Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Richard Potts

Curator of Biological Anthropology, Peter Buck Chair of Human Origins Director
Department / Division
Education
  • B.A., Temple University
  • Ph.D., Harvard University
Research Interests

Paleoanthropologist Dr. Rick Potts founded and directs the Human Origins Program at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, Washington, DC. In partnership with the National Museums of Kenya, Rick leads ongoing excavations in the Rift Valley of southern Kenya and the Homa Peninsula, Kenya. After receiving his PhD in biological anthropology at Harvard University in 1982, he taught at Yale before joining the Smithsonian in 1985. Rick’s research investigates Earth’s environmental dynamics and the processes that have led to human evolutionary adaptations. His ideas about the significant effect of environmental instability on human evolution have stimulated new studies in Earth sciences, paleontology, and biology. He is also curator of the Smithsonian’s Hall of Human Origins.

Publications
Article
  • Bernor, Raymond L., Cirilli, Omar, Jukar, Advait M., Potts, Richard, Buskianidze, Maia, and Rook, Lorenzo. 2019. "Evolution of Early Equus in Italy, Georgia, the Indian Subcontinent, East Africa, and the Origins of African Zebras." Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution 7:166–166. https://doi.org/10.3389/fevo.2019.00166
  • Deino, A. L., Dommain, R., Keller, C. B., Potts, Richard, Behrensmeyer, A. K., Beverly, E. J., King, J., Heil, C. W., Stockhecke, M., Brown, E. T., Moerman, J., deMenocal, P., Deocampo, D., Garcin, Y., Levin, N. E., Lupien, R., Owen, R. B., Rabideaux, N., Russell, J. M., Scott, J., Riedl, S., Brady, K., Bright, J., Clark, J. B., Cohen, A. et al. 2019. "Chronostratigraphic model of a high-resolution drill core record of the past million years from the Koora Basin, south Kenya Rift: Overcoming the difficulties of variable sedimentation rate and hiatuses." Quaternary Science Reviews 215:213–231. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2019.05.009
  • Narasimhan, Vagheesh M., Patterson, Nick, Moorjani, Priya, Rohland, Nadin, Bernardos, Rebecca, Mallick, Swapan, Lazaridis, Losif, Nakatsuka, Nathan, Olalde, Iffigo, Lipson, Mark, Kim, Alexander M., Olivieri, Luca M., Coppa, Alfredo, Vidale, Massimo, Mallory, James, Moiseyev, Vyacheslav, Kitov, Egor, Monge, Janet, Adamski, Nicole, Alexi, Neel, Broomandkhoshbacht, Nasreen, Candilio, Francesca, Callan, Kimberly, Cheronet, Olivia, Culleton, Brendan J. et al. 2019. "The formation of human populations in South and Central Asia." Science 365 (6457):999–+. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.aat7487
  • Behrensmeyer, Anna K., Potts, Richard, and Deino, Alan. 2018. "The Oltulelei Formation of the southern Kenyan Rift Valley: A chronicle of rapid landscape transformation over the last 500 k.y." GSA Bulletin 130 (9/10):1474–1492. https://doi.org/10.1130/B31853.1
  • Brooks, Alison S., Yellen, John E., Potts, Richard, Behrensmeyer, Anna K., Deino, Alan L., Leslie, David E., Ambrose, Stanley H., Ferguson, Jeffrey R., d'Errico, Francesco, Zipkin, Andrew M., Whittaker, Scott, Post, Jeffrey, Veatch, Elizabeth G., Foecke, Kimberly, and Clark, Jennifer B. 2018. "Long-distance stone transport and pigment use in the earliest Middle Stone Age." Science 360 (6384):90–94. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.aao2646
  • Deino, Alan L., Behrensmeyer, Anna K., Brooks, Alison S., Yellen, John E., Sharp, Warren D., and Potts, Richard. 2018. "Chronology of the Acheulean to Middle Stone Age transition in eastern Africa." Science 360 (6384):95–98. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.aao2216
  • Potts, Richard. 2018. "New Developments in Sediment Coring and Implications for Understanding Human Evolution." Theoretical Biology Forum 111 (1-2):99–104. https://doi.org/10.19272/201811402011
  • Potts, Richard, Behrensmeyer, Anna K., Faith, J. Tyler, Tryon, Christian A., Brooks, Alison S., Yellen, John E., Deino, Man L., Kinyanjui, Rahab, Clark, Jennifer B., Haradon, Catherine M., Levin, Naomi E., Meijer, Hanneke J. M., Veatch, Elizabeth G., Owen, R. Bernhart, and Renaut, Robin W. 2018. "Environmental dynamics during the onset of the Middle Stone Age in eastern Africa." Science 360 (6384):86–90. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.aao2200
  • Campisano, Christopher J., Cohen, Andrew S., Arrowsmith, J. Ramon, Asrat, Asfawossen, Behrensmeyer, Anna K., Brown, Erik T., Deino, Alan L., Deocampo, Daniel M., Feibel, Craig S., Kingston, John D., Lamb, Henry F., Lowenstein, Tim K., Noren, Anders, Olago, Daniel O., Owen, R. Bernhart, Pelletier, Jon D., Potts, Richard, Reed, Kaye E., Renaut, Robin W., Russell, James M., Russell, Joellen L., Schabitz, Frank, Stone, Jeffrey R., Trauth, Martin H., and Wynn, Jonathan G. 2017. "The Hominin Sites and Paleolakes Drilling Project: High-Resolution Paleoclimate Records from the East African Rift System and Their Implications for Understanding the Environmental Context of Hominin Evolution." PaleoAnthropology 1–43. https://doi.org/10.1130/abs/2017am-295426
