Timothy D. White received his PhD from the University of Michigan and concerned himself with integrative biology, physical anthropology, and human evolutionary studies. He is a man who wears many hats: He has performed many important roles relating to his profession as a highly recognized anthropologist and has made significant contributions to hominid evolution. In addition, he is a professor at the renowned University of California at Berkeley, a curator for a museum, and a gifted researcher who is connected with the study of fossils relating to early primates. He is also associated with the Laboratory for Human Evolutionary Studies, which is an international center for research and training. It is thus quite understandable that his professional activities have brought him national and international recognition as a distinguished contributory scholar.
Dr. White is primarily interested in human evolution. He emphasizes fieldwork in his research and attempts to secure information about early hominid skeletal remains. For a long time Dr. White has pursued his quest for professional knowledge in East Africa, where he and his associates have analyzed early fossils for the valuable information that they can provide about our past. He has worked with a team conducting investigations relating to studies of his interest and their efforts have been quite successful.
White has made at least three important discoveries and findings: Ardipithecus ramidus, famous for its historical ancestry; Australopithecus garhi, where stone tools were found with the fossils; and at the end of the 1990s, Dr. White discovered three Homo sapiens skulls. The discovery of the stone tools with Australopithecus garhi is valuable because it relates to the eating habits of early primates and may have affected their physical development. His research has also suggested that primates used tools more than 2 million years ago.
White’s discoveries are important for a number of reasons but certainly because of what they have revealed about the early origins of mankind. Of course, they also have value in that they create interest in his subject matter for others and encourage scholars and research specialists to pursue additional study about the subject.
- White, T. D. (1991). Human osteology. San Diego: Academic Press.
- White, T. D. (1992). Prehistoric cannibalism at Mancos. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
- White, T. D. (2000). A view on the science: Physical anthropology and the millennium. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 113, 287-292.
- White, T. D. (2003). Early hominids—Diversity or distortion? Science, 299, 1994-1996.
- White, T. D., Asfaw, B., DeGusta, D., Tilbert, H., Richards, G. D., Suwa, G. & Howell, F. C. (2003). Pleistocene Homo sapiens from Middle Awash, Ethiopia. Nature, 423, 742-747.