Exploring Ancient Development, Evolution, and Behavior

I am an Australian Research Council Future Fellow (2021-2025) and a Professor in the Australian Research Centre for Human Evolution (ARCHE) and the Griffith Centre for Social and Cultural Research (GCSCR) at Griffith University. I’ve previously held a professorship at Harvard University, and fellowships at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. My area of expertise is the study of tooth growth and structure. Teeth preserve remarkably faithful records of daily growth, infant diet, and developmental stress for millions of years, as detailed in The Tales Teeth Tell. This research has been funded by the Australian Academy of Science, Australian Research Council, US National Science Foundation, Leakey Foundation, and the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research. I have published in Nature and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and these works have been featured in The New York Times, National Geographic, Nature, Science, Smithsonian, and Discovery magazines, as well as through American, Australian, British, Canadian, French, Irish, German, New Zealand, and Singaporean broadcast media.

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Earliest evidence of modern human dental development now dates to 300,000 years ago.

Synchrotron reveals human children outpaced Neanderthals by slowing down

New views of first molar eruption, weaning, and life history in living wild chimpanzees.

Tracking Neanderthal diet transitions during infancy from teeth

The lengthy childhood of endangered orangutans is written in their teeth

Old teeth show humans were in Indonesia more than 63,000 years ago

What teeth can tell about the lives and environments of ancient humans and Neanderthals


Griffith University
Parklands Drive
Southport, QLD 4222


tanya.smith [at] griffith [dot] edu.au
Phone: +61 (0)7 3735 7496
Office: Building G06, Room 2.12
@DrTanyaMSmith (Twitter)
T. Smith CV January 2023


2023 Public lectures: November 24 – Australian Prosthodontic Society, Brisbane, QLD.