  • Chirchir, Habiba, Ruff, Christopher B., Junno, Juho-Antti, and Potts, Richard. 2017. "Low trabecular bone density in recent sedentary modern humans." American Journal of Physical Anthropology 162 (3):550–560. https://doi.org/10.1002/ajpa.23138
  • Douka, Katerina, Slon, Viviane, Stringer, Chris, Potts, Richard, Hübner, Alexander, Meyer, Matthias, Spoor, Fred, Pääbo, Svante, and Higham, Tom. 2017. "Direct radiocarbon dating and DNA analysis of the Darra-i-Kur (Afghanistan) human temporal bone." Journal of human evolution 107:86–93. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhevol.2017.03.003
  • Cohen, A., Campisano, C., Arrowsmith, R., Asrat, A., Behrensmeyer, Anna K., Deino, A., Feibel, C., Hill, A., Johnson, R., Kingston, J., Lamb, H., Lowenstein, T., Noren, A., Olago, D., Owen, R. B., Potts, Richard, Reed, K., Renaut, R., Schäbitz, F., Tiercelin, J. -J, Trauth, M. H., Wynn, J., Ivory, S., Brady, K., O&apos et al. 2016. "The Hominin Sites and Paleolakes Drilling Project: inferring the environmental context of human evolution from eastern African rift lake deposits." Scientific Drilling 21:1–16. https://doi.org/10.5194/sd-21-1-2016
  • Kinyanjui, R. N., Potts, Richard, Behrensmeyer, Anna K., and Bamford, M. 2016. "Comparing the Quaternary palaeoenvironments of two major Hominin sites: the Olorgesailie and Koobi Fora Basins, Kenya." Quaternary International 404:207. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quaint.2015.08.196
  • Lyons, S. Kathleen, Miller, Joshua H., Amatange, Kathryn L., Behrensmeyer, Anna K., Bercovici, Antoine, Blois, Jessica L., Davis, Matt, Dimichele, William A., Du, Andrew, Eronen, Jussi T., Faith, J. T., Graves, Gary R., Jud, Nathan, Labandeira, Conrad C., Looy, Cindy V., McGill, Brian, Patterson, David, Pineda-Munoz, Silvia, Potts, Richard, Riddle, Brett, Terry, Rebecca, Tóth, Anikó, Ulrich, Werner, Villaseñor, Amelia, Wing, Scott L. et al. 2016. "Lyons et al. reply." Nature 538 (7626):E3–E4. https://doi.org/10.1038/nature20097
  • Lyons, S. Kathleen, Miller, Joshua H., Tóth, Anikó, Amatangelo, Kathryn L., Behrensmeyer, Anna K., Bercovici, Antoine, Blois, Jessica L., Davis, Matt, Dimichele, William A., Du, Andrew, Eronen, Jussi T., Faith, J. T., Graves, Gary R., Jud, Nathan, Labandeira, Conrad C., Looy, Cindy V., McGill, Brian, Patterson, David, Pineda-Munoz, Silvia, Potts, Richard, Riddle, Brett, Terry, Rebecca, Ulrich, Werner, Villaseñor, Amelia, Wing, Scott L. et al. 2016. "Questioning Holocene community shifts Reply." Nature 537 (7618):E5–6. https://doi.org/10.1038/nature19111
  • Lyons, S. Kathleen, Amatangelo, Kathryn L., Behrensmeyer, Anna K., Bercovici, Antoine, Blois, Jessica L., Davis, Matt, Dimichele, William A., Du, Andrew, Eronen, Jussi T., Faith, J. Tyler, Graves, Gary R., Jud, Nathan, Labandeira, Conrad C., Looy, Cindy V., McGill, Brian, Miller, Joshua H., Patterson, David, Pineda-Munoz, Silvia, Potts, Richard, Riddle, Brett, Terry, Rebecca, Tóth, Anikó, Ulrich, Werner, Villaseñor, Amelia, Wing, Scott L. et al. 2015. "Holocene shifts in the assembly of plant and animal communities implicate human impacts." Nature (529): 80–83. https://doi.org/10.1038/nature16447
  • Potts, Richard and Faith, J. T. 2015. "Alternating high and low climate variability: The context of natural selection and speciation in Plio-Pleistocene hominin evolution." Journal of human evolution 87:5–20. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhevol.2015.06.014
  • Antón, Susan C., Potts, Richard, and Aiello, Leslie C. 2014. "Evolution of early Homo: An integrated biological perspective." Science 345 (6192):https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1236828
  • Blois, Jessica L., Gotelli, Nicholas J., Behrensmeyer, Anna K., Faith, J. T., Lyons, Sara K., Williams, John W., Amatangelo, Kathryn L., Bercovici, Antoine, Du, Andrew, Eronen, Jussi T., Graves, Gary R., Jud, Nathan, Labandeira, Conrad C., Looy, Cindy V., McGill, Brian, Patterson, David, Potts, Richard, Riddle, Brett, Terry, Rebecca, Tóth, Anikó, Villaseñor, Amelia, and Wing, Scott L. 2014. "A framework for evaluating the influence of climate, dispersal limitation, and biotic interactions using fossil pollen associations across the late Quaternary." Ecography 37 (11):1095–1108. https://doi.org/10.1111/ecog.00779
  • Lemorini, Cristina, Plummer, Thomas W., Braun, David R., Crittenden, Alyssa N., Ditchfield, Peter W., Bishop, Laura C., Hertel, Fritz, Oliver, James S., Marlowe, Frank W., Schoeninger, Margaret J., and Potts, Richard. 2014. "Old stones' song: Use-wear experiments and analysis of the Oldowan quartz and quartzite assemblage from Kanjera South (Kenya)." Journal of human evolution 72:10–25. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhevol.2014.03.002
