Dr. Ian Tattersall

Curator Emeritus, Division of Anthropology 
Professor Emeritus, Richard Gilder Graduate School

American Museum of Natural History


• PhD, Yale University

* MPhil, Yale University

* MA, Cambridge University

* BA, Cambridge University


An expert in paleoanthropology, primatology, evolutionary biology, and evolutionary theory, Dr. Tattersall is an authority on the biology and evolution of the primates of Madagascar, including his namesake lemur, Propithicus tattersalli, the golden-crowned sifaka. In addition to Madagascar, he has conducted fieldwork in the Comoro Islands, Mauritius, Borneo, Nigeria, Niger, Sudan, Yemen, Vietnam, Surinam, French Guiana, Reunion, and the United States.

Over the past several years Dr. Tattersall has been researching how and when Homo sapiens became the extraordinary cognitive entity it is. Dr. Tattersall is developing a framework for understanding how a nonlinguistic, nonsymbolic ancestor gave rise to a symbolic and linguistic descendant, a topic explored in Masters of the Planet: The Search for Our Human Origins (2012).

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