Photo by: Purwo Kuncoro

Humans of Anthropology

Five-time Leakey Foundation grantee Eric Delson with his former graduate student Katerina Harvati, and her students. From left: Judith Beier, Eric Delson, Hannes Rathmann, Katerina Harvati, Hugo Reyes-Centino, and Abel Bosman.

Science is a collaborative endeavor and long-term projects require the work of multiple generations of researchers. At the 2019 meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists, The Leakey Foundation set out to document the academic “families” of biological anthropology.

With support from donors, The Leakey Foundation has been providing research grants since 1968 and educational fellowships since 1978. The Anthropology Portrait Project, generously funded by Leakey Foundation Executive Director, Sharal Camisa, illustrates the impact of Leakey Foundation grants over time. “Mentorship is fundamental to growth in most professions, especially science,” said Camisa, “Collaboration is critical to the advancement of knowledge. This project symbolizes a multigenerational and multidisciplinary approach to human origins research and underscores the value of mentorship and collaboration.”

People who received their first grants from The Leakey Foundation decades ago have now mentored several “generations” of scientists who have gone on to receive Leakey Foundation grants of their own.

Leakey Foundation Baldwin Fellow and grantee Berhane Asfaw with his mentee Yohannes Haile-Selassie who has received multiple Leakey Foundation grants.

This project is focused on the relationships between mentors and mentees, as well as collaborative groups like labs and long-term field research projects. Some portraits are of individual scientists.

The next phase of this project will be a series of interviews and articles on mentorship and collaboration.


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All donations will be matched by Ann and Gordon Getty.




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It is with profound sadness that I share the news of Barry Sterling's death on July 26th at his home in Sebastopol, California. He was 90 years old. Barry was elected to The Leakey Foundation Board of Trustees in 1991 and received the honorary title of Life Trustee in 2007.