American palaeoanthropologist best known for multidisciplinary studies of human evolution. Born in Kansas City, Missouri, he grew up on a farm before joining the US Navy during WW2. Here he developed an interest in palaeoanthropology which he pursued through undergraduate and postgraduate studies at the University of Chicago. After a brief spell at Washington University he returned to teach at Chicago in 1955. In 1970 he was appointed Professor of Anthropology at the University of California at Berkeley, where he remained until retirement in 1991. He was a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a recipient of the Charles Darwin Award for Lifetime Achievement in Physical Anthropology. Major fieldwork projects in the Omo region of Ethiopia, at Yarimburgaz, Turkey, and at Ambrona, Spain, involved multidisciplinary teams and provided new insights into processes of human evolution and the emergence of hunter‐gatherer societies during the middle Pleistocene. Among key publications are Ecology and human evolution (1963, London: Methuen) and Early man (1965, Amsterdam: Time‐Life).
The Independent, 29 March 2007