Photo by: Purwo Kuncoro

Irven DeVore: 1934-2014

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Irven DeVore. Photo from The Leakey Foundation Archive

The world is made less joyful with the recent passing of Dr. Irven DeVore. He passed away on Tuesday, September 23, 2014 from heart failure.

Irv joined The Leakey Foundation as a Trustee in 1974 and served until 1978. He became Co-Chair of the Scientific Executive Committee in 1980 and was later honored with the title of SEC Emeritus, joining his colleagues Clark Howell and Philip Tobias.

Irv was professor of biological anthropology at Harvard University. He began his fieldwork in 1959 studying the behavior and ecology of free ranging baboons in Kenya. Beginning in 1963, Irv directed studies of the !Kung San of Botswana which led to the publication of two books, Kalahari Hunter Gatherers and Man the Hunter. He went on to co-direct a long term study of the Efe (pygmy hunter-gathers) and Lese (horticultural villagers) of Zaire.  

This obituary from the Boston Globe beautifully describes Irv, along with his rigorous scholarship, nurturing mentorship, humor and insatiable zest for life. He will be dearly missed by all of us at The Leakey Foundation.

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The Annual Review of Anthropology presents Irven DeVore, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at Harvard University, in conversation with Peter Ellison, Professor of Anthropology and Human Evolutionary Biology, also at Harvard University.

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