microscopio cabeceras

Yolanda  Fernández Jalvo


915668850 - 988965




Investigador Cientifico del CSIC



My research has been focused on Taphonomy, the study of fossilization through preserved/transformed original palaeobiological information, and the study of superimposed traces (on fossil surfaces, their histology or their geo- and biochemical composition) of a secondary record of information that let us know about the site formation and past living and fossil contexts. This secondary information and traces are also fossils of the past environments and activity of contemporaneous living organisms (biotic agents) or environmental climatic conditions (abiotic agents).

My investigation mainly focuses on fossil bones and pollen, from Pleistocene and Miocene periods with some collaborations with projects dealing with Holocene and Cretaceous periods, and modern experiments. The time range is therefore extensive, taking into consideration any taxonomic group of large and small vertebrates or pollen, and no restriction to any geographic area Europe, Asia, America and Africa. I am interested in all aspects that taphonomy may inform, stress the capacity of taphonomy to extend its accuracy and quality of resolution, focusing on agents that are directly influenced by the type of environment and climatic conditions, preservation or influenced by animal behaviour.


In order to better interpret all information that fossils contain, observation of modern analogues is frequently needed. Collaboration with natural parks and field stations in Spain (Riofrio National Park and Experimental Station La Higueruela) and South Africa (Tswalu natural game reserve) is especially relevant to my research. In addition, experimental work under highly controlled conditions can be obtained at the first Laboratory of Experimental Taphonomy (mimicking 'fossils in the making') that I built in 2009 at the Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales (MNCN) which complements taphonomic studies in fossil sites.


Curriculum Vitae.

  • Present job: Researcher of the Spanish Council of Research [CSIC] since 1999, Scientific Researcher since 2007-present.
  • Scientific supervisor of the Electron Microscopy Unit and confocal microscopy of the Laboratory of Non-Invasive Techniques hosted at the MNCN.
  • Head of the Laboratory of Experimental Taphonomy since 2009.
  • Scientific supervisor of the Experimental Field Station of Higueruela (MNCN-CSIC) since 2014.
  • Head of the Department of Palaeobiology of the Museo Nacional of Ciencias Naturales (CSIC) since 2014

1980-1985. BSc in Geology, University Complutense of Madrid (UCM).
1988. MSc, University Complutense of Madrid.
1992. Ph.D. in Geology by the University Complutense of Madrid.


PUBLICATIONS summary (around 100 publications, ~40% published in Scientific Impact Factor (SCI) highly rated such as Nature, Science, PNAS, Quaternary Science Reviews, Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology or Journal of Human Evolution; about 22 in Spanish and International non-rated journals (No SCI), and more than 40 co-authorship to book-chapters or monographs. Author of 1 monograph, 1 book and 1 edited book:
Books: 1. (co-authored book) Fernández-Jalvo, Y. & Andrews, P. (in press) Atlas of Taphonomy Springer, The Netherlands.
2. Special issue editor: Fernández-Jalvo,Y. (associate editor, 2002). The Fourth International Meeting on Bone Diagenesis, Archaeometry 44 (3).
3. Edited volume: Fernández-Jalvo, Y.; King, T. Andrews, P. Yepiskoposyan, L. (eds) in prep) Azokh Cave and the Transcaucasian Corridor. Springer, The Netherlands.

