Assistant Professor, Geological Sciences
Non-Departmental Academic Positions
- Research Associate, The Stone Age Institute & CRAFT (Center for Research into the Anthropological Foundations of Technology), Bloomington, Indiana
- Ph.D., 2006, Rutgers University
- M.A., 2000, Rutgers University
- B.A. 1992, University of Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania
- 2009-11 Postdoctoral Research Scholar, Human Evolution Research Center, University of California, Berkeley
- 2006-11 Principal Curator, National Natural History Museum, Arusha, Tanzania
- 2003–05 Instructor, Rutgers University's Koobi Fora International Field School, Kenya
- 2000–01 Teaching Assistant, Rutgers University
- 1992–96 Curator, National Museum of Tanzania, Dar Es Salaam
My interest is vertebrate taphonomy and paleoenvironments of African hominins. My research investigates how early hominins evolved in response to ecological pressures on the terrestrial paleolandscapes at Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania. My current research focuses on crocodylian paleobiology and taphonomy. This study examines the impact of African Neogene crocodylian predation on hominin evolution. My research integrates paleontological, archaeological, and neotaphonomic methods, including taphonomical analysis of fossil bones from paleontological sites, and actualistic studies in modern African savanna ecosystems.
- G690, Vertebrate Taphonomy and Paleoecology
- G637, Tectonics of East African Rift Valley (Co-taught with Prof. Michael Hamburger)
I currently co-direct four interdisciplinary research projects in Africa, which provide fieldwork and laboratory opportunities to graduate and undergraduate students interested in geology, paleontology, paleoanthropology, archaeology and anthropology.
- Tanzania International Paleoanthropological Research Project (TIPRP)
- Olduvai Gorge Vertebrate Paleontology Project (OVPP)
- Olduvai Gorge Landscape Paleoanthropology Project (OLAPP)
- Olduvai Gorge Geochronology and Archeology Project (OGAP)
Njau, J.K. Reading Pliocene Bones. 2012. Science 336, 46-47.
Njau, J.K. and Blumenschine, R.J. Crocodylian and Mammalian Carnivore Feeding Traces on Hominin Fossils from FLK 22 and FLK NN 3, Late Pliocene, Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania. Journal of Human Evolution (in press).
Blumenschine, R.J., Stanistreet, I.G., Njau, J.K., et al. Environments and Hominin Activities across FLK Peninsula During Zinjanthropus Times (1.84 Ma), Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania. Journal of Human Evolution (in press).
Ungar, P.S., Krueger, K.L., Blumenschine, R.J., Njau, J.K., Scott, R.S. Dental microwear texture analysis of hominins recovered by the Olduvai Landscape Paleoanthropology Project, 1995-2007. Journal of Human Evolution (in press).
Blumenschine, R.J., Masao, F.T., Stollhofen, H., Stanistreet, I.G., Njau, J.K. et al. Landscape distribution of Oldowan stone artifact assemblages across the fault compartments of the eastern Olduvai Lake Basin during early lowermost Bed II times. Journal of Human Evolution (in press).
Westaway, M., Thompson, J.,Wood, W., Njau, J.K. 2011. Crocodile ecology and the taphonomy of early Australasian sites. Environmental Archaeology 16, (2) 124-136.
Njau, J.K. and Hlusko, L.J. 2010. Fine–Tuning Paleoanthropological Reconnaissance using High–Resolution Satellite Imagery: The Discovery of 28 New Sites in Tanzania. Journal of Human Evolution 59, 680–684.
Brochu, C.A., Njau, J.K., Blumenschine, R.J., Densmore, L.D. 2010. A New Horned Crocodile From Plio-Pleistocene Hominid Sites at Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania. PLoS One 5(2), e9333.
Louchart, A., Wesselman, H., Njau, J.K. et al. 2009. Taphonomic, Avian, and Small Vertebrate Indicators of Ardipithecus ramidus Habitat. Science 326, 66.
Njau, J.K., Alemseged, Z., Mbua, E., Pobiner, B. 2009. Second Conference of the East African Association for Paleoanthropology and Paleontology: Fifty Years After Discovery of Zinjanthropus. Evolutionary Anthropology 18, 235-236.
Blumenschine, R.J., Peters, C.R., Njau, J.K. et al. 2007. Vertebrate taphonomic perspectives on Oldowan hominin land use in the Plio-Pleistocene Olduvai Basin, Tanzania. In: Breathing Life into Fossils: Taphonomic Studies in Honor of C.K. Brain (T. Pickering, K. Schick, N. Toth eds). IN, Stone Age Institute Press. Pp. 161-179.
Njau, J.K. and Blumenschine, R.J. 2006. A Diagnosis of Crocodile Damage to Large Vertebrate Bones, with Fossil Examples from Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania. Journal of Human Evolution 50, 142-162.
Blumenschine, R.J., Peters, C.R., Njau, J.K. et al. 2003. Late Pliocene Homo and Hominid Land Use from Western Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania. Science 299, 1217-1221.
Current Professional Service
Executive Secretary, East African Association for Paleoanthropology and Paleontology (EAAPP)
Member, Scientific Advisory Committee, South African Palaeontological Scientific Trust