Rolf Quam is a paleoanthropologist whose research focuses on evolutionary aspects of the temporal bone, mandible and teeth in our fossil human ancestors. In particular he has been actively involved in reconstructing the hearing capacities in fossil humans. This marks the first time that an aspect of sensory perception has been reconstructed in our fossil human ancestors, and this line of research represents a new approach to one of the oldest questions in human evolutionary studies: the emergence of language.
He also participates in the ongoing fieldwork being carried out at the Pleistocene locality of Atapuerca in northern Spain. These sites contain some of the richest human fossil bearing deposits in the world and have recently yielded the oldest human fossil ever found in Europe. During the course of his research, he has personally studied a wide diversity of original human fossils from Europe, the Middle East and Africa.