American Philosophical Society
Member History

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Residency
International (2)
Resident (1)
Class
2. Biological Sciences[X]
Subdivision
203. Evolution & Ecology, Systematics, Population Genetics, Paleontology, and Physical Anthropology[X]
1Name:  Dr. Meave Leakey
 Institution:  Stony Brook University
 Year Elected:  2017
 Class:  2. Biological Sciences
 Subdivision:  203. Evolution & Ecology, Systematics, Population Genetics, Paleontology, and Physical Anthropology
 Residency:  International
 Living? :   Living
 Birth Date:  1942
   
 
I have always had an interest in natural history and rocks, a pastime much encouraged by my parents. After completing my Zoology degree at the University of North Wales in 1965, I was invited by Louis Leakey to work at the Tigoni Primate Research Centre outside Nairobi, Kenya. Here, in my limited spare time and under the supervision of the animal mechanics specialist Prof. McNeil Alexander, at the University of North Wales my limited spare time, I studied the forelimbs of modern cercopithecoids in the excellent collections of the research centre. I completed my PhD in 1968. In 1969, I began working with Richard Leakey exploring the extensive area of fossiliferous deposits on the eastern shores of Lake Turkana, northern Kenya, which at that time had never before been prospected for fossils or archaeological remains. The Koobi For a Research Project (KFRP) field research has continued to this day, initially under Richard Leakey, after 1989 under my leadership, and more recently co-led with my daughter Louise. The fifty years of fieldwork in the Turkana Basin, exploring the thousands of square kilometers of exposed fossiliferous sediments for evidence of origins of our past, has resulted in large paleontological collections documenting much of the Neogene, but is particularly well known for laying the foundation of our current knowledge of our own evolutionary past. Today, together with Louise, I continue to direct the KFRP annual field expeditions. In 1995 the project recovered and named Australopithecus anamensis, the earliest known australopithecine, and the earliest secure evidence of bipedality. In 1999, we discovered and named Kenyanthropus platyops, showing diversity in humanity's past 3.5 million years ago. Sponsored by the National Geographic Society, the KFRP continues to recover new fossils showing diversity in the human family tree even earlier in time. Working with numerous colleagues from many disciplines, I have published widely. I am a National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence, a Research Professor at Stony Brook University and Director of Field Research at the Turkana Basin Institute (TBI), an interdisciplinary research institute with stations to the east and west of Lake Turkana. In addition to promoting and facilitating research, TBI provides training and research opportunities, and brings employment and development benefits to local communities, while increasing awareness among the local people of their unique prehistoric heritage in this vast area. My awards include: The Academy of Achievements Award, USA in 2004, my election as an Honorary Fellow of the Geological Society of London, 2011, as a Foreign Associate National Academy of Sciences 2013, and as a Fellow of the African Academy of Sciences 2013. In 2014, I was awarded the National Geographic Society Hubbard Medal. A large part of my successes are due to the invaluable support and efforts of the hard working KFRP field crew, my many colleagues and my wonderful family. --- Meave Leakey is also the author of The Sediments of Time which was published in 2020.
 
2Name:  Dr. Leif Andersson
 Institution:  Uppsala University; Texas A&M University; Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
 Year Elected:  2017
 Class:  2. Biological Sciences
 Subdivision:  203. Evolution & Ecology, Systematics, Population Genetics, Paleontology, and Physical Anthropology
 Residency:  International
 Living? :   Living
 Birth Date:  1954
   
 
Leif Andersson is the world’s leading authority on the genomic study of the origin and selected traits of domestic animals, and for his pioneering work he received the prestigious international Wolf Prize in 2014. He has repeatedly discovered what happens genetically when animal breeders apply artificial selection to domestic animals and choose particular traits for enhancement. These traits include fat deposition in pigs, the color of wattles and skin in chickens, and coat coloration and gait locomotion in horses. Genetic understanding has aided further selection programs. This work is the best modern manifestation of Charles Darwin’s pioneering study of Variation under Domestication. Truly Darwinian in outlook, Leif Andersson has expanded his genomic research program into problems of understanding evolution in nature, including the breeding of Baltic Sea herring, the size of rabbits, the peculiar mating system of a colorful shorebird, and size and shape of the beaks of Darwin’s finches. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences in 2018.
 
3Name:  Dr. Neil H. Shubin
 Institution:  University of Chicago
 Year Elected:  2017
 Class:  2. Biological Sciences
 Subdivision:  203. Evolution & Ecology, Systematics, Population Genetics, Paleontology, and Physical Anthropology
 Residency:  Resident
 Living? :   Living
 Birth Date:  1960
   
 
Neil Shubin is a scientist, administrator, and writer. Throughout his career, he has been interested in understanding the great transitions of evolution. Leading expeditions around the globe in search of critical intermediate fossils, he has discovered fossil evidence for the origins of terrestrial vertebrates, mammals, frogs, salamanders and other major groups of animals. He also has revealed genetic and developmental mechanisms for these changes by using comparative laboratory-based approaches on modern animals. Linking studies of gene sequence, regulation and function with those of embryology and anatomy, Shubin has revealed deep similarities among different organs that tell of their origins. Educated at Columbia, Harvard and the University of California at Berkeley, Shubin has held faculty positions at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Chicago, where he currently holds the Robert R. Bensley Distinguished Service Professorship in Anatomy. He has held administrative positions at the University of Chicago (Departmental Chair, Associate Dean, and Senior Advisor to the President), The Field Museum (Provost) and the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole (Co-Director). He is the author of: Your Inner Fish, The Universe Within, and Some Assembly Required. The former won the Phi Betta Kappa Science Book Prize and the National Academy of Sciences Scientific Communication Award. Shubin has also received the Distinguished Explorer's Award of the Roy Chapman Andrews Society. Your Inner Fish appeared on PBS as a three-part miniseries. Produced by Tangled Bank Studios of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute it won numerous awards, in eluding an Emmy. Shubin is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the National Academy of Sciences. He was elected to the American Philosophical Society in 2017.
 
Election Year
2017[X]