  • Owen, R. Bernhart, Renaut, Robin W., Behrensmeyer, Anna K., and Potts, Richard. 2014. "Quaternary geochemical stratigraphy of the Kedong-Olorgesailie section of the southern Kenya Rift valley." Palaeogeography palaeoclimatology palaeoecology 396:194–212. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.palaeo.2014.01.011
  • Ferraro, Joseph V., Plummer, Thomas W., Pobiner, Briana L., Oliver, James S., Bishop, Laura C., Braun, David R., Ditchfield, Peter W., Seaman, John W., III, Binetti, Katie M., Seaman, John W., Jr., Hertel, Fritz, and Potts, Richard. 2013. "Earliest Archaeological Evidence of Persistent Hominin Carnivory." Plos One 8 (4):e62174. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0062174
  • Lee, Ray K. L., Owen, R. B., Renaut, Robin W., Behrensmeyer, Anna K., Potts, Richard, and Sharp, Warren D. 2013. "Facies, geochemistry and diatoms of late Pleistocene Olorgesailie tufas, southern Kenya Rift." Palaeogeography palaeoclimatology palaeoecology 374:197–217. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.palaeo.2013.01.019
  • Potts, Richard. 2013. "Hominin evolution in settings of strong environmental variability." Quaternary Science Reviews 73:1–13. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2013.04.003
  • Faith, J. T., Potts, Richard, Plummer, Thomas W., Bishop, Laura C., Marean, Curtis W., and Tryon, Christian A. 2012. "New perspectives on middle Pleistocene change in the large mammal faunas of East Africa: Damaliscus hypsodon sp. nov. (Mammalia, Artiodactyla) from Lainyamok, Kenya." Palaeogeography palaeoclimatology palaeoecology 361-362:84–93. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.palaeo.2012.08.005
  • Potts, Richard. 2012. "Environmental and Behavioral Evidence Pertaining to the Evolution of Early Homo." Current Anthropology 53:S299–S317. https://doi.org/10.1086/667704
  • Owen, R. B., Renaut, R. W., Potts, Richard, and Behrensmeyer, Anna K. 2011. "Geochemical trends through time and lateral variability of diatom floras in the Pleistocene Olorgesailie Formation, southern Kenya Rift Valley." Quaternary Research 76 (1):167–179. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gi.2015.04.009
  • Potts, Richard. 2011. "Evolution: Big brains explained." Nature 480 (7375):43–44. https://doi.org/10.1038/480043a
  • Potts, Richard. 2011. "Homo sapiens is a 10? Comment on “Homo sapiens is as Homo sapiens was” by John J. Shea." Current Anthropology 52 (1):21–22.
  • Tryon, Christian A. and Potts, Richard. 2011. "Approaches for Understanding Flake Production in the African Acheulean." PaleoAnthropology 2011:376–389.
  • Deocampo, Daniel M., Behrensmeyer, Anna K., and Potts, Richard. 2010. "Ultrafine Clay Minerals of the Pleistocene Olorgesailie Formation, Southern Kenya Rift: Diagenesis and Paleoenvironments of Early Hominins." Clays and Clay Minerals 58 (3):294–310. https://doi.org/10.1346/CCMN.2010.0580301
  • Potts, Richard. 2010. "Presenting Human Evolution to the Public: The Smithsonian’s Hall of Human Origins." AnthroNotes 31 (1):11–15. https://doi.org/10.5479/10088/22447
  • Bennington, J. Bret, Dimichele, William A., Badgley, Catherine, Bambach, Richard K., Barrett, Paul M., Behrensmeyer, Anna K., Bobe, Rene, Burnham, Robyn J., Daeschler, Edward B., Van Dam, Jan, Eronen, Jussi T., Erwin, Douglas H., Finnegan, Seth, Holland, Steven M., Hunt, Gene, Jablonski, David, Jackson, Stephen T., Jacobs, Bonnie E., Kidwell, Susan M., Koch, Paul L., Kowalewski, Michal J., Labandeira, Conrad C., Looy, Cindy V., Lyons, Sara K., Novack-Gottshall, Philip M. et al. 2009. "Critical Issues of Scale in Paleoecology." Palaios 24 (1-2):1–4. https://doi.org/10.2110/palo.2009.S01
  • Cohen, A., Arrowsmith, R., Behrensmeyer, Anna K., Campisano, C., Feibel, C., Shimeles Fisseha, N. J., Johnson, R., Bedaso, Z. K., Lockwood, C., Olago, D., and Potts, Richard. 2009. "Scientific Drilling for Human Origins: Exploring the Application of Drill Core Records to Understanding Hominin Evolution. Workshop Report for EOS Supplementary On-line materials." Eos 90 (14):122. https://doi.org/10.1029/2009EO140010
  • Owen, R. Bernhart, Potts, Richard, and Behrensmeyer, Anna K. 2009. "Reply to the comment on "Diatomaceous sediments and environmental change in the Pleistocene Olorgesailie Formation, southern Kenya Rift Valley" by R.B. Owen, R. Potts, A.K. Behrensmeyer and P. Ditchfield [Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 269 (2008) 17-37]." Palaeogeography palaeoclimatology palaeoecology 282 (1-4):147–148. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.palaeo.2008.06.021
  • Owen, R. Bernhart, Renaut, Robin W., Scott, Jennifer J., Potts, Richard, and Behrensmeyer, Anna K. 2009. "Wetland sedimentation and associated diatoms in the Pleistocene Olorgesailie Basin, southern Kenya Rift Valley." Sedimentary Geology 222 (1-2):124–137. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sedgeo.2009.03.013
