About Me

Fossil hunting at Lyme Regis, Dorset, UK

Dr Ashleigh L Wiseman

Palaeoanthropologist at the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, University of Cambridge

alw96 [at] cam.ac.uk

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Crocodile dissection & CT scanning during my previous roles at DAWNDINOS

End of the day for my volunteers at Formby Point, 2017 after excavating Mesolithic footprints as exposed by the tide

In my spare time, I love fossil hunting! Here we have a bit of fossilised bone embedded in rock found in Lyme Regis, Dorset and an ammonite found at Grafham Water, Cambridgeshire

I also love exploring archaeological sites, stemming from my first degree in archaeology. Here we have a cathedral where the walls were constructed of human remains. Capela de Ossos – Igreja do Carmo, Faro, Portugal.

Excavation can sometimes mean squeezing into tight spots, as seen here in Belgium, 2016

In addition to my role at Cambridge, I am a collaborator on the ERC funded DAWNDINOS project (dawndinos.com) where I was previously a postdoc (2019-2021). In this previous role, I explored the terrestrial locomotion of extant crocodiles. This means that I do not have the ‘conventional’ CV as one might expect, with my research interests/publications ranging from fossil footprints to human evolution to crocodiles! Nevertheless, my ‘detour’ from palaeoanthropology into palaeontology equipped me with a fantastic range of skills, many of which I plan to bring into my current project: Walking with Hominins.

My main research interests are evolutionary biomechanics and reconstructing locomotion from fossilised remains.

In my spare time, I enjoy fossil hunting around the UK to search for ammonites and other past critters, and also star gazing with our telescope! Pre-Covid (and in a time where I lived more locally to mountains), I loved hiking and hope to continue my hiking adventures in a post-pandemic world. I very much enjoy fieldwork and have excavated on a range of sites (from Neanderthal to Mesolithic to Chalcolithic to Roman to Medieval) across Europe and the Near East. My current project does not involve any fieldwork, but if anyone requires a seasoned excavator on a site then please do get in touch! (Fieldwork can be a hobby too!)

My currently funded & active research projects:

Leverhulme ECRF – ‘How to build a hominin’. Funded 2021-2024.

BA/Leverhulme Small Research Grant – fossil footprints at White Sands National Park, New Mexico, USA. Funded 2020-2022. Note: may expire due to Covid-19 pandemic travel restrictions.

The rock shelter site of Le Rozel: trace fossils. Funded 2022, active 2018-present.

If you would like to collaborate, I am interested and experienced in:

  • Musculoskeletal modelling
  • Evolutionary biomechanics
  • 3D modelling of soft tissues
  • Material segmentation
  • Ichnology (hominin/human)
  • 2D/3D geometric morphometrics
  • 3D motion capture implementation & software (QTM/Visual3D)
  • Software: XMALab, Opensim, Maya Autodesk, MATLAB, Avizo, Mimics & Rhino (+ Office suite etc)



2019 PhD Biological Anthropology, Liverpool John Moores University

2015 MSc Human Anatomy and Evolution, Centre for Anatomical and Human Sciences, Hull York Medical School, UK

2014 MA (Hons) Archaeology, University of Edinburgh, UK


Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellow
University of Cambridge
Oct 2021 – current
Part funded by the Isaac Newton Trust, Cambridge

Isaac Newton Trust Fellow
University of Cambridge
Oct 2021 – current
Part funded by the Leverhulme Trust

Bye-Fellow, Fitzwilliam College
University of Cambridge. Non-stipendiary student supervisory role
Oct 2021 – current

Postdoctoral Researcher in Evolutionary Biomechanics
The Royal Veterinary College, UK

Research Placement, Department of Human Evolution
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary
Anthropology, Germany
Autumn 2018

Teaching Support Officer
Liverpool John Moores University, UK

Osteoarchaeological Field Technician
Wessex Archaeology, UK

Grampus Heritage and Training Ltd., Romania
Summer 2014

Royal Commission for the Ancient & Historical Monuments of Scotland, UK

Research Assistant
Grabungsprojekt Çamlıbel Tarlası Archaeological Project, Turkey
Summer 2013

Research Awards
2017: Outstanding Award for Research, British Federation of Women Graduates. Prize: £100


  • 2022: D M McDonald Grants and Awards Fund for fieldwork. Total award: £386
  • 2021: Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship for 3 years (salary + research expenses)
  • 2021: Isaac Newton Trust Fellowship for 3 years (stipendiary)
  • 2021: BBSRC/LIDo Summer Research Experience Placement. Funding awarded to hire UG intern. Total award: £4000
  • 2020: BA/Leverhulme Small Research Grant awarded for fieldwork. Total award: £7544
  • 2018: LJMU International Mobility Fund, Liverpool John Moores University. Total award: £1000
  • 2017: Postgraduate Researcher Travel Grant, Liverpool John Moores University. Award: £175
  • 2017: Conference Attendance, European Society for the Study of Human Evolution. Award: £175
  • 2016: PhD Studentship and Bursary, Liverpool John Moores University. Total award: £75,000
  • 2014: EU Leonardo Da Vinci Program. Total award: £1200

