Research Scientist and Section Head, Palaeobiology

Kathy Stewart.

Contact Information

Tel: 613.364.4051
Fax: 613.364.4027

Kathlyn Stewart collects and studies fossils of fish, bird and mammal bones from across Canada and Eastern Africa to better understand what life was like for these long-dead animals.


  • Evolution, distribution and environment of Neogene aquatic faunas in Africa.
  • Reconstruction of Holocene faunas and environments in Canada.
  • Hominin evolution, behaviour and subsistence patterns.


  • Ph.D., University of Toronto (Archaeology/Palaeontology), 1989.


Kathlyn Stewart collects and studies fossils of fish, bird and mammal bones from across Canada and Eastern Africa to better understand what life was like for these long-dead animals and what evolutionary forces shaped their existence. Her research provides insight into the environment of these creatures, including their interactions with humans.

Over the course of her 30 years as a palaeobiologist, Kathlyn has named 10 species of fossil fish, joined several fossil expeditions to eastern Africa, authored and edited numerous scientific papers and books, founded Canadian Zooarchaeology, which she continues to co-edit in addition to the journal Syllogeus, and held adjunct professorships at the Universities of Victoria, Toronto and Trent. She joined the Canadian Museum of Nature in 1991.

Main Research Projects

Professional Services

  • Adjunct Professor, University of Victoria
  • Founder and Co-Editor, Canadian Zooarchaeology.
  • Zooarchaeological identification (identification and/or analysis of subfossil or fossil bones by contract).


Canadian Zooarchaeology


Stewart, K.M. and A.M. Murray. 2013. Earliest Fish Remains from the Lake Malawi Basin, Malawi, and Biogeographical Implications. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 33, 3:532-539.

Stewart, Kathlyn. 2013. Review of The Archaeology North Pacific Fisheries, edited by Madonna L. Moss and Aubrey Cannon. American Antiquity 78(1):201-202.

Stewart, K.M. 2012. Early hominin use of freshwater environments and food resources as a buffer to environmental instability. Abstract. Journal of Human Evolution.

Stewart, K.M. 2011. Pre-sapiens hominins, brain growth and the exploitation of freshwater environments. Abstract. Peer-reviewed and published in American Association of Physical Anthropologists Abstracts, March 2011.

Willerton, I. M. and K.M. Stewart. 2011. Subsistence at Sicanel: The Willows Beach Site and the Culture History of Southeastern Vancouver Island. Canadian Zooarchaeology 27: 3-25.

Stewart, K.M. 2010. The case for exploitation of wetlands environments and foods by pre-sapiens hominins. In Human Brain Evolution: The Influence of Freshwater and Marine Foods, pp 137-173. Wiley Publishing.

Stewart, K.M. and S.C. Cunnane. 2010. Introduction. In Human Brain Evolution: The Influence of Freshwater and Marine Foods, pp xiii-xvii. Wiley Publishing.

Cunnane, S.C. and K.M. Stewart, Eds. 2010. (Monograph). Human Brain Evolution: the importance of freshwater and marine foods. Wiley Publishing, 213 pages.

Cunnane, S.C. and K.M. Stewart. 2010. Human Brain Evolution: A New Wetlands Scenario, pp 203-209. Wiley Publishing.

Coupland, G.C., Stewart , K.M. and K. Patton. 2010. Do you never get tired of salmon?  Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 29, 2:189-207.

Stewart, K.M., Stewart, F.L., and G.C. Coupland. 2009. Boardwalk, northern Northwest Coast, Canada - a new face to an old site. Canadian Journal of Archaeology 35:205-233.

Robbins, L.H., Cambell, A.C., Murphy, M.L., Brook, G.A., Mabuse, A.A., Hitchcock, R.H., Babutsi, G., Mmolawa, M., Stewart, K.M., Steele, T.E., Klein, R.G. and Appleton, C.C. (2009). Mogapelwa: Archaeology, Paleoenvironment and Oral Traditions at Lake Ngami, Botswana. South African Archaeological Bulletin 64(189): 13-32.

