José Joordens

José Joordens

Trained as a marine biologist, I first had a career as applied scientist and consultant in coastal ecology until I decided to go back into science and study the evolution of hominins. The term “hominins” refers to species in the genus Homo, and our extinct relatives back to the split from the apes about 5-7 million years ago. I completed my PhD in Earth and Life Sciences (VU University Amsterdam) in 2011, worked as researcher at the Faculty of Archaeology (Leiden University) from 2010-2017, and until January 2018 at the Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences, VU University Amsterdam. In April 2019, I was appointed as special professor on the “Naturalis Dubois Chair in Hominin Paleoecology and Evolution” at Maastricht University. In my research I combine the fields of biology, geology and archaeology.


Hominids, archaeology, evolution, biology, geology

J.C.A (José) Joordens

Senior researcher
Marine biodiversity

Professor in Hominin Paleoecology and Evolution,
Faculty of Science and Engineering, Maastricht University
+31 (0)71 751 9600


Where do we humans come from, how did we evolve? In my research I try to answer these fascinating questions.

Themes: hominin evolution, (aquatic) paleoecology, biogeography, archaeology, paleoclimatology, (aquatic) paleoenvironmental reconstruction, paleodiet, geochronology

Tools: faunal analyses, strontium and stable isotope geochemistry, DNA analyses, sedimentology/stratigraphy, (paleomagnetic) dating

Research interest José Joordens
Project José Joordens


A selection of the topics I am working on currently.

Research in Trinil

Homo erectus fossils in Trinil

My main project centers on the rich fossil fauna from the Homo erectus (“Pithecanthropus”) type locality Trinil on Java (Indonesia). This unique collection, excavated by my scientific hero Eugène Dubois (1858-1940) and housed at Naturalis in Leiden, is a…
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José Joordens in Turkana

Reconstructing climate in the Turkana Basin

This ongoing project focuses on reconstructing climate and environment in the Turkana Basin (Kenya) of ~2 million year ago, when two early Homo species together with Paranthropus boisei roamed the landscape around a large lake. It is done in the framework…
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Lake Turkana

Coastal origins?

In this project I aim to develop a biogeographical framework for early hominin evolution in Africa, between ~5 and 2.5 million years ago. We hypothesize that recurrent climatically stable episodes, paced by eccentricity, caused recurrent riverine…
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Joordens, J.C.A., Feibel, C.S., Vonhof, H.B., Schulp, A.S., Kroon, D., 2019. Relevance of the eastern African coastal forest for early hominin biogeography. Journal of Human Evolution 131: 176-202.

Sier, M.J., Langereis, C.J., Dupont-Nivet, G., van der Lubbe, H.J.L, Joordens, J.C.A., Beck, C.C., Feibel, C.S., Olago, D., Cohen, A., WTK Science Team, 2017. The top of the Olduvai subchron in a high-resolution magnetostratigraphy from the West Turkana core WTK13, Hominin Sites and Paleolakes Drilling Project (HSPDP). Quaternary Geochronology 42: 117-129.

Joordens, J.C.A., d’Errico, F., Wesselingh, F.P., Munro, S., de Vos, J., Wallinga, J., Ankjærgaard, C., Reimann, T., Wijbrans, J.R., Kuiper, K.F., Mücher, H.J., Coqueugniot, H., Prié, V., Panuel, M., van der Haas, V., Lustenhouwer, W., Joosten, I., Schulp, A., van Os, B., Reijmer, J.J.G., Roebroeks, W., 2015. Homo erectus at Trinil on Java used shells for tool production and engraving. Nature 518: 228-231.

Joordens, J.C.A., Dupont-Nivet, G., Feibel, C.S., Spoor, F., Sier, M.J., van der Lubbe, H.J.L., Kellberg Nielsen, T., Knul, M.V., Davies, G.R., Vonhof, H.B., 2013. Improved age control on early Homo fossils from the upper Burgi Member at Koobi Fora, Kenya. Journal of Human Evolution 65: 731-745.

Kuipers, R.S., Joordens, J.C.A., Muskiet, F.A.J., 2012. A multidisciplinary reconstruction of Palaeolithic nutrition that holds promise for the prevention and treatment of diseases of civilisation. Nutrition Research Reviews 25: 96-129.

Cohen K.M., MacDonald, K., Joordens, J.C.A., Roebroeks, J.W.M., Gibbard P.L., 2012. The earliest occupation of north-west Europe: a coastal perspective. Quaternary International 271: 70-83. 

Joordens, J.C.A., Vonhof H.B., Feibel C.S., Lourens L.J., Dupont-Nivet G., van der Lubbe, H.J.L., Sier, M.J., Davies, G.R., Kroon D., 2011. An astronomically-tuned climate framework for hominins in the Turkana Basin. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 307: 1-8.

Joordens, J.C.A., Wesselingh, F.P., de Vos, J., Vonhof, H.B., Kroon, D., 2009. Relevance of aquatic environments for hominins: a case study from Trinil (Java, Indonesia). Journal of Human Evolution, 57 (6): 656-671.