South Africa

Phillip Tobias

1987 Balzan Prize for Physical Anthropology

Phillip Tobias is one of the outstanding leaders in the field of physical anthropology. His studies of human fossils, conducted mainly in South Africa, have greatly enriched our knowledge of the prehistoric development of mankind, from our early ancestors, Australopithecus, to Homo habilis, Homo erectus, and Homo sapiens. His work has also thrown much light on the evolution of the size and capabilities of the human brain.

Phillip V. Tobias was born in Durban, Natal, South Africa on 14th October 1925 (†2012).

He studied at Witwatersrand University and in 1946 he started part-time teaching and in 1951 full-time teaching at Witwatersrand;

Travelling fellowships, postdoctoral studies, visiting and honorary professorships, in numerous universities, such as Cambridge, Vienna, Florence, Palma de Mallorca, Pennsylvania, Chicago and a number of other U.S. universities, several southern African universities.

Professor of Anatomy and Human Biology (1959-1993), Head of Anatomy Department (1959-1990), director of Palaeo-anthropological research at the University of Witwatersrand (1966-1996), Director of Sterkfontein Research Unit (1999- ), Dean of the Faculty of Medicine (1980-1982) and since 1994 Professor Emeritus and Honorary Professorial Research Fellow.

Fellow of the Royal Society, London; Foreign Associate, N.A.S., USA; Honorary Fellow of Royal Society of South Africa (President, 1970-1972); Honorary Fellow of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland; Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, London; Foreign Member, American Philosophical Society; Foreign Honorary Member, American Academy of Arts and Sciences; Hon. Life Member of the South African Association for the Advancement of Science; Hon. Life Member, International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences; many other national and international honorary memberships; recipient of 18 honorary doctorates and equivalent awards from universities in Canada, U.S.A., Brazil, United Kingdom, France, Spain, Italy, Czech Republic, Israel, South Africa.

Civil Honours and Decorations: Order of Meritorious Service and Order of the Southern Cross (South Africa), Commandeur de l’Ordre national du mérite (France), Commendatore dell ‘Ordine Al Merito della Repubblica Italiana (Italy), Honorary Cross for Science and Arts, First Class (Austria).(February 2002)

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