Stewart, K.M. (2009). Fossil fish from the Nile and its Southern Basins. pp 677-704 In Dumont, H.J. (ed), The Nile: Origin, Environments, Limnology and Human Use. Series: Monographiae Biologicae 89, Springer, Netherlands.

Woldegabriel, G., Ambrose, S.H., Barboni, D., Bonnefille, R., Bremond, L., Currie, B., Degusta, D., Hart, W.K., Murray, A.M., Renne, P.R., Jolly-Saad, M.C., Stewart, K.M. and White, T.D. (2009). The Geological, Isotopic, Botanical, Invertebrate and Lower Vertebrate Surroundings of Ardipithecus ramidus. Science 326: 5949.

Stewart, K.M. and Murray, A.M. (2008). Fish Remains from the Plio-Pleistocene Shungura formation, Omo River Basin, Ethiopia. Geobios 41 :283-295.

Cunnane, S.C., Plourde, M., Stewart, K. and Crawford, M.A. (2007). Docosahexaenoic Acid and Shore-Based Diets in Hominin Encephalization: A Rebuttal. American Journal of Human Biology 19(4): 578-581.

Yellen, J, Brooks, A, Helgren, D, Tappen, M, Ambrose, A, Bonnefille, R, Feathers, J, Goodfriend, G, Ludwig, K, Renne, P, Stewart, K. (2005). The Archaeology of Aduma Middle Stone Age Sites in the Awash Valley, Ethiopia. Paleoanthropology 11: 25-105.

Harington, C.R., Ross, R.L.M., Mathewes, R.W., Stewart, K.M. and Beattie, O. (2004). A Late Pleistocene Steller Sea Lion (Eumetopias jubatus) from Courtenay, British Columbia: Its Death, Associated Biota and Paleoenvironment. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences 41(11): 1285-1297.

Stewart, K.M. (2004). Senga 5a Fish Fauna Revisited. Archaeofauna 13: 145-154.

Stewart, K.M. (2003). Fossil Fish Remains from Mio-Pliocene Deposits at Lothagam, Kenya. pp. 75-115 In Leakey, M.G. and Harris, J.M. (eds.) Lothagam: The Dawn of Humanity in Eastern Africa. Columbia University Press, New York 678 pp.

Stewart, K.M. (2003). Fossil Fish Remains from the Pliocene Kanapoi Site, Kenya. Contributions in Science 498: 21-39.

Stewart, K.M. (2003). Effects of Screen Size on Fish Element Recovery in Northern Northwest Coast Middens. pp. 53-64 In Stewart, K.M. and Stewart, F.L. (eds.), Transitions in Zooarchaeology, Canadian Museum of Nature, Ottawa.

Stewart, K.M. and Stewart, F.L. (eds.) (2003). Transitions in Zooarchaeology. Canadian Zooarchaeology Supplement 1. Canadian Museum of Nature, Ottawa. 148 pp.

Stewart, K.M. and Wigen, R.J. (2003). Screen Size and the Need for Reinterpretation: A Case Study from the Northwest Coast. Bulletin of the Florida Museum of Natural History 44(1): 27-34.

Murray, A.M. and Stewart, K.M. (2002). Phylogenetic Relationships of the African Genera Alestes and Brycinus (Teleostei, Characiformes, Alestidae). Canadian Journal of Zoology 80: 1887-1899.

Stewart, K.M. (2002). Past and Present Zooarchaeology in Canada. Archaeofauna 11: 147-157.

Stewart, K.M. (2001). The Freshwater Fish of Neogene Africa (Miocene-Pleistocene): Systematics and Biogeography. Fish and Fisheries 2: 177-230.

Stewart, K.M. and Stewart, F.L. (2001). Prehistoric Subsistence and Seasonality at Prince Rupert Harbour: History and Synthesis of Zooarchaeological Research. pp. 173-202 In Cybulski, J.S. (ed.), Perspectives on Northern Northwest Coast Prehistory. Canadian Museum of Civilization, Archaeological Survey of Canada, Mercury Series Paper 160, 281 pp.

