a professional Admissions Counselor at Stanford University’s Office of Undergraduate Admission and co-directing the transfer student program, Reyes-Centeno was awarded the European Union’s Erasmus Mundus scholarship to enroll in the International Master in Quaternary & Prehistory (IMQP). During that time, he studied at the University of Ferrara (Italy), conducted research at the National Museum of Natural History (France), and defended his thesis research at the University of Rovira i Virgili (Catalonia, Spain). Thereafter, he was an Assistant Researcher at the Senckenberg Center for Human Evolution and Paleoenvironment and graduated summa cum laude from the University of Tübingen (Germany) in 2015.  Dr. Reyes-Centeno served as Scientific Coordinator of the Humanities Center for Advanced Studies at the University of Tübingen prior to being appointed as Assistant Professor at the University of Kentucky in 2020. He has performed paleontological and archaeological fieldwork in France, Italy, Peru, the Philippines, and Spain. Dr. Reyes-Centeno is Co-Principal Investigator of the NSF-funded EduceLab: Infrastructure for Next-Generation Heritage Science.


Selected Publications:

2022 Harvati K and Reyes-Centeno H. Evolution of Homo in the Middle and Late Pleistocene. Journal of Human Evolution 173, 103279.

2022 Beaudet A, d'Errico F, Backwell L, Wadley L, Zipfel B, de la Peña P, and Reyes-Centeno H. A reappraisal of the Border Cave 1 cranium (KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa). Quaternary Science Reviews 282, 107452. doi:10.1016/j.quascirev.2022.107452

2021 Arner AM, Grogan KE, Grabowski M, Reyes-Centeno H, and Perry G. Patterns of recent natural selection on genetic loci associated with sexually differentiated human body size and shape phenotypes. PLOS Genetics. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1009562

2021 Karakostis FA, Reyes-Centeno H, Franken M, Hotz G, Rademaker K, and Harvati K. Bio-cultural evidence of precise manual activities in an Early Holocene individual of the high-altitude Peruvian Andes. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 174(1):35-48. doi:10.1002/ajpa.24160

2020 Mori T, Profico A, Reyes-Centeno H, and Harvati K. Virtual reconstruction and geometric morphometric analysis of the mid-Pleistocene hominin KNM-OG 45500 (Olorgesailie, Kenya). Journal of Anthropological Sciences 98:49-72. doi:10.4436/jass.98022

2020 Bosman A, Reyes-Centeno H, and Harvati K. A virtual approach to the investigation of the suprainiac depressions on the Eyasi I and ADU-VP-1/3 crania. Journal of Human Evolution 145:102815 doi:10.1016/j.jhevol.2020.102815

2020 Rathmann H and Reyes-Centeno H. Testing the utility of dental morphological trait combinations for inferring human neutral genetic variation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 117(20):10769-10777. doi:10.1073/pnas.1914330117

2019 Urban M, Reyes-Centeno H, Bellamy KR, and Pache MJ. The areal typology of western Middle and South America: Towards a comprehensive view. Linguistics 57(6):1403-1463 doi:10.1515/ling-2019-0032

2018 Posth C, Nakatsuka N, Lazaridis I, Skoglund P, Mallick S, Lamnidis TC, Rohland N, Nägele K, Adamski N, Bertolini E, Broomandkhoshbacht N, Cooper A, Culleton BJ, Ferraz T, Ferry M, Furtwängler A, Haak W, Harkins K, Harper TK, Hünemeier T, Lawson AM, Llamas B, Michel M, Nelson E, Oppenheimer J, Patterson N, Schiffels S, Sedig J, Stewardson K, Talamo S, Wang C-C, Hublin J-J, Hubbe M, Harvati K, Nuevo Delaunay A, Beier J, Francken M, Kaulicke P, Reyes-Centeno H, Rademaker K, Trask WR, Robinson M, Gutierrez SM, Prufer KM, Salazar-García DC, Chim EN, Müller Plumm Gomes L, Alves ML, Liryo A, Inglez M, Oliveira RE, Bernardo DV, Barioni A, Wesolowski V, Scheifler NA, Rivera MA, Plens CR, Messineo PG, Figuti L, Corach D, Scabuzzo C, Eggers S, DeBlasis P, Reindel M, Méndez C, Politis G, Tomasto-Cagigao E, Kennett DJ, Strauss A, Fehren-Schmitz L, Krause J, and Reich D. Reconstructing the Deep Population History of Central and South America. Cell 175(5):1185-1197. doi:10.1016/j.cell.2018.10.027

2017 Rathmann H, Reyes-Centeno H, Ghirotto S, Creanza N, Hanihara T, and Harvati K. Reconstructing human population history from dental phenotypes. Scientific Reports 7(1):12495. doi:10.1038/s41598-017-12621-y*

2017 Reyes-Centeno H, Rathmann H, Hanihara T, and Harvati K. Testing modern human out-of-Africa dispersal models using dental non-metric data. Current Anthropology 58(S17):S406-417. doi:10.1086/694423

2017 Reyes-Centeno H, Ghirotto S., and Harvati K. Genomic validation of the differential preservation of population history in modern human cranial anatomy. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 162(1):170-179. doi:10.1002/ajpa.23060**

2016 Reyes-Centeno H, Harvati K, Jäger G. Tracking modern human population history from linguistic and cranial phenotype. Scientific Reports 6:36645. doi:10.1038/srep36645

2016 Uhl A, Reyes-Centeno H, Grigorescu D, Kranioti EF, and Harvati K. Inner ear morphology of the Cioclovina early modern European calvaria from Romania. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 160(1):62-70. doi:10.1002/ajpa.22938

2016 Reyes-Centeno H. Out of Africa and into Asia: Fossil and genetic evidence on modern human origins and dispersals. Quaternary International 416:249-262. doi:10.1016/j.quaint.2015.11.063

2015 Reyes-Centeno H, Hubbe M, Hanihara T, Stringer C, Harvati K. Testing modern human out-of-Africa dispersal models and implications for modern human origins. Journal of Human Evolution 87, 95-106. doi:10.1016/j.jhevol.2015.06.008

2014 Reyes-Centeno H, Ghirotto S, Détroit F, Grimaud-Hervé D, Barbujani G, and Harvati K. Genomic and cranial phenotype data support multiple modern human dispersals from Africa and a southern route into Asia. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 111(20):7248-7253. doi:10.1073/pnas.1323666111***


*article within top 100 read papers in 2017

**journal cover feature

***journal cover feature and commentary





2021 Reyes-Centeno H and Harvati K (Editors). Ancient Connections in Eurasia. Tübingen: Kerns Verlag.

2019 Sahle Y, Reyes-Centeno H, and Bentz C (Editors). Modern Human Origins and Dispersal. Tübingen: Kerns Verlag.

2018 Harvati K,  Jäger G, and Reyes-Centeno H (Editors). New Perspectives on the Peopling of the Americas. Tübingen: Kerns Verlag.