  • Plummer, Thomas W., Ditchfield, Peter W., Bishop, Laura C., Kingston, John D., Ferraro, Joseph V., Braun, David R., Hertel, Fritz, and Potts, Richard. 2009. "Oldest Evidence of Toolmaking Hominins in a Grassland-Dominated Ecosystem." PLoS ONE 4 (9):e7199. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0007199
  • Braun, David R., Plummer, Thomas, Ditchfield, Peter, Ferraro, Joseph V., Maina, David, Bishop, Laura C., and Potts, Richard. 2008. "Oldowan behavior and raw material transport: perspectives from the Kanjera Formation." Journal of Archaeological Science 35 (8):2329–2345. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jas.2008.03.004
  • Hublin, Jean-Jacques, Paeaebo, Svante, Derevianko, Anatoly P., Doronichev, Vladimir B., Golovanova, Liubov V., Friess, Martin, Froment, Alain, Hoffmann, Almut, Jillani Kachache, Ngalla Edward, Kullmer, Ottmar, Lordkipanidze, David, Moncel, Marie-Hlne, Potts, Richard, Radovcic, Jakov, Rak, Yoel Zvi, Richards, Michael, Mndez, Jess Rodrguez, Rosas, Antonio, Schmaude, Michael, Schmit, Ralf W., Semal, Patrick, Smith, Tanya, Tafuri, Mary Anne, Tattersall, Ian, Tournepiche, Jean-Franois et al. 2008. "Suggested guidelines for invasive sampling of hominid remains." Journal of Human Evolution 55 (4):756–757. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhevol.2008.04.010
  • Olejniczak, A. J., Smith, T. M., Wang, W., Potts, Richard, Ciochon, R., Kullmer, O., Schrenk, F., and Hublin, J. J. 2008. "Molar enamel thickness and dentine horn height in Gigantopithecus blacki." American Journal of Physical Anthropology 135 (1):85–91. https://doi.org/10.1002/ajpa.20711
  • Owen, R. B., Potts, Richard, Behrensmeyer, Anna K., and Ditchfield, P. 2008. "Diatomaceous sediments and environmental change in the Pleistocene Olorgesailie Formation, southern Kenya Rift Valley." Palaeogeography palaeoclimatology palaeoecology 269:17–37.
  • Zhu, R. X., Potts, Richard, Pan, Y. X., Lu, L. Q., Yao, H. T., Deng, C. L., and Qin, H. F. 2008. "Paleomagnetism of the Yuanmou Basin near the southeastern margin of the Tibetan Plateau and its constraints on late Neogene sedimentation and tectonic rotation." Earth and Planetary Science Letters 272 (1-2):97–104. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.epsl.2008.04.016
  • Zhu, R. X., Potts, Richard, Pan, Y. X., Yao, H. T., Lu, L. Q., Zhao, X., Gao, X., Chen, L. W., Gao, F., and Deng, C. L. 2008. "Early evidence of the genus Homo in East Asia." Journal of Human Evolution 55 (6):1075–1085. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhevol.2008.08.005
  • Phelan, J., Weiner, M. J., Ricci, J. L., Plummer, T., Gauld, S., Potts, Richard, and Bromage, T. G. 2007. "Diagnosis of the pathology of the Kanam mandible." Oral Surgery, Oral Medicine, Oral Pathology, Oral Radiology, and Endodontology 103 (4):https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tripleo.2006.12.041
  • Potts, Richard. 2007. "Paleoclimate and human evolution." Evolutionary Anthropology: Issues, News, and Reviews 16:1–3.
  • Wang, Wei, Potts, Richard, Baoyin, Yuan, Huang, Weiwen, Cheng, Hai, Edwards, R. Lawrence, and Ditchfield, Peter. 2007. "Sequence of mammalian fossils, including hominoid teeth, from the Bubing Basin caves, South China." Journal of Human Evolution 52 (4):370–379. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhevol.2006.10.003
  • Bishop, L. C., Plummer, T. W., Ferraro, J., Ditchfield, P. W., Hertel, F., Kingston, J. D., Braun, D., Hicks, J., and Potts, Richard. 2006. "Recent research into Oldowan hominin activities at Kanjera South, Western Kenya." African Archaeological Review 23 (1-2):31–40. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10437-006-9006-1
  • Cohen, A. S., Ashley, G. M., Potts, Richard, Behrensmeyer, Anna K., and Quade, J. 2006. "Paleoclimate and human evolution workshop." Eos 87 (16):161. https://doi.org/10.1029/2006EO160008
  • Trueman, C. N., Behrensmeyer, Anna K., Potts, Richard, and Tuross, Noreen C. 2006. "High-resolution records of location and stratigraphic provenance from the rare earth element composition of fossil bones." Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 70 (17):4319–4562. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gca.2006.06.1556
  • Wang, W., Potts, Richard, Hou, Y. M., Chen, Y. F., Wu, H. Y., Yuan, B. Y., and Huang, W. W. 2005. "Early Pleistocene hominid teeth recovered in Mohui cave in Bubing Basin, Guangxi, South China." Chinese Science Bulletin 50 (23):2777–2782. https://doi.org/10.1360/982004-614
  • Bonnefille, R., Potts, Richard, Chalié, F., Jolly, D., and Peyron, O. 2004. "High-resolution vegetation and climate change associated with Pliocene Australopithecus afarensis." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 101:12125–12129.
