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Professor Emeritus of Biological Anthropology, University of Oxford

Professor Vernon Reynolds graduated in Anthropology from London University in 1959. He then went on to do a PhD on the social life of rhesus monkeys. After that he obtained a scholarship enabling him to undertake research on wild chimpanzees in 1962. With his wife Frankie he visited Uganda in 1990, exploring the western forests for a good site to study wild chimpanzees. They settled on the Budongo Forest Reserve and spent a year in the forest observing the chimps. On return to the UK, Prof Reynolds wrote his first book “Budongo: a forest and its chimpanzees” (1965). He also published a number of papers in scientific journals and books.

In 1966 he obtained his first academic job, as Lecturer in Anthropology in the Dept. of Sociology at Bristol University. Following that, in 1972, he obtained a University Lecturership in Biological Anthropology at Oxford University, where he spent the rest of his university career, becoming Professor of Biological Anthropology and a Fellow of Magdalen College.

By 1990 Uganda had returned to peace after 15 years of civil war, and Vernon returned to the country where he established the Budongo Conservation Field Station in the middle of the Budongo Forest. The field station continues to this day ( as a Ugandan NGO under the leadership of Dr Fred Babweteera.

Prof Reynolds retired from full time appointment at Oxford University in 2001 but has been continuing to do research on the Budongo chimps ever since, and has written “The Chimpanzees of the Budongo Forest” published by Oxford University Press in 2005.


  • –present
    Professor Emeritus of Biological Anthropology, University of Oxford


Chairman's Award, National Geographic Society; President's Award, American Society of Primatologists