Fieldwork Experience

07/08/2022-13/08/2022Researcher – Neanderthal Rock Shelter, Le Rozel, France
30/04/2018-11/05/2018Assistant/Teacher – Poulton Research Project, UK
19/06/2016-14/02/2018Principal Investigator – Formby Point footprints along the Sefton Coast, UK
03/06/2018-30/06/2018Collaborator – Neanderthal Rock Shelter, Le Rozel, France
01/08/2016-28/08/2016Assistant – Grotte La Foucelle, Belgium
23/10/2015-01/04/2016Commercial fieldwork – Wessex Archaeology Ltd., UK
01/07/2014-30/08/2014Assistant – Mass graves exhumation at Alba Iulia, Romania
01/10/2013-02/05/2014Assistant – Amisfield Walled Garden Project, UK. (Periodic fieldwork)
05/04/2013-20/04/2013Assistant – Quest for Bannockburn* with National Trust for Scotland, UK
*filmed for BBC documentary
30/06/2012-30/08/2012Assistant – Prastio-Mesorotsos Project, Cyprus
30/05/2011-30/06/2011Assistant – Progetto Achaeologico Alberese Dello Scoglietto, Italy


If any articles listed below are behind a paywall inaccessible to you, please do email me for a copy. Articles marked by * are open access.

Wiseman*, A.L.A., Demuth, O.E., Pomeroy, E., De Groote, I. 2022. Reconstructing articular cartilage in the Australopithecus afarensis hip joint and the need for modelling six degrees of freedom. Integrative Organismal Biology, obac031. https://doi.org/10.1093/iob/obac031

Wiseman*, A.L.A., Vicari, D., Belvedere, M., De Groote, I. 2022. Neolithic track sites from Formby Point, England: New data and insights. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, 44, 103546.

Cuff, A.R., Demuth, O.E., Michel, K., Otero, A., Pintoire, R., Polet, D., Wiseman*, A.L.A., Hutchinson, J.R. 2022. Walking—and Running and Jumping—with Dinosaurs and Their Cousins, Viewed Through the Lens of Evolutionary Biomechanics. Integrative and Comparative Biology. https://doi.org/10.1093/icb/icac049

Demuth, O.E., Wiseman*, A.L.A., van Beesel, J. Mallison, H., Hutchinson, J. R. 2022. Three-dimensional polygonal muscle modelling and line of action estimation in living and extinct taxa. Sci Rep 12, 3358. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-022-07074-x

Wiseman* **, A. L. A., Demuth**, O.E., Hutchinson, J.R. 2022. A Guide to Inverse Kinematic Marker-Guided Rotoscoping Using IK Solvers, Integrative Organismal Biology, Volume 4, Issue 1, 2022, obac002, https://doi.org/10.1093/iob/obac002
**These authors contributed equally and share first authorship.

Wiseman*, A. L. A., De Groote, I. 2021. One size fits all? Stature estimation from footprints and the effect of substrate and speed on footprint creation. The Anatomical Record 1-9.

Bennett, M.R., Budka, M., Wiseman*, A. L. A., Belvedere, M. 2021. When is enough, enough? Questions of sampling in vertebrate ichnology. Palaeontology.

Wiseman*, A. L. A., Bishop, P. J., Demuth, O. E., Cuff, A. R., Michel, K. B., Hutchinson, J. R. 2021. Musculoskeletal modelling of the Nile crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus) hindlimb: Effects of limb posture on leverage during terrestrial locomotion. Journal of Anatomy, 1-21.

Bennett, M.R., … Wiseman, A. L. A., … Reynolds, S. C. 2020. Walking in mud: remarkable Pleistocene human trackway from White Sands National Park (New Mexico). Quaternary Science Reviews, 106610.

Wiseman, A. L. A., Stringer, C. B., Ashton, N. Bennett M. R., Hatala, K. G., Duffy, S., O’Brien, T., De Groote, I. E. 2020. The morphological affinity of the early Pleistocene footprints from Happisburgh, England with other footprints of Pliocene, Pleistocene and Holocene age. Journal of Human Evolution, 144, 102776.

Wiseman, A. L. A., Bezombes, F., Moore, A. J., De Groote, I. E. 2020. Non-invasive recording methods: the applicability of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) technology for recording fossilised footprints. Digital Applications in Archaeology and Cultural Heritage, 16, e00137.

Wiseman, A. L. A., De Groote, I. E. 2018. A three-dimensional geometric morphometric study of the effects of erosion on the morphologies of modern and prehistoric footprints. Journal of Archaeological Science Reports, 17, 93-102.

Falkingham, P. L., … Wiseman*, A.L.A., … Belvedere, M., 2018. A standard protocol for documenting modern and fossil ichnological data. Palaeontology 61(4):469-480

Professional memberships

2016-current: Ordinary Member, European Society for Human Evolution

2020-current: Ordinary Member, Society for Experimental Biology.