Robbins, L.H., Murphy, M.L., Brook, G.A., Ivester, A.H., Campbell, A.C., Klein, R.G., Milo, R.G., Stewart, K.M., Downey, W.S., Stevens, N.J. (2000). Archaeology, Palaeoenvironment, and Chronology of the Tsodilo Hills White Paintings Rock Shelter, Northwest Kalahari Desert, Botswana. Journal of Archaeological Science 27(11): 1085-1113.

Gifford-Gonzalez, D.P., Stewart, K.M., and Rybczynski, N. (1999). Human Activities and Site Formation at Modern Lake Margin Foraging Camps in Kenya. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 18: 397-440.

Murray, A.M. and Stewart, K.M. (1999). A New Species of Fossil Tilapiine Cichlid from the Middle Awash, Ethiopia. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 19(2): 293-301.

Stewart, K.M., Leblanc, L., Matthiesen, D. and West, J. (1999). Microfaunal Remains from a Modern East African Raptor Roost: Patterning and Implications for Fossil Bone Scatters. Paleobiology 25(4): 483-503.

Stewart, K.M., Gifford-Gonzalez, D.P. and Rybczynski, N. (1998). Characteristics of Modern Foraging Camps and their Faunas from Lake Turkana, Kenya. Anthropozoologia 25-26: 763-766.

Stewart, K.M. (1997). A New Species of Sindacharax (Teleostei:Characidae) from Lothagam, Kenya and Some Implications for the Genus. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology: 17(1):34-38.

Stewart, K.M. (1997). Fossil Fish from Manonga Valley, Tanzania: Description, Paleoecology and Biogeographic Relationships. pp.334-351 In Harrison, T. (ed.), Neogene Paleontology of the Manonga Valley, Tanzania. Plenum Press, New York.

Stewart, K.M., Matthiesen, D.P., Leblanc, L. and West, J. (1997). Prey Diversity and Selectivity of the African Fish Eagle: Data from a Roost in Northern Kenya. African Journal of Ecology 35: 133-145.

Leakey, M.G., Feibel, C.S., Bernor, R.L., Cerling, T.E., Harris, J.M., McDougall, I., Stewart, K.M., Walker, A., Werdelin, L., and A.J. Winkler. (1996). Lothagam: A Record of Faunal Change in the Late Miocene of East Africa. Journal of Vertebrate Palaeontology16(3):156-170.

Robbins, L.H., Murphy, M.L., Stevens, N.J., Brook, G.A., Ivester, A., Haberyan, K.A., Klein, R.G., Milo, R., Stewart, K.M., Matthiesen, D.G. and Winkler, A.J. (1996). Paleoenvironment and Archaeology of Drotsky's Cave: Western Kalahari Desert Botswana. Journal of Archaeological Science 23: 7-22.

Rybczynski, N., Gifford-Gonzalez, D.P. and Stewart, K.M. (1996). The Ethnoarchaeology of Reptile Remains at a Lake Turkana Occupation Site, Kenya. Journal of Archaeological Science 23: 863-867.

Stewart, K.M. (1996). A Report on the Fish Remains from Beds I and II Sites, Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania. pp. 263-269 In Kaupia - Darmstadter Beitrage zur Naturgeschichte. Vol 6. Hessisches Landesmuseum, Darmstadt.

Stewart, K.M. and Seymour, K. (eds.) (1996). Paleoecology and Paleoenvironments of Late Cenozoic Mammals. University of Toronto Press. 675 pp.

Stewart, F.L. and Stewart, K.M. (1996). The Boardwalk and Grassy Bay Sites: Patterns of Seasonality and Subsistence at Prince Rupert Harbour, BC. Canadian Journal of Archaeology 20: 39-60.

Brooks, A.S., Cramer, J.S., Franklin, A., de Heinzelin, J., Helgren, D.M., Hornyak, W., Keating, J.M., Klein, R.G., Rink, W.J., Schwarcz, H., Smith, J.N.L., Stewart, K.M., Todd, N., Verniers, J. and Yellen, J. (1995). Dating and Context of Three Middle Stone Age Sites with Bone Points in the Upper Semliki Valley, Zaire. Science 268: 548-553.

Marshall, F.B. and Stewart, K.M. (1995). Hunting, Fishing and Herding Pastoralists of Western Kenya: The Fauna from Gogo Falls. Archaeozoologia 7(1): 7-29.

