TIM D. WHITE, a paleontologist, and U.C. Berkeley Professor, is primarily interested in human evolution in all its dimensions. His research emphasizes fieldwork designed to acquire new data on early hominid skeletal biology, environmental context, and behavior. He has worked on hominids spanning the Pliocene and Pleistocene, from phylogenetic and functional perspectives. In parallel with this research, but in a more behavioral realm, he has investigated bone modification in the Pleistocene of the Old World and in the Holocene Southwest United States. Research underway includes fieldwork in Ethiopia and Turkey, and laboratory studies in both countries and in Berkeley.
White is co-director of the Middle Awash project, the world's largest and most successful scientific research effort into human origins and evolution. Comprising more than 50 PhD level scientists from 14 countries, the team is widely respected for its research contributions, and funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation. The team's discoveries are routinely published in the world's top science journals (Science and Nature) and extensively reported in the international media. The latest in the team's string of revolutionary findings—amazing discoveries of human ancestor fossils in the remote and desolate Afar depression of eastern Ethiopia—have captured the world's imagination.
He has co-led the Ethiopian research for 22 years. Before that he worked with the Leakeys and Don Johanson, forging an international reputation based on an unparalleled set of fossil discoveries spread across the last six million years. He is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Science, and the author of two scientific books.