Yohannes Haile-Selassie


Committee for Research and Exploration Grantee yohannes.jpg Photograph courtesy Cleveland Museum of Natural History Dr. Yohannes Haile-Selassie is curator and head of Physical Anthropology at The Cleveland Museum of Natural History. His main area of research is Plio-Miocene mammalian evolution with a focus on the origin of the earliest hominids and evolutionary history of early Australopithecus. Haile-Selassie is principal investigator of an active fieldwork project in Ethiopia, the Woranso-Mille paleontological project. Scientists from Ethiopia, Europe, and various institutions in the United States collaborate on a variety of subdisciplines of geology and paleontology. His collaborative fieldwork is shedding new light on the relationships among the earliest Australopithecus species and evolution of numerous extinct and extant mammalian taxa. As a member of the Middle Awash project (1993-2007), Haile-Selassie has discovered some of the most important hominid fossils known to science. Among these are the holotype of the 2.5-million-year-old Australopithecus garhi, the first pieces of the 4.4-million-year-old Ardipithecus ramidus partial skeleton, nicknamed “Ardi,” and fossil remains of the 5.8-million-year-old Ardipithecus kadabba. He has recently co-edited a monograph on the latter species, which he named in 2001. Haile-Selassie is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and fellow of the Institute for the Science of Origins at Case Western Reserve University. He is also adjunct professor in the Departments of Anthropology, Anatomy, and Cognitive Sciences at Case Western Reserve University, and adjunct professor in the Department of Biological, Geological, and Environmental Sciences at the Cleveland State University, where he teaches human evolution courses at both institutions. He serves as a member of the Evolutionary Biology Advisory Committee at Case Western Reserve University in addition to serving as a reviewer for numerous scientific journals and granting agencies. 

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Today in Lab History: Louis Leakey

On August 7, 1903, Louis Leakey was born in Kabete, British East Africa (now Kenya.) He became one of the most famous and influential paleoanthropologist and archeologist of all time. Not only did he help establish Africa as the birthplace of evolution, he inspired and championed many future scientists.

Some of the scientists he encouraged were family members, one of his sons, Colin, is a botanist while another, Richard, is a paleoanthropologist and his granddaughter is the paleontologist Louise Leakey. He also handpicked three women who would become the faces of primate research: Dian Fossey, Jane Goodall and Birutė Galdikas. They were known as the Trimates.

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February 6 - Today in Science History

Mary Douglas Leakey

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(source) Born 6 Feb 1913; died 9 Dec 1996 at age 83.
English archaeologist and paleoanthropologist (née Nicol) who made several of the most important fossil finds subsequently interpreted and publicized by her husband, the noted anthropologist Louis Leakey. For every vivid claim made by Louis about the origins of man, the supporting evidence tended to come from Mary’s scrupulous scientific approach. As “the woman who found our ancestors”, Mary’s work in East Africa shed new light on human evolution. After Louis’ death in 1972, she enjoyed her most spectacular find: three trails of fossilised hominid footprints 3.6 million years old, which she discovered at Laetoli in Tanzania (1978-9) showing man’s ancestors were walking upright at a much earlier period than previously believed.

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