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University Professor of Human Origins, George Washington University

I am a medically trained paleoanthropologist.

My research interests are all related in one way or another to a long-standing pre-occupation with hominin systematics. How can we improve our ability to recognize species in the fossil record, and how can we do a better job of reconstructing their phylogenetic relationships?

The initial focus of my research was the postcranial skeleton, but events beyond my control (see biography) pushed me in the direction of cranio-dental evidence and that is where most of my recent fossil-related research has been concentrated. I enjoy collaborating so the majority of my publications are with students, undergraduate and graduate, post-doctoral fellows and with other colleagues.

At the beginning of my career I was fortunate that Richard Leakey gave me the opportunity to be involved with research at what was then East Rudolf, now Koobi Fora, in northern Kenya.

My main contribution was the analysis of the fossil hominin cranial remains, but the opportunity to be part of the broader East Rudolf Research Project provided me with an invaluable exposure to the wide a range of disciplines that are needed to understand how landscapes and biota evolve.

It also introduced me to a group of incomparably talented colleagues from whom I have learned, and in some cases continue to learn, a great deal.


  • –present
    Professor of Human Origins, George Washington University