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Welcome: John Mitani and Terry Harrison have joined the SEC

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We are pleased to announce the addition of two esteemed scientists as the newest members of our Scientific Executive Committee (SEC): Terry Harrison and John Mitani. We’d like to welcome them to the Committee and thank them for their essential contribution to our mission. The SEC is the heart of the Leakey Foundation’s scientific direction. It consists of a group of scientists chosen to review all grant applications and outside peer reviews to provide the Board of Trustees with recommendations for grant awards. These outstanding paleoanthropologists, archaeologists, primatologists, geologists, and leaders in related fields, serve on the SEC on a volunteer basis.


Terry Harrison is Professor and Chair of Anthropology at NYU. He is the Director of NYU’s Center for the Study of Human Origins. He received both his B.Sc. and Ph.D from University College London.Dr. Harrison is a biological anthropologist specializing in primate and human paleontology, evolutionary morphology, and paleoecology. His broader research interests include the evolutionary history of hominoids and cercopithecoids, and the comparative anatomy and functional morphology of primates.

His recent research has focused on the evolution and paleobiology of the Miocene and Pliocene hominoids from Africa and Eurasia, including the earliest hominins.Ongoing collaborative projects include: Miocene fossil hominoids from China, the vertebral column of Proconsul from the early Miocene of East Africa; the paleobiology of fossil hominoids from the Miocene of Africa; late Miocene cercopithecids from the Siwalik Hills of Indo-Pakistan; and the impact of global and regional climatic change, island biogeography, and human subsistence activities on the mammalian community of Borneo over the past 40,000 years.

He has extensive paleontological fieldwork experience in Europe, East Africa, and Asia, and he is currently directing a major field program at the mid-Pliocene site of Laetoli in Tanzania focusing on new fossil hominin finds, as well as analyses of the associated fauna and flora. He is also developing new programs of field research at late Miocene localities in China.


John Mitani is the James N. Spuhler Collegiate Professor and Associate Chair of Anthropology at the University of Michigan. He has a B.A degree from UC Berkeley, a Ph.D from UC Davis, and conducted postdoctoral research at the Rockefeller University.He is a primate behavioral ecologist who investigates the behavior of our closest living relatives, the apes. His current research involves studies of an extremely large community of wild chimpanzees at Ngogo, Kibale National Park, Uganda.

During the past 33 years, he has conducted fieldwork on the behavior of all five species of apes: gibbons and orangutans in Indonesia, gorillas in Rwanda, bonobos in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and chimpanzees in Uganda and Tanzania. In his work, he addresses questions about ape social behavior and communication.He has served as an Editor of Animal Behaviour and on the editorial board of the American Journal of Primatology. He currently editsAdvances in the Study of Behavior and is on the editorial boards of the International Journal of Primatology and Primates.

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