  • Petraglia, Michael and Potts, Richard. 2004. "Old World Paleolithic and the Development of a National Collection." Smithsonian Contributions to Anthropology (48): 1–148. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.00810223.48.1
  • Potts, Richard. 2004. "The scarcity of African mid-Pleistocene hominin fossils." American Journal of Physical Anthropology 38:162.
  • Potts, Richard. 2004. "Paleoenvironmental basis of cognitive evolution in great apes." American Journal of Primatology 62:209–228.
  • Potts, Richard, Behrensmeyer, Anna K., Deino, A., Ditchfield, P., and Clark, Jennifer B. 2004. "Small mid-Pleistocene hominin associated with East African Acheulean technology." Science 305:75–78.
  • Potts, Richard, Huang, W., Hou, Y., Deino, A., Yuan, B., Guo, Z., and Clark, Jennifer. 2004. "Technical Comments on Mid-Pleistocene Acheulean-like stone technology of the Bose Basin, South China." Science 287:507a.
  • Zhu, R. X., Potts, Richard, Xie, F., Hoffman, K. A., Deng, C. L., Shi, C. D., Pan, Y. X., Wang, H. Q., Shi, R. P., Wang, Y. C., Shi, G. H., and Wu, N. Q. 2004. "New evidence on the earliest human presence at high northern latitudes in northeast Asia." Nature 431 (7008):559–562. https://doi.org/10.1038/nature02829
  • Brooks, Alison S. and Potts, Richard. 2003. "New Research in Early Human Origins: 7 to 1 Million Years Ago." AnthroNotes 24 (2):1–8, 18-19.
  • Zhu, R. X., An, Z., Potts, Richard, and Hoffman, K. A. 2003. "Magnetotratigraphic dating of early humans in China." Earth Science Reviews 61:341–359.
  • Melson, William G. and Potts, Richard. 2002. "Origin of reddened and melted zones in Pleistocene sediments of the Olorgesailie basin, southern Kenya rift." Journal of Archaeological Science 29 (3):307–316.
  • Plummer, Thomas W., Ferraro, J., Ditchfield, Peter W., Bishop, Laura C., and Potts, Richard. 2001. "Late Pliocene Oldowan excavations at Kanjera South, Kenya." Antiquity 75:809–810.
  • Zhu, R. X., Hoffman, K. A., Potts, Richard, Deng, C. L., Pan, Y. X., Guo, B., Shi, C. D., Guo, Z. T., Yuan, B. Y., Hou, Y. M., and Huang, W. W. 2001. "Earliest presence of humans in northeast Asia." Nature 413 (6854):413–417.
  • Brooks, Alison S. and Potts, Richard. 2000. "What’s New in Human Evolution?." AnthroNotes
  • Hou, Y. M., Potts, Richard, Yuan, B. Y., Guo, Z. T., Deino, A., Wang, W., Clark, J., Xie, G. M., and Huang, W. W. 2000. "Mid-Pleistocene Acheulean-like stone technology of the Bose basin, South China." Science 287 (5458):1622–1626.
  • Baoyin, Yuan, Yamei, Hou, Wei, Wang, Potts, Richard, Zhengtang, Guo, and Weiwen, Huang. 1999. "On the Geomorphological Evolution of the Bose Basin, a Lower Paleolithic Locality in South China." Acta Anthropologica Sinica 18 (3):215–224.
  • Brooks, Alison S. and Potts, Richard. 1999. "New Discoveries in Paleoanthropology: What’s New, What’s True, and What’s Important." AnthroNotes 21 (2):1–9. https://doi.org/10.5479/10088/22377
  • Ditchfield, P., Hicks, J., Plummer, T., Bishop, L. C., and Potts, Richard. 1999. "Current research on the Late Pliocene and Pleistocene deposits north of Homa Mountain, southwestern Kenya." Journal of Human Evolution 36 (2):123–150.
  • Potts, Richard, Behrensmeyer, Anna K., and Ditchfield, P. 1999. "Paleolandscape variation and Early Pleistocene hominid activities: Members 1 and 7, Olorgesailie Formation, Kenya." Journal of Human Evolution 37 (5):747–788.
  • Sikes, N. E., Potts, Richard, and Behrensmeyer, Anna K. 1999. "Early Pleistocene habitat in Member 1 Olorgesailie based on paleosol stable isotopes." Journal of Human Evolution 37 (5):721–746.
  • Potts, Richard. 1998. "Environmental hypotheses of hominin evolution." Yearbook of Physical Anthropology, Vol 41 - 1998 41:93–136.
  • Potts, Richard. 1998. "Variability selection in hominid evolution." Evolutionary Anthropology 7 (3):81–96. 3.0.CO">https://doi.org/10.1002/(SICI)1520-6505(1998)7:3<81::AID-EVAN3>3.0.CO
  • Behrensmeyer, Anna K., Todd, N. E., Potts, Richard, and McBrinn, G. E. 1997. "Late Pliocene faunal turnover in the Turkana Basin, Kenya and Ethiopia." Science 278 (5343):1589–1594.
