Deborah Cunningham

Deborah CunninghamSenior Lecturer
Phone: (512) 245-8272
Office: ELA 238

I received my PhD at the University of Missouri in 2005. I am a paleoanthropologist interested in the evolution of East and South African hominins, the paleobiology of Homo erectus, patterns of sexual dimorphism in Australopithecus, species boundaries in the fossil record, and the effect of obesity on the trabecular architecture of the human skeleton. I also have strong interests in evolution and "creation science" issues, and have been involved in the fight to keep evolution in K-12 science standards. Additionally, I have done research into effective teaching methods for teaching evolution to college students.


Cunningham DL, Rogers MV, Wescott DJ, & McCarthy RC (2019).  Re-evaluation of the body mass estimate for the KNM-ER 5428 Homo erectus talus.  American Journal of Physical Anthropology 170:148-155.

Cunningham DL, Graves RR, Wescott DJ, & McCarthy RC (2018).  The effect of ontogeny on estimates of KNM-WT 15000’s adult body size.  Journal of Human Evolution 121:119-127.

Christensen AM, Smith MA, Wescott DJ, Gleiber DS, & Cunningham DL (2018).  The use of industrial x-ray computed tomography technologies in forensic anthropology.  Forensic Anthropology 1(2):121-140.

Williams FL, Cunningham DL, & Amaral LQ (2015).  Forearm articular proportions and the antebrachial index in Homo sapiens, Australopithecus afarensis and the great apes.  HOMO – Journal of Comparative Human Biology 66(6):477-491.

Wescott DJ, Cunningham DL, & Hunt DR (2014).  Temporal trends in femoral diaphyseal torsional asymmetry among the Arikara associated with postural behavior.  American Journal of Physical Anthropology 154:512-524.

Graves RR, Lupo AC, McCarthy RC, Wescott DJ, & Cunningham DL (2010). Just how strapping was KNM-WT 15000? Journal of Human Evolution 59:542-554 (also see Science 328 [5977]:413).

Cunningham DL & Wescott DJ (2009). Still more “fancy” and “myth” than “fact” in students’ conceptions of evolution. Evolution: Education and Outreach 2(3):505-517.

Wescott DJ & Cunningham DL (2006). Temporal changes in Arikara humeral and femoral cross-sectional geometry associated with horticultural intensification. Journal of Archaeological Science 33:1022-1036 (also see Science 312 [5773]:507).

Wescott DJ & Cunningham DL (2005). Recognizing and understanding student misconceptions about science and evolution. Mountain Rise 2(2): (

Cunningham DL & Jantz RL (2003). Craniometric relationships of Paleoamericans and Archaic Indians. Current Research in the Pleistocene 20:87-89.

Cunningham DL & Jantz RL (2003). The morphometric relationship of Upper Cave 101 and 103 to modern Homo sapiens. Journal of Human Evolution 45:741-758.

Cunningham DL & Wescott DJ (2002). Within-group human variation in the Asian Pleistocene: The three Upper Cave crania. Journal of Human Evolution 42:627-638.

Cunningham DL (1999). Creationist tornado rips evolution out of Kansas science standards. Reports of the National Center for Science Education 19(4):10-15.