SCI PUBLICATIONS (TOP 10 chosen, last 10 years)
1. Finlayson, C. et al (Fernández-Jalvo, Y.) (2006). Late survival of Neanderthals at the southernmost extreme of Europe. Nature 443, 850 - 853.
2. Pruvost, M.; Schwarz, R.; Bessa Correia, V.; Champlot, S.; Braguier, S.; Morel, N.; Fernández-Jalvo, Y.; Grange, T. and Geigl E-M. (2007) Freshly excavated fossil bones are best for amplification of ancient DNA. Proceedings of The National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 104, 739-744.
3. Fernández-Jalvo, Y. & Marín Monfort, M.D. (2008) Experimental taphonomy in museums: Preparation protocols for skeletons and fossil vertebrates under the Scanning Electron Microscopy. Geobios 41, 157-181.
4. Stringer, C.B.; Finlayson, J.C.; Barton, R.N.E. Fernández-Jalvo, Y. (corresponding author); Cáceres, I., Sabin, R.; Rhodes, E.J.; Currant, A.P., Rodriguez-Vidal, J, Giles Pacheco, F, Riquelme-Cantal J.A. (2008). Neanderthal exploitation of marine mammals. Proceedings of The National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 105,14319-14324;
5. Stringer, C.B.; Finlayson, J.C.; Barton, R.N.E. Cáceres, I.; Fernández-Jalvo, Y. (corresponding author) (2008) Reply to Klein and Steele: Neanderthals and their South African contemporaries. Proceedings of The National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America Doi 10,1073.
6. Fernández-Jalvo, Y.; King, T.; Andrews, P.; Yepiskoposyan, L.; Moloney, N.; Murray, J.; Domínguez-Alonso P.; Asryan, L. ; Ditchfield, P., Made J.van der; Torres, T; Sevilla, P.; Nieto Díaz, M., Cáceres, I; Allué, E.; Marín Monfort, M.D.; Sanz Martín, T. (2009). The Azokh Cave complex: Middle Pleistocene to Holocene human occupation in the Caucasus. Journal of Human Evolution 58, 103-109.
7. Fernández-Jalvo, Y.; Andrews, P.; Pesquero, D.; Smith, C.I.; Sánchez, B.; Marin, DM., Geigl, E.M. & Alonso, A. (2010) Early diagenesis in temperate environments. Part I: surface bone and histology. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 288, 62-81.
8.Fernández-Jalvo, Y., Andrews, P. (2011) When humans chew bones. Journal of Human Evolution 60, 117-123.
9. Fernández-Jalvo, Y., Scott, L., Andrews, P. (2011) Taphonomy in palaeoecological interpretations, Quaternary Science Reviews 30, 1296-1302.
10. Fernández-Jalvo, Y. Andrews, P., Sevilla, P. Requejo, V. (2014) Digestion vs abrasion features in rodent bones. Lethaia 47, 323-336.

CHAPTERS OF BOOKS, MONOGRAPHS, EDITORIALS (10 most relevant_Peer_reviewed).
1.Fernández-López, S.R. & Fernández-Jalvo, Y. (2002) The limit between biostratinomy and fossildiagenesis. In: En: Renzi de, M.; Pardo Alonso, M.V.; Belinchón, M.; Peñalver, E.; Montoya, P. & Márquez-Aliaga, A. (Eds) Current Topics on Taphonomy and Fossilization, 27-36.
2. Fernández-Jalvo, Y.; Sánchez Chillón, B, Andrews, P.; Fernández-López, S.& Alcalá Martínez, L. (2002).Morphological taphonomic transformations of fossil bones in continental environments, and repercussions on their chemical composition Archaeometry 44 (3), 353-361.
3. Fernández-Jalvo, Y. (2003) Taphonomy at Sierra de Atapuerca, Burgos (Spain). In: N. López-Martínez, P. Peláez-Campomanes y M. Hernández Fernández (Eds). Surrounding fossil mammals: dating, evolution and paleoenvirontment, Coloquios de Paleontología, Spacial Volume: Homage to Dr. R.Daams Madrid, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, 147-162 (English/Spanish).
4. Fernández-Jalvo, Y. & Andrews, P. (2003) Experimental effects of water abrasion on bone. Journal of Taphonomy 3, 147-163.
5. Fernández-Jalvo, Y et al (2004) Azokh Cave and Northern Armenia. In: Baquedano, E. & Rubio Jara, S (eds) Miscelánea en Homage to E.Aguirre, Volume IV: Arqueología. Alcalá de Henares, MAR, 158-168.
6. Y. Fernández Jalvo, et al. (2010) Chapter XVII. Azokh Caves excavations 2002-2006. Middle-Upper Palaeolithic transition in Nagorno-Karabagh In: LOBÓN-CERVÍA, J. y MORALES, J. (eds.): Homage to María Dolores Soria Mayor. Madrid, Monografías del CSIC: 325-338; 403-410.
7. Fernández-Jalvo, Y. Andrews, P. (2010). Taphonomy of the Human Remains from Tianyuandong In: Shang Hong and Trinkaus Erik (eds) Early Modern Human Biology in Eastern Asia: The Early Modern Human from Tianyuan Cave. Texas, College Station TX: Texas A&M University Press, 205-210.
8. Currant, A., Fernández-Jalvo, Y. Price, C. (2012) The large mammal remains of Vanguard Cave. In: Barton, N., Stringer, C., Finlayson, C. (Eds.) Neanderthals in Context Oxford, Oxford University School of Archaeology: Monograph 75, 236-239.
9. Cáceres, I. & Fernández-Jalvo, Y. (2012). Taphonomy of the fossil bone assemblages from the Middle Area in Vanguard Cave. In: Barton, N., Stringer, C., Finlayson, C. (Eds.) Neanderthals in Context. Oxford, Oxford University School of Archaeology: Monograph 75, 253-265.
10. Andrews, P. & Fernandez-Jalvo, Y. 2012. How to approach peri-mortem injury and other modifications. In L. Bell (Ed.) Forensic Microscopy for Skeletal Tissues: Methods and Protocols. Springer, The Netherlands


