Patrick Randolph-Quinney

Reader in Biological and Forensic Anthropology, University of Central Lancashire

Dr Patrick Randolph-Quinney is a biological anthropologist from the University of the Central Lancashire, Preston, UK, where he is Programme Leader for the MSc in Forensic Anthropology.

He has a background in palaeoanthropology and archaeology, and spent much of his early academic life working on the biological and cultural evolution of the genus Homo during the Middle Pleistocene, a critical period that precedes the evolution of our own species and the advent of modern behaviours. He was co-director of field operations at Makapansgat, Limpopo, with a focus on landscape and cave archaeology during the last 500,000 years. In recent years he has been working in the field of forensic anthropology and human identification.

He has also continued research into the human evolutionary process, working at the sites of Malapa and Rising Star in South Africa. His role in the Rising Star project has been to apply skillsets derived from forensic casework (having worked on homicides, fatal fires and mass graves from war crimes) to the deep past; using the skills from modern forensic taphonomy to understand the context, decompositional environment and mortuary behaviours of Homo naledi.

His research also encompasses the effects of disease and trauma on the skeleton, and he has most recently coordinated multi-disciplinary research teams investigating the earliest evidence for neoplastic disease (both tumours and cancers) in the hominin fossil record. He is currently supervising four PhD projects looking at differing aspects of the forensic and palaeosciences.

His forensic research focuses on aspects of human identification. His main forensic specialisation is taphonomy (peri and post-mortem processes) with an emphasis on sub-surface burial processes, trauma analysis, and the recovery and analysis of burnt human remains.


  • 2017–present
    Reader in Biological and Forensic Anthropology, School of Forensic and Applied Sciences, University of Central Lancashire
  • 2016–2017
    Senior Lecturer in Biological and Forensic Anthropology, School of Forensic and Applied Sciences, University of Central Lancashire
  • 2012–2016
    Lecturer in Anatomy, School of Anatomical Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand
  • 2007–2012
    Lecturer in Forensic Anthropology, Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification, University of Dundee


  • 2004 
    University of Liverpool, PhD Palaeoanthropology
  • 1993 
    University of Bradford, BSc (Hons) Archaeological Sciences


  • 2016
    Osteogenic spinal tumor in Australopithecus sediba: Earliest evidence for neoplasia in the human lineage, South African Journal of Science 112 (7/8).
  • 2016
    Earliest hominin cancer: 1.7 million year old osteosarcoma from Swartkrans Cave, South Africa, South African Journal of Science. 112 (7/8).
  • 2016
    Multi-modal spatial mapping and visualisation of Dianeldi Chamber and Rising Star Cave, South African Journal of Science 112 (5/6).
  • 2015
    Geological and taphonomic context for the new hominin species Homo naledi from the Dinaledi Chamber, South Africa, eLife 4 e09561.