  • Potts, Richard. 1996. "Evolution and climate variability." Science 273 (5277):922–923.
  • Potts, Richard. 1996. "Commentary on Meat eating, hominid sociality and home bases revisited." Current Anthropology 37:325–327.
  • Potts, Richard. 1996. "Environmental variability and its effect on hominid evolution." Acta Anthropologica Sinica 14:324–339.
  • Tuross, Noreen C., Barnes, Ian, and Potts, Richard. 1996. "Protein identification of blood residues on experimental stone tools." Journal of Archaeological Science 23 (2):289–296.
  • Behrensmeyer, Anna K., Potts, Richard, Plummer, T., Tauxe, L., Opdyke, N., and Jorstad, Thomas F. 1995. "The Pleistocene Locality of Kanjera, Western Kenya - Stratigraphy, Chronology and Paleoenvironments." Journal of Human Evolution 29 (3):247–274.
  • Plummer, T. and Potts, Richard. 1995. "Hominid Fossil Sample from Kanjera, Kenya - Description, Provenance, and Implications of New and Earlier Discoveries." American Journal of Physical Anthropology 96 (1):7–23.
  • Potts, Richard. 1995. "Environmental variability and its effect on hominid evolution." Acta Anthropologica Sinica 144:324–339.
  • Potts, Richard and Deino, A. 1995. "Midpleistocene Change in Large Mammal Faunas of East-Africa." Quaternary Research 43 (1):106–113.
  • Petraglia, M. and Potts, Richard. 1994. "Water flow and the Formation of Lower Paleolithic Sites in Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania." Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 13:228–254.
  • Potts, Richard. 1994. "Variables Versus Models of Early Pleistocene Hominid Land-use." Journal of Human Evolution 27 (1-3):7–24.
  • Vandiver, P. B., Petraglia, M. D., and Potts, Richard. 1994. "Analyses techniques de deux mortiers de paleolithique superieur de la Madeleine, Dordogne, France= Technical Analysis of Two Upper Paleolithic Mortars from La Madeleine, Dordogne, France." L'Anthropologie (Paris) 98 (4):674–682.
  • Zhang, Yinyun and Potts, Richard. 1994. "Variation of the occipital torus." Acta Anthropologica Sinica 13 (4):285–293.
  • Petraglia, Michael D., Potts, Richard, and Vandiver, Pamela B. 1993. "An Upper Paleolithic 'Artist's Palette' from the Grotte de Tarte, Haute Garonne, France." Bulletin de la Societe Prehistorique de L'Ariege 47:161–175.
  • Kinyua, A. M., Plummer, T. W., Shimizu, N.,, Melson, William G., and Potts, Richard. 1992. "Provenancing of Kanjera fossils by x-ray flourescence and ion microprobe analyses." Advances in X-ray Analysis 35:1165–1173.
  • Petraglia, Michael D. and Potts, Richard. 1992. "Two Upper Paleolithic "mortars" from La Madeleine, Dordogne, France." L'Anthropologie 96:209–221.
  • Tauxe, L., Deino, A. D., Behrensmeyer, Anna K., and Potts, Richard. 1992. "Pinning Down the Brunhes Matuyama and Upper Jaramillo Boundaries - a Reconciliation of Orbital and Isotopic Time Scales." Earth and Planetary Science Letters 109 (3-4):561–572.
  • Deino, A. and Potts, Richard. 1991. "Age-probability spectra for examination of single-crystal 40Ar/39Ar dating results: Examples from Olorgesailie, southern Kenya rift valley." Quaternary International 7/8:81–53.
  • Potts, Richard. 1991. "Why the Oldowan? Plio-Pleistocene toolmaking and the transport of resources." Journal of Anthropological Research 47 (2):153–176.
  • Deino, A. and Potts, Richard. 1990. "Single-Crystal Ar-40." Journal of Geophysical Research. B. Solid Earth 95 (B6):8453–8470.
  • Plummer, Thomas W. and Potts, Richard. 1989. "Excavations and new findings at Kanjera, Kenya." Journal of human evolution 18 (3):269–276.
  • Potts, Richard. 1989. "Ecological context and explanations of hominid evolution." OSSA International Journal of Skeletal Research 14:99–112.
  • Potts, Richard. 1989. "Olorgesailie: new excavations and findings in Early and Middle Pleistocene contexts, southern Kenya rift valley." Journal of human evolution 18 (5):477–484. https://doi.org/10.1016/0047-2484(89)90076-6
  • Potts, Richard. 1988. "Early Hominid Scavenging Niche." Current Anthropology 29:153–155.
  • Potts, Richard, Shipman, Pat, and Ingall, Ellery. 1988. "Taphonomy, paleoecology and hominids of Lainyamok, Kenya." Journal of human evolution 17 (6):597–614.
  • Potts, Richard. 1987. "On Butchery by Olduvai Hominids." Current Anthropology 28:95–96.
  • Potts, Richard. 1986. "Temporal span of bone accumulations at Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania, and implications for early hominid foraging behavior." Paleobiology 12 (1):25–31.
  • Potts, Richard. 1986. "Temporal span of bone accumulations at Olduvai Gorge and implications for early hominid foraging behavior." Paleobiology 12 (1):25–31. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0094837300002955
  • Potts, Richard. 1986. "From Hominid Origins to Complex Societies - the Distinguished Career of J. Desmond Clark." Journal of Human Evolution 15 (3):215–217.