PROJECTS (summary: Participation in 27 projects, 21 International,11 as Principal Investigator). Projects last 10 years:
2002-2009-present. Field director excavations of Azokh Cave (Republic of Nagorno-Karabagh)and co-leader of scientific research of the international research group
2004-2006. I3 FP6 European Community Programme (SYNTHESYS_ RII3-CT-2003-506117)
2004-2006. NSF (National Science Foundation). Revealing hominids origins (RHOI)
2005-2008. Cancer and Human Evolutionary Research: An Integrative Science and Technology project (USA/ES)
2008-2010. Pollen Taphonomy Joint Project South Africa (NRF) and Spain (Ministry of Science and Innovation)
2010-2014. Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR) MOHMI. Influence de l'installation des hommes modernes au Maroc sur l'évolution de la biodiversité des petits vertébrés terrestres
2010-present. Project of Wonderwerk Cave (South Africa), small mammal taphonomy
2000-present. Principal Investigator of subsequent tri-annual Projects funded by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Education: BTE2000-1309, BTE2003-01552, BTE2007-66231, BTE2010-19825.


EVALUATION PANEL RESEARCH MEMBER for Research Projects and Fellowships of the Spanish National Evaluation Agency (1999-present), National Geographic (USA), Leakey Foundation (USA), Fundation Fyssen (France), European Research Council (ERC). REVIEWER ACTIVITY: PEER REVIEW PANEL MEMBER OF SCIENTIFIC JOURNALS: Journal of Human Evolution. Journal of Archaeological Science, South African Archaeological Bulletin, Coloquios de Paleontología (Bull. of the Spanish Association of Palaeontologists), American Journal of Physical Anthropology, Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology & Palaeoecology, Quaternary Science Reviews. Associate Editor of Journal of Human Evolution (2004-2008). Member of the Scientific Board: Journal of Taphonomy, 2003-present. y Geomorfología. Grupo Español Cuaternario (AEQUA) 2001-present. Archaeology and Palaeontology Research Archive (CAPRA): 1999-present


CONGRESSES summary: 45 attended, active participation in 40 congresses as Round table participant, President of the organizer committee, member of the scientific committee, invited for plenary conference, chairperson of scientific sessions, or Spanish representative in International Commissions and congresses. Invited conferences (last 10 years)
2003. Early Human Behaviour, Dietary Sources and Habitats. & Quaternary Deposits at The Lesser Caucasus, The Armenian Corridor (Granada, Spain). Climatic Change and dispersal dynamics in the early Pleistocene INQUA pre-congress
2003. Manoukian Cultural Centre Hall, St. Yeghiche Armenian Church, Cranley Gardens, London SW7. The Armenian Institute | Land & Culture Organisation: The Search for Early Humans in Armenia & Karabakh.
2004. Cannibalism and human evolution. University Menendez-Pidal (Ferrol, Galicia, Spain)
2005. Plenary Conference ; Vertebrate Taphonomy Museu de la Ciencia (Barcelona, Spain).
2006. Conference at the University of Zurich. Hominins of Atapuerca: Myths and Facts.
2006. Morphological and histological signatures of various taphonomic agents. Institut Jacques Monod CNRS (Paris, Francia)
2006. Round Table. Women in Science. «The Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales scientific women».
2007. Taphonomy : CSI of Palaeobiology. Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales (Spain). Organized by Women in Science Conference Sessions The Linneage of Isis
2007. Searching for our Caucasian ancestors: the site of Nagorno-Karabagh (Univ. Bourdeaux).
2008. 18th February. Innaugural Conference at the Congress: Jornadas de Geología (Planetario de Castellón)
2009. Azokh Caves: Past, Present and Future. House of the Parliament of Karabagh
2009. Cannibalism and other human behaviours. Museum of Natural History of Brussels.
2009. Burials without Burials. Human & Primate Evolution in Context: Univ. College of London
2010. Azokh Cave Site Formation. Invited Conference at the Workshop on Site Formation and Postdepositional Processes in Archaeology (Barcelona, Spain).
2014. Plenary conference. Taphonomy: to bias or not to bias. University of Ferrara


