Member Listing


Emma Pomeroy



Other Affiliation

Department of Archaeology (Biological Anthropology)


Principal Investigator

Research Summary

My research centres on understanding how past and present variation in human health, growth and morphology is influenced by evolutionary processes (e.g., adaptation, neutral variation, plasticity) and interactions with the natural and social environments. I combine human bioarchaeology with human biology and palaeoanthropology, and previous and current projects include work in South America, South Asia and Europe.

My recent research has been investigating the evolutionary origins of low lean tissue (organ and muscle mass) among contemporary South Asians. Low lean mass is implicated in the elevated risk of type 2 diabetes and other chronic diseases among South Asians, but the origins of low lean mass is unknown. We have been using clinical imaging from contemporary populations to investigate the relationship between lean mass and skeletal dimensions, and then applying these findings to track patterns of lean mass variation using the South Asian skeletal record from the last 11,000 years. This project involves collaborations with Dr Veena Mushrif (Deccan College Research and Post Graduate Institute, Pune, India); Dr Jay Stock (Cambridge); Professor Jonathan Wells (UCL); Dr Sanjay Kinra (APCAPS [], London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine); and Dr Bharati Kulkarni (National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad, India).

I am also the osteologist on the Shanidar Cave Project, and work on Neanderthal morphology and behaviour centred on this iconic site.

Selected Publications

Pomeroy E, Mushrif-Tripathy V, Cole TJ, Wells JCK, Stock JT. 2019. Ancient origins of low lean mass among South Asians and implications for modern type 2 diabetes susceptibility. Scientific Reports 9(1):10515.

Pomeroy E, Mushrif-Tripathy V, Stock JT, Kulkarni B, Kinra S, Cole TJ, Wells JCK. 2019. Estimating body mass and composition from proximal femur dimensions using DXA. Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences: 11(5): 2167-2179.

Payne S, Kumar BC R, Pomeroy E, Macintosh A, Stock JT. 2018. Thrifty phenotype versus cold adaptation: trade-offs in upper limb proportions of Himalayan populations of Nepal. Royal Society Open Science 5(6).

Pomeroy E, Macintosh A, Wells JCK, Cole TJ, Stock JT. 2018. Relationship between body mass, lean mass, fat mass, and limb bone cross‐sectional geometry: Implications for estimating body mass and physique from the skeleton. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 166(1):56-69.

Wells JCK, Pomeroy E, Walimbe SR, Popkin B, Yajnik CS. 2016. The elevated susceptibility to diabetes in India: an evolutionary perspective. Frontiers in Public Health 4: 145.

Pomeroy E, Wells JCK, Cole TJ, O’Callaghan M, Stock JT. 2015. Relationships of maternal and paternal anthropometry with neonatal body size and proportions in an Australian cohort. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 156(4): 625-636

Pomeroy E, Stock JT, Cole TJ, O’Callaghan M, Wells JCK. 2014. Relationships between neonatal weight, limb lengths, skinfold thicknesses, body breadths and circumferences in an Australian cohort. PLoS ONE 9(8): e105108

Pomeroy E, Stock JT, Stanojevic S, Miranda JJ, Cole TJ, Wells JCK. 2014. Stunting, adiposity, and the individual-level “dual burden” among urban lowland and rural highland Peruvian children. American Journal of Human Biology 26(4): 481-490

Pomeroy E, Wells JCK, Stanojevic S, Miranda JJ, Cole TJ, Stock JT. 2014. Birth month associations with height, head circumference and limb lengths among Peruvian children. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 154(1): 115-124

Pomeroy E, Stock JT, Stanojevic S, Miranda JJ, Cole TJ, Wells JCK. 2012. Trade-offs in relative limb length among Peruvian children: Extending the thrifty phenotype hypothesis to limb proportions. PLoS ONE 7(12): e51795

Other field of expertise

Evolutionary anthropology, evolutionary medicine, human skeletal morphology