  • Potts, Richard. 1985. [Book review] "The Analysis of Animal Bones from Archaeological Sites - Klein,rg." Nature. 316 (6026):304–304.
  • Potts, Richard. 1985. "L'homme, ce charognard." La Recherche 16:685–686.
  • Potts, Richard. 1984. "Home Bases and Early Hominids." American Scientist 72:338–347.
  • Potts, Richard and Shipman, Pat. 1981. "Cutmarks made by stone tools on bones from Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania." Nature 291:577–580. https://doi.org/10.1038/291577a0

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Chapter
  • Potts, Richard. 2017. "Human uniqueness, human evolution, and the origins of symbolism and culture." in Human Origins and the Image of God, edited by Lilley, C. and Pedersen, D. J., 95–110. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing.
  • Potts, Richard. 2017. "What will it mean to be human?." in Living in the Anthropocene: Humanity in the Age of Humans, edited by Kress, W. John and Stine, J. K., 27–31. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press.
  • Potts, Richard. 2011. "Olorgesailie – Retrospective and Synthesis." in Casting the Net Wide: Papers in Honor of Glynn Isaac and His Approach to Human Origins Research., edited by Sept, J. and Pilbeam, D., 1–20. Cambridge, MA: American School of Prehistoric Research.
  • Potts, Richard and US Global Change Research Program Strategic Planning Committee. 2011. "Goal 1: Advance Science." in U.S. Global Change Research Program Strategic Plan 2012-2021, 16–44. Washington, DC: U.S. Government.
  • Potts, Richard and Teague, Robin. 2010. "Behavioral and Environmental Background to ‘Out-of-Africa I’ and the Arrival of Homo erectus in East Asia." in Out of Africa I : the first Hominim colonization of Eurasia, edited by Leakey, Richard E., 67–85. Vertebrate Paleobiology and Paleoanthropology. Netherlands: Springer.
  • Potts, Richard. 2007. "Environmental context of Pliocene human evolution in Africa." in Hominin Environments in the East African Pliocene: An Assessment of the Faunal Evidence, edited by Bobe, R., Alemseged, Z., and Behrensmeyer, Anna K., 25–48. New York: Springer.
  • Brooks, Alison S. and Potts, Richard. 2004. "New research in early human Origins (7-1 million years ago)." in Anthropology Explored, edited by Selig, R., London, M. R., and Kaupp, P. Ann., 64–78. Smithsonian Institution Press.
  • Potts, Richard. 2004. "Paleoenvironments and the Evolution of Adaptability in Apes." in The Evolution of Great Ape Intelligence, edited by Russon, A. and Begun, D. R., Cambridge.: Cambridge University Press.
  • Potts, Richard. 2004. "Sociality and the concept of culture in human origins." in The Origins and Nature of Sociality, edited by Sussman, R. W. and Chapman, A. R., 249–269. Aldine de Gruyter.
  • Selig, R. and Potts, Richard. 2004. "One man's search for human origins." in Anthropology Explored, edited by Selig, R., London, M. R., and Kaupp, P. Ann., 46–63. Smithsonian Institution Press.
  • Potts, Richard. 2003. "Early Human Predation." in Predator-Prey Interactions in the Fossil Record, edited by Kelley, P., Kowalewski, M., and Hansen, T., 359–376. Kluwer Academic/ Plenum Publishers.
  • Potts, Richard. 2003. "Environmental variability and its impact on adaptive evolution, with special reference to human origins." in Evolution on Planet Earth: The Impact of the Physical Environment, edited by Rothschild, L. and Lister, L., 339–354. Academic Press.
  • Behrensmeyer, Anna K., Potts, Richard, Deino, A., and Ditchfield, P. 2002. "Olorgesailie, Kenya: A million years in the life of a rift basin." in Sedimentation in Continental Rifts, SEPM Special Publication, edited by Renaut, R. W. and Ashley, G. M., 97–106.
  • Potts, Richard. 2002. "Complexity and adaptability in human evolution." in Probing Human Origins, edited by Goodman, M., Moffat, Anne Simon, and Boyd, Robert., 33–57. Cambridge: American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
  • Potts, Richard. 2001. "Behavioral response to variable Pleistocene landscapes." in In the Mind’s Eye: Multidisciplinary Approaches to the Evolution of Human Cognition, edited by Nowell, April., 137–153. International Monographs in Prehistory. Ann Arbor (Michigan): International Monographs in Prehistory.
  • Potts, Richard. 2001. "Mid-Pleistocene environmental change and human evolution." in Human Roots: Africa and Asia in the Middle Pleistocene, edited by Barham, Lawrence and Robson-Brown, Kate., 5–21. University of Bristol. Centre for Human Evolutionary Research: Western Academic & Specialist Press.
  • Potts, Richard. 2000. "Flying machines." in Greatest Inventions of the Past 2000 Years, edited by Brockman, J., 37–39. New York: Simon and Schuster.
  • Potts, Richard. 1998. "Toward an Understanding of Current Social Problems." in Reading between the Lines: Toward an Understanding of Current Social Problems, edited by Konradi, Amanda and Schmidt, Martha., 507–515. Humanity’s Descent. London: Mayfield.
  • Potts, Richard. 1996. "Dénouer le nœud: Évolution du comportement des premiers hommes." in Aux Origines de l’Humanité, edited by Stoczkowski, Wiktor., 323–346. Paris: Pocket.
