David M. Alba

Head of the Paleobiodiversity & Phylogeny Research Group



Institut Català de Paleontologia Miquel Crusafont Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
Edifici ICTA-ICP, Carrer Columnes s/n, 08193 Cerdanyola del Vallès, Barcelona, Spain.

Abridged curriculum

I am a paleoanthropologist and vertebrate paleontologist focused on evolutionary paleobiology. I obtained my Ph.D. in Biology in 2005 (Universitat de Barcelona) with a dissertation focused on the origin and evolution of great apes and humans, carried out at the Institut de Paleontologia M. Crusafont thanks to a fellowship from the Generalitat de Catalunya (1999–2002). After a few years (2003-2006) working for the private sector (paleontological services), I rejoined academia with a ‘Beatriu de Pinós’ postdoctoral contract (2006–2008) at the Biological Anthropology Unit of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB). Subsequently I was senior postdoc visiting researcher (2008–2009) at the Università di Firenze (Italy), until I became a ‘Ramón y Cajal’ researcher of the Institut Català de Paleontologia Miquel Crusafont (ICP) in late 2019. During that period I was also visiting researcher (2012–2013) at the Università di Torino (Italy) and undertook shorter stays in other foreign institutions (American Museum of Natural History and Stony Brook University, New York, USA). At the ICP I lead my own research group since 2012; I was also appointed director of the ICP in 2017 and currently I further coordinate the three research groups of the Cenozoic Research Area. My current research foci include: paleobiology, phylogeny and evolution of catarrhine primates and other vertebrates from the Neogene and Quaternary of Europe; and vertebrate paleobiodiversity dynamics during with emphasis on faunal turnovers in relation to paleoenvironmental change.

My international visibility and leadership within my field is best attested by my role as co-Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Human Evolution (the leading paleoanthropological journal) since 2017, although I am an Editorial Board member (as Associate Editor) since 2013. I have also reviewed papers for the most renowned journals in paleontology, evolutionary anthropology and multidisciplinary sciences. In 2013 received the Program I3 certificate (Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad) in recognition of an outstanding research trajectory, and in 2016 I was awarded the prize for the best scientific article by the Societat Catalana de Biologia. I am accredited as full professor in sciences in Catalonia and as full professor in anthropology and paleontology in Italy, and have a longstanding teaching experience in university masters at the UAB. I also have a vast experience in the direction of paleontological fieldwork campaigns, such as those in Abocador de Can Mata (middle Miocene), Can Llobateres (late Miocene) and Vallparadís (Pleistocene), leading to the discovery of many important fossil primate remains (including the skeleton of the Miocene great ape Pierolapithecus catalaunicus). In 2015 I led the publication in Science of another new hominoid genus, Pliobates cataloniae, which had a great repercussion among the media. In total, I have described 36 new taxa, including 6 genera and 12 (sub)species of fossil vertebrates. I have participated in many research projects over the years, being the principal investigator of two R&I projects funded by the Spanish Government, a consolidated research group of the Generalitat de Catalunya, and other projects financed by the National Geographic Society and the Generalitat de Catalunya. Currently I participate in a European project (ITN) on paleoproteomics aimed to retrieve molecular data from fossil primates.

I have supervised four finished PhD dissertations (plus 6 ongoing) and 11 master theses, have coauthored 185 contributions to 87 meetings (72% international), and have a vast publication record, including 187 papers, 16 book chapters, 1 book, 20 dissemination articles, and >150 abstracts. Of the 130 papers published or in press in SCI (JCR) journals, 70% are from the Q1 and more than half from the D1. They include high-impact multidisciplinary journals (Science, PNAS, Nat. Commun...), as well as the leading journals in paleontology (J. Syst. Palaeontol., J. Vert. Paleont.), biology (eLife, Proc. R. Soc. B), zoology (Zool. J. Linn. Soc., J. Mamm. Evol.), and anthropology (J. Hum. Evol., Evol. Anthropol., Am. J. Phys. Anthropol.). I have an h-index of 29 and >2400 citations in Scopus.

Links to my profiles in Scopus, Publons and Scholar Google

Most 10 relevant publications in the last 10 years:

[Updated 9 December 2020]

  • Urciuoli, A., Zanolli, C., Beaudet, A., Dumoncel, J., Santos, F., Moyà-Solà, S. & Alba, D. M. (2020). The evolution of the vestibular apparatus in apes and humans. eLife 9: e51261 [33 pp.]. https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.51261 
  • Alba, D.M., Garcés, M., Casanovas-Vilar, I., Robles, J.M., Pina, M., Moyà-Solà, S. & Almécija, S. (2019). Bio- and magnetostratigraphic correlation of the Miocene primate-bearing site of Castell de Barberà to the earliest Vallesian. J. Hum. Evol. 132: 32-46. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhevol.2019.04.006
  • Casanovas-Vilar, I., Garcia-Porta, J., Fortuny, J., [...] & Alba, D.M. [10/10] (2018). Oldest skeleton of a fossil flying squirrel casts new light on the phylogeny of the group. eLife 7: e39270 [48 pp.]. https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.39270
  • Alba, D.M., Casanovas-Vilar, I., Garcés, M. & Robles, J.M. (2017). Ten years in the dump: An updated review of the Miocene primate-bearing localities from Abocador de Can Mata (NE Iberian Peninsula). J. Hum. Evol. 102: 12-20. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhevol.2016.09.012
  • Alba, D.M., Almécija, S., DeMiguel, D., Fortuny, J., Pérez de los Ríos, M., Pina, M., Robles, J.M. & Moyà-Solà, S. (2015). Miocene small-bodied ape from Eurasia sheds light on hominoid evolution. Science 350: 528, aab2625 [11 pp.]. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.aab2625
  • Alba, D.M., Delson, E., Carnevale, G., Colombero, S., Delfino, M., Giuntelli, P., Pavia, M. & Pavia, G. (2014). First joint record of Mesopithecus and cf. Macaca in the Miocene of Europe. J. Hum. Evol. 67: 1-18. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhevol.2013.11.001
  • Alba, D.M., Almécija, S., Casanovas-Vilar, I., Méndez, J.M. & Moyà-Solà, S. (2012). A partial skeleton of Hispanopithecus laietanus from Can Feu and the mosaic evolution of crown-hominoid positional behaviors. PLoS ONE 7: e39617 [16 pp.]. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0039617
  • Alba, D.M. (2012). Fossil apes from the Vallès-Penedès Basin. Evol. Anthropol. 21: 254-269. https://doi.org/10.1002/evan.21312
  • Casanovas-Vilar, I., Alba, D.M., Garcés, M., Robles, J.M. & Moyà-Solà, S. (2011). Updated chronology for the Miocene hominoid radiation in Western Eurasia. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 108: 5554-5559. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1018562108
  • Alba, D.M., Fortuny, J. & Moyà-Solà, S. (2010). Enamel thickness in the Middle Miocene great apes Anoiapithecus, Pierolapithecus and Dryopithecus. Proc. R. Soc. B 277: 2237-2245. https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2010.0218
Last modified on Thursday, 10 December 2020 08:42
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