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William H. Kimbel

As the Director of the Institute of Human Origins, William Kimbel’s expertise is in evolutionary anthropology and paleoanthropology.

For more than 30 years, Kimbel has conducted research on Australopithecus and early Homo in Africa, Neanderthals in the Middle East, the evolution of hominin skull form and function, and concepts of biological systematics as applied to paleoanthropological problems. Since 1990, he has codirected or directed research at the Hadar hominin site in the Afar region of Ethiopia. Kimbel is also a Virginia M. Ullman Professor of Natural History and the Environment in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change. He is a founding member of the Afar Rift Valley Research Consortium, a group working on a region-wide understanding of human evolution and its contexts. Kimbel was elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2005.

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In the news

We look backward for a unique package of characteristics that we recognize as human. But how many evolved at the same time and how many were acquired piecemeal? Did changes in the brain and teeth evolve together or were they acquired over time? These are pressing issues that we still don’t have the answers to.

— William Kimbel, PBS