John Hawks is a star in the field of paleoanthropology. The recent discovery of Homo naledi and subsequent publications about the find have raised the profile of this dynamic thinker and researcher.
The Homo naledi find brought together scientists for what was one of the most exciting, challenging, and groundbreaking excavations in the history of paleoanthropology. Hawks was a member of the team that engineered the extraction of the fossils from the Rising Start Cave system using a team of carefully selected cave experts. The extraction of the fossils was a feat of engineering never before seen in archeology.
The result of this difficult work was the naming of a new species and a wave of publicity surrounding Homo naledi that propelled paleoanthropology into the international spotlight.
For Hawks, this groundbreaking discovery is just one part of his research and writing. He might just be one of world’s most closely followed researchers, due in part to his nearly daily blog posts about his work and studies. The generosity with which Hawks shares his ideas and the clarity of his thinking has led to a huge following. People are not only attracted to his ideas but his excitement about anthropology. One cannot read his blog without becoming interested in the origins of mankind. He is an ambassador for his field and one of the UW’s biggest stars.