Post-graduate research opportunities at the
West Coast Fossil Park

Applications are invited from suitably qualified students to do postgraduate (Honours, MSc and Post-doctoral) research projects focusing on the world-renowned vertebrate fossil occurrences at Langebaanweg, now the site of the West Coast Fossil Park. The studentships, which are supported by the African Origins Platform, are as follows;

Post Doctorate
R40 000 per annum for 1 year
R60 000 per annum for 2 years
R120 000 per annum for 2 years


For the Postdoctoral position, applicants are expected to hold a PhD in a relevant discipline, and to have preferably specialised in the Miocene/Pliocene of Africa.

At Honours or Masters level;

Earth Sciences graduates with an interest in the sedimentology, stratigraphy and geochemistry of the west coast coastal plain deposits.

Suggested project titles:
  • Sedimentology and palaeoenvironments of the Plio-Pleistocene Anyskop Member (Langebaan Fm) at Langebaanweg
  • Palaeogeography of the Early Pliocene Varswater Formation in the vicinity of Langebaanweg interpreted from outcrops, borehole cores and bulk samples
  • Mio-Pliocene phosphate rock occurrences on the Cape West Coast South Africa: geochemistry and depositional history of exposures in the West Coast Fossil Park, Langebaanweg

Life Sciences graduates who have an interest in one or more of the following fields; palaeoecology, African fossil mammalian communities, mammalian osteology and taxonomy, ancient diets, palynology.

Suggested project titles:
  • Analysis of the distribution of microfaunal remains in an Early Pliocene channel-hosted bonebed, Varswater Fm., Langebaanweg, South Africa.
  • Reconstructing the palaeodiet of some Langebaanweg murid species using dental microwear
  • Palaeopathology of the Langebaanweg carnivorans
  • Taxonomy and systematics of the Langebaanweg small carnivorans
  • Palaeoecology of the latest Miocene-earliest Pliocene carnivorans of Africa

Please Note:
Honours and Masters applicants must be South African citizens or permanent residents.
The post doctoral grant is open to all nationalities.

Please send a letter of motivation outlining your suitability for one of these bursaries, along with your CV to Dr Thalassa Matthews.

Phone: 021 4813877

AOP/WCFP Research Index:

Background: AOP/WCFP initiative

AOP/WCFP research projects

Post-graduate research opportunities

Research papers:

Niche partitioning in late Miocene/Early Pliocene hyenas

Morphological and trophic distinction in the dentitions of two early alcelaphine bovids

Contact details of the AOP/WCFP Team:

Roger Smith (Head):
Phone: 021 481 3879

Rebecca Ackermann
Phone 021 650 2353

John Compton:
Phone: 021 650 2931

Pippa Haarhoff:
Phone: 022 766 1606

Thalassa Matthews:
Phone: 021 481 3877

Dave Roberts:
Phone: 021 948 4754

Hamish Robertson:
Phone: 021 481 3849

Deano Stynder:
Phone: 021 481 3984