Jill Scott

B.A. in Anthropology (University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign)
Curriculum Vitae: 

Research Overview

Jill is a Ph.D. candidate in biological anthropology at The University of Iowa with a focus on paleoanthropology and evolutionary anatomy. Her doctoral research broadly examines Middle and Late Pleistocene Homo craniofacial evolution. More specifically, Jill uses 3D imaging and traditional and geometric morphometric techniques to assess the evolutionary significance of the chin in Homo sapiens as well as variation in mandibular symphyseal morphology across genus Homo.

Jill is also part of the team that analyzed and named the recently announced hominin species, Homo naledi. In 2014, Jill participated in the Rising Star Workshop as one of approximately 30 early career scientists to analyze and describe the more than 1500 excavated hominin fragments from the Dinaledi Chamber of the Rising Star cave system in the Cradle of Humankind, South Africa.  Jill is involved in the ongoing descriptive and morphometric analyses of the Homo naledi craniomandibular and hand material.

You can hear about Jill’s dissertation and Homo naledi research in her April 2016 interview on the podcast Beyond the (Micro)scope: Episode 22: On the Origin of (Modern Chin) Species.

Employment, Education, Fieldwork, & Labwork

Jill Scott

Jill is currently the Laboratory Coordinator in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Metropolitan State University of Denver while finishing her dissertation. In this position she oversees four labs, including the Social Statistics Computer Lab, the Ethnography Lab, the Human Identification Lab, and the Laboratory of Anthropology (which includes archaeological, biological anthropology, and teaching materials).

Jill earned her M.A. in Anthropology from the University of Iowa and her B.A. in Anthropology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She has completed paleontological fieldwork in southeastern Montana, both historic and prehistoric archaeological fieldwork in western and southern Illinois and eastern Iowa, and paleoanthropological fieldwork in South Africa at the sites of Gladysvale and Matjhabeng.  Jill has also analyzed fossil hominin and recent Homo sapiens skeletal collections at 30 domestic and international repositories as well as cephalograms from the UI Orthodontics Department.

Teaching and Mentorship

Jill Scott

At the University of Iowa, Jill has been a teaching assistant for “Human Origins” and sole instructor for “Forensic Anthropology and CSI,” “The Anthropology of Violence,” and “The Evolution of Human Sex.” Jill has also instructed “Human Biology” at Kirkwood Community College in Iowa City, IA. In 2013 Jill was awarded the Sandra H. Barkan Outstanding Graduate Student Mentor Award from the UI Graduate College for her mentorship of undergraduate and graduate students both in the classroom and on individual research projects.

Invited Lectures

Jill has given public lectures about her research on hominin craniomandibular evolution at the LVR-LandesMuseum in Bonn, Germany; the Museu Nacional de Arqueologia in Lisbon, Portugal; the Pennsylvania State University Department of Anthropology; and the University of Colorado School of Medicine.

She has also given lectures about her research on Homo naledi, including the Keynote Lecture at the 2016 Utah Friends of Paleontology Annual Meeting in Moab, UT; the “PaleoFest: Women in Paleontology” Conference at the Burpee Museum of Natural History in Rockford, IL; the Pueblo City-County Library in Pueblo, CO in conjunction with the Smithsonian travelling exhibit “What Makes Us Human”; The Metropolitan State University of Denver Department of Sociology and Anthropology; McHenry County College in Crystal Lake, IL; and Aims Community College in Greeley, CO.

Service and Outreach    

Jill has served in a number of capacities for the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (AAPA), having worked as the Student Liaison to the Executive Committee from 2012 – 2014, during which time she founded the AAPA Student Committee. Jill has also served as a grad student reviewer and mentor for the AAPA Undergraduate Research Symposium and she also administrates the AAPA Facebook page. Additionally, Jill has enjoyed serving the UI Graduate Student Anthropology Association both as president and secretary. She has also assisted on forensic cases in the Department of Pathology at The University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics and the Denver Office of the Medical Examiner. Jill has also given lectures and workshops about forensic anthropology and biological anthropology to high school and community college science and anthropology classes, as well as the Undergraduate Anthropology Clubs at The University of Iowa and Metropolitan State University of Denver. For her commitment and service to the discipline of Anthropology, in 2013 Jill was awarded the June Helm Award by the University of Iowa Department of Anthropology.


In Press                  Schroeder L, Scott JE, Garvin HM, Laird MF, Dembo M, Radovčić D, Berger LR, de Ruiter DJ, Ackermann RR. Skull diversity in the Homo lineage and the relative position of Homo naledi. Journal of Human Evolution.

In Press                  Laird MF, Schroeder L, Garvin HM, Scott JE, Dembo M, Radovčić D, Musiba CM, Ackermann, RR, Schmid P, Hawks J, Berger LR, de Ruiter DJ. The skull of Homo naledi. Journal of Human Evolution.

2016      Laird MF, Holton NE, Scott JE, Franciscus RG, Marshall SD, Southard TE. Spatial determinants of the mandibular curve of Spee in modern and archaic Homo. American Journal of Physical Anthropology. 161:226–236.

2016      Dembo M, Radovčić D, Garvin HM, Laird MF, Schroeder L, Scott JE, Brophy J, Ackermann RR, Musiba CM, de Ruiter DJ, Mooers AØ, Collard M. The evolutionary relationships and age of Homo naledi: an assessment using dated Bayesian phylogenetic methods. Journal of Human Evolution. 97:17–26.

2015      Berger LR, Hawks J, de Ruiter DJ, Churchill SE, Schmid P, Delezene LK, Kivell TL, Garvin HM, Williams SA, DeSilva JM, Skinner MM, Musiba CM, Cameron N, Holliday TW, Harcourt-Smith W, Ackermann RR, Bastir M, Bogin B, Bolter D, Brophy J, Cofran ZD, Congdon KA, Deane AS, Dembo, M, Drapeau M, Elliott MC, Feuerriegel EM, Garcia-Martinez D, Green DJ, Gurtov A, Irish JD, Kruger A, Laird MF, Marchi D, Meyer MF, Nalla S, Negash EW, Orr CM, Radovčić D, Schroeder L, Scott JE, Throckmorton Z, Tocheri MW, VanSickle C, Walker CS, Wei P, and Zipfel B. Homo naledi, a new species of the genus Homo from the Dinaledi Chamber, South Africa. eLife 4:e09560.

2015      Holton NE, Bonner L, Scott JE, Marshall SD, Franciscus RG, Southard TE. The ontogeny of the chin: An analysis of allometric and biomechanical scaling. Journal of Anatomy. 226:549–559.

2011      Marshall SD, Low LE, Holton NE, Franciscus RG, Frazier M, Qian F, Mann K, Schneider G, Scott JE, Southard TE. Chin development as a result of differential jaw growth. American Journal of Orthodontics & Dentofacial Orthopedics. 139:456–464.