Doctoral Theses supervision (S), reporter/reader (R):
2000.(R) Frédéric Laudet. Université Montpellier II-Researcher_ at the Université de Toulouse
2000.(S) Gustavo Gómez. (Universidad Nacional del Centro, Olavarría, Argentina)-Lecturer at UNC_Olavarría
2001.(S) Claudia Montalvo. (Universidad de La Plata, Argentina)-CONICET Researcher, Lecturer University Pampa
2001.(R) M. Khalid El Guenouni Institut de Paléontologie Humaine. Paris, France.
2002.(S) Isabel Cáceres Cuello de Oro (Universidad Rovira i Virgili, Tarragona Spain)-Lecturer URV/IPHES
2006.(S) Mª Dolores Pesquero Fernández (Universidad Complutense de Madrid-UCM)-Researcher J. Cierva
2006.(S) Alejandro Pérez Ochoa. (Universidad Complutense de Madrid-UCM)- School director
2009.(R). Soledad Domingo Martínez (Universidad Complutense de Madrid-UCM)-Researcher J.Cierva
2009.(R). Emmanuelle Stoetzel. CNRS, Paris France-Fellowship research
2010.(R). María Benassar. (Universidad Rovira i Virgili, Tarragona Spain)
2011.(R). Constance Hanquet (Université Montpellier-Paul Valery, Francia)
2011 (R) Célimène Mussini (Université Bordeaux 1, Francia)
Masters and University Project supervisions:
1996.(S) Isabel Cáceres Cuello de Oro (Universidad Rovira i Virgili, Tarragona Spain)
1997.(R) Nuria Ibáñez. (Universidad Rovira i Virgili, Tarragona Spain)
2001.(R) Cristina Fernández Laso (Universidad Rovira i Virgili, Tarragona Spain)
2003.(S) Virginia Bessa Correia. (Universidad Complutense de Madrid-UCM)
2004.(S) Mariana Mondini and Sebastián Muñoz (Universidad Complutense de Madrid-UCM)- Lecturers at the University of Buenos Aires and University of Cordoba-CONICET, respectively.
2009.(S) Saleta Arcos, (Universidad Complutense de Madrid-UCM)
2010 (S) Amalia Cuadros, (Universidad Complutense de Madrid-UCM)
2011. (S) Virginia Requejo, (Universidad Complutense de Madrid-UCM)
Postdoctoral Supervisor: Dr. Colin Smith. Becas Marie Curie (EUMobility) 1 Mayo, 2002- 1 Mayo, 2004 -ARC Future Fellow La Trobe University, Australia Dr. Dolores Pesquero- Juan de la Cierva (MICINN) 2008-2011
Scientific Consultant of the Laboratory of small mammal taphonomy University of La Plata (Argentina) CONICET.


1984-1985. (INAPE) Student scholarship as assistant at the Department of Palaeontology, University Complutense of Madrid (UCM), under the supervision of Prof.Aguirre.
1986-1987. CSIC working contract at the Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales for 7 months.
1987, 1990 and 1992. Pre-Doctoral fellowships Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas (CSIC) Royal Society of London at the Natural History Museum under supervision of P.Andrews.
1988. "Smithsonian Institution Short Term Pre-doctoral Fellowship" under supervision of A.K.Behrensmeyer.
1989-1990. CSIC working contract during 9 months to co-ordinate the MNCN exhibition "Dinosaurs".
1990-1991. L.S.B. Leakey Foundation grant (funds for Ph.D.research)
1993-1994. Post-Doctoral fellowship in France (Institut des Sciences de l'Evolution, Montpellier) under supervision of C.Denys
1994-1996. Two years travel grant from the Joint Program "Alliance" British Council of Research-CNRS
1994-1996. L.S.B. Leakey Foundation grant for research with Prof.P.Andrews.
1995-1996. Post-Doctoral fellowship at the Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales of Madrid
1995-1997. Fyssen Foundation grant.
1996-1997. Research Assistant Working contract at MNCN
1997-1999. European Community Postdoctoral Fellowship (Training and Mobility- Research area: Environment).



  • 1997 the Atapuerca research team lead by E.Aguirre received the prestigious price Principe de Asturias of Science.
  • 2009 the research group of Azokh Cave project lead by Y.Fernández-Jalvo and T.King received the acknowledgement from the government of Nagorno-Karabagh to the scientific research and culture promotion-Presentation at the House of the Parliament.

1. Field director Gibraltar excavations of Vanguard Cave 1996; and Gorham's Cave, 2005.
2. Co-director at Armenia and Karabakh, survey seasons searching for new Pleistocene sites September-October, 1999. September-October, 2001.
3. Co-director of Scientific project and field director of Azokh Cave sites (Caucasus) 2002- present
4. Co-direction of taphonomic excavations at Langebaanwerg (South Africa) June, 2005.
5. Co-direction of joint field project of modern monitoring at Tswalu, 2008-present.
(From 1983 to 2001 Atapuerca-Spain; 1994 to 2005 Gibraltar sites; Field supervisor Tanzania, South Africa)


Ministerio de Ciencia e InnovaciónCSIC

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