  • Potts, Richard, Jorstad, Thomas F., and Cole, Daniel G. 1996. "The role of GIS in interdisciplinary investigations at Olorgesailie, Kenya, a Pleistocene archeological locality." in Anthropology, Space, and Geographic Information Systems, edited by Aldenderfer, Mark and Maschner, Herbert D. G., 202–213. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Potts, Richard, Jorstad, Thomas F., and Cole, Daniel G. 1996. "The Role of GIS in the Interdisciplinary Investigations of Olorgesailie, Kenya, a Pleistocene Archaeological Locality." in Anthropology, Space, and Geographic Information Systems, edited by Aldenderfer, Mark and Maschner, Herbert D. G., 202–213. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Potts, Richard. 1993. "Olduvai Gorge." in Smithsonian Timelines of the Ancient World, edited by Scarre, Christopher., 32–33. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution.
  • Potts, Richard. 1993. "Archeological interpretations of early hominid behavior and ecology." in The Origin and Evolution of Humans and Humanness, edited by Rasmussen, D. Tab., 49–74. Boston: Jones & Bartlett Learning.
  • Potts, Richard. 1992. "Reconstructing early human behaviour." in The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Human Evolution, edited by Jones, S., Martin, R. D., and Pilbeam, D., 325–334. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Potts, Richard and Behrensmeyer, Anna K. 1992. "Late Cenozoic Terrestrial Ecosystems." in Terrestrial Ecosystems Through Time: Evolutionary Paleoecology of Terrestrial Plants and Animals, edited by Behrensmeyer, Anna K., Damuth, J., Dimichele, William A., Potts, Richard, Sues, Hans-Dieter, and Wing, Scott L., 419–541. Chicago: University of Chicago.
  • Potts, Richard and Behrensmeyer, Anna K. 1992. "Late Cenozoic Terrestrial Ecosystems." in Terrestrial Ecosystems Through Time: Evolutionary Paleoecology of Terrestrial Plants and Animals, edited by Behrensmeyer, Anna K., Damuth, J., Dimichele, William A., Potts, Richard, Sues, Hans-Dieter, and Wing, Scott L., 419–541. Chicago: University of Chicago.
  • Wing, Scott L. and Sues, Hans-Dieter. 1992. "Mesozoic and Early Cenozoic Terrestrial Ecosystems." in Terrestrial Ecosystems Through Time : Evolutionary Paleoecology of Terrestrial Plants and Animals, edited by Behrensmeyer, Anna K., Damuth, John D., Dimichele, William A., Potts, Richard, Sues, Hans-Dieter, and Wing, Scott L., 327–416. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  • Wing, Scott L., Sues, Hans-Dieter, Potts, Richard, Dimichele, William A., and Behrensmeyer, Anna K. 1992. "Evolutionary Paleoecology." in Terrestrial Ecosystems Through Time: Evolutionary Paleoecology of Terrestrial Plants and Animals, edited by Behrensmeyer, Anna K., 1–13. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  • Potts, Richard. 1991. "Untying the knot: Evolution of early human behavior." in Man and Beast Revisited, edited by Robinson, Michael H. and Tiger, Lionel., 41–59. Washington DC: Smithsonian Press.
  • Potts, Richard. 1987. "Paleoanthropological Reconstructions of Early Hominid Socioecology: A Critique of Primate Models." in The Evolution of Human Behavior: Primate Models, edited by Kinzey, Warren G., 28–47. State University of New York Press.
  • Potts, Richard. 1984. "Hominid hunters? Problems of Identifying the Earliest Hunter-gatherers." in Hominid Evolution and Community Ecology, edited by Foley, R., 129–166. London: Academic Press.
  • Potts, Richard. 1983. "Foraging for faunal resources by early hominids at Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania." in Hunters and their prey, edited by Clutton-Brock, J. and Grigson, C., 163–163. Animals and Archaeology. British Archaeological Reports.

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Book
  • Potts, Richard. 2010. Understanding Climate's Influence on Human Evolution,, edited by National Research Council of the National Academies of Science and Committee on the Earth System Context for Hominin Evolution. . Washington DC: National Academies Press.
  • Potts, Richard and Sloan, Christopher. 2010. What Does It Mean To Be Human?. Washington, DC: National Geographic.
  • Petraglia, Michael and Potts, Richard. 2004. The Old World Paleolithic and the Development of a National Collection. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press.
  • Damuth, J., Behrensmeyer, Anna K., Dimichele, William A., Labandeira, Conrad C., Potts, Richard, and Wing, Scott L. 1997. ETE Database Manual. Evolution of Terrestrial Ecosystems Consortium.
  • Potts, Richard. 1996. Humanity’s Descent: The Consequences of Ecological Instability. New York: Morrow.
  • Behrensmeyer, Anna K., Damuth, J., Dimichele, William A., Potts, Richard, Sues, Hans-Dieter, and Wing, Scott L. , eds. 1992. Terrestrial Ecosystems Through Time. Chicago: University of Chicago.
  • Potts, Richard. 1988. Early Hominid Activities at Olduvai. New York: Aldine de Gruyter.
Web Page
  • Potts, Richard. 2003. "Human Evolution." Encarta, Microsoft Online Encyclopedia
Thesis
  • Potts, Richard. 1982. "Lower Pleistocene Site Formation and Hominid Activities at Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania." PhD. University Microfilms.