Yellen, J.E., Brooks, A.S., Cornelissen, E., Mehlman, M., and Stewart, K. (1995). A Middle Stone Age Worked Bone Industry from Katanda, Semliki Valley, Zaire. Science 268: 553-556.

Nadel, D., Danin, A., Werker, E., Schick, T., Kislev, M.E. and Stewart, K.M. (1994). Nineteen Thousand Years Old Carbonized Twisted Fibres from Ohalo II, Israel. Current Anthropology 35(4): 451-458.

Oliver, J.S., Sikes, N.E. and Stewart, K.M. (eds.) (1994). Early Hominid Behavioural Ecology. Academic Press, London.

Robbins, L.H., Murphy, M.L., Stewart, K.M., Campbell, A.C. and Brook, G.A. (1994). Barbed Bone Points, Paleoenvironment, and the Prehistory of Fish Exploitation in the Western Kalahari Desert, Botswana. Journal of Field Archaeology 21(2): 257-264.

Stewart, K.M. (1994). A Late Miocene Fish Fauna from Lothagam, Kenya. Journal of Vertebrate Palaeontology 14(4): 592-594.

Stewart, K.M. (1994). Early Hominid Utilisation of Fish Resources and the Implications for Seasonality and Behaviour. Journal of Human Evolution 27: 229-245.

Stewart, K.M. and Gifford-Gonzalez, D.P. (1994). An Ethnoarchaeological Contribution to Identifying Hominid Fish Processing Sites. Journal of Archaeological Science 21(2): 237-248.

Boaz, N.T., Bernor, R.L., Cooke, H.B.S., Dechamps, R., de Heinzelin, J., Harris, J.W.K., Gentry, A.W., Meyland, P., Pavlakis, P.P., Sanders, W.J., Stewart, K.M., Verniers, J., Williamson, P.G. and Winkler, A.J. (1992). A New Evaluation of the Palaeoanthropological, Palaeontological, and Geological Significance of the Late Neogene Lusso Beds (Upper Semliki Valley, Zaire). Journal of Human Evolution 22(6): 505-519.

Stewart, K.M. (1991). Modern Fishbone Assemblages at Lake Turkana, Kenya: A Methodology to Aid in Recognition of Hominid Fish Utilisation. Journal of Archaeological Science 18(5): 579-603.

Stewart, K.M., Stevens, N.J. and Robbins, L.H. (1991). Fish and Reptiles from the Tsodilo Hills White Paintings Rock Shelter, Botswana. Nyame Akuma 35: 11-17.

Harris, J.W.K., Williamson, P.G., Morris, P.J., de Heinzelin, J., Verniers, J., Helgren, D., Bellomo, R.V., Laden, G., Spang, T.W., Stewart, K.M. and Tappen, M.J. (1990). Archaeology of the Lusso Beds. Pp. 237-273 In Boaz, N.T. (ed.), Evolution of Environments and Hominidae in the African Western Rift Valley. Virginia Museum of Natural History Memoirs 1.

Stewart, K.M. (1990). Fossil Fish Remains from the Lusso Formation. pp. 141-163 In Boaz, N.T. (ed.), Evolution of Environments and Hominidae in the African Western Rift Valley. Virginia Museum of Natural History Memoirs 1.

Stewart, K.M. (1989). Fishing Sites of North and East Africa in the Late Pleistocene and Holocene. Cambridge Monographs in African Archaeology 34, BAR International Series 521.

Stewart, K.M. (1988). Changes in Condition and Maturation of the Oreochromis niloticus L. Population of Ferguson's Gulf, Lake Turkana, Kenya. Journal of Fish Biology 33: 181-188.

Harris, J.W.K., Williamson, P.G., Verniers, J., Tappen M.J., Stewart, K.M., Helgren, D., de Heinzelin, J., Boaz, N.T. and Bellomo, R.V. (1987). Late Pliocene Hominid Occupation in Central Africa: The Setting, Context, and Character of the Senga 5A site, Zaire. Journal of Human Evolution 16(7/8): 701-729.