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Kent State’s Owen Lovejoy and Two Graduates to Be Featured in New PBS Series

Posted April 21, 2014
enter photo description
C. Owen Lovejoy, Ph.D., stands next
to the reconstructed skeleton of “Lucy,”
a near-complete fossil of a human
ancestor that walked upright 3.2 million
years ago.

A new PBS series called Your Inner Fish includes interviews with anthropology experts from Kent State University. C. Owen Lovejoy, Distinguished Professor of Human Evolutionary Studies at Kent State, as well as two Ph.D. graduates from Kent State’s School of Biomedical Sciences in the Biological Anthropology Program, Bruce Latimer and William Kimbel, are featured in the third installment of the series airing April 23.

The PBS special, which is based on the best-selling book by paleobiologist Neil Shubin, has three chapters: Your Inner Fish that debuted April 9, Your Inner Reptile that premiered April 16, and Your Inner Monkey, which will air April 23 at 10 p.m. locally on WVIZ/PBS ideastream and WNEO/Western Reserve Public Media. Viewers outside the Northeast Ohio region can check their local listings.

“Our interviews were filmed last year,” Lovejoy says. “The series is on transformative fossils. We’re a part of the ‘Your Inner Monkey’ program, and I talk about Ardipithecus ramidus.”

Ardipithecus ramidus, or “Ardi,” is the hominid species that lived 4.4 million years ago. It was unveiled by an international science team on Oct. 1, 2009, that included Lovejoy and Latimer. “Ardi” was named Breakthrough of the Year for 2009 by Science and its publisher, AAAS, the world’s largest science organization. Research findings on “Ardi,” which change the way we think about human evolution, were presented in 11 papers that appeared in the organization’s journal, Science. Lovejoy was first author on five papers and contributed to an additional three.

A resident of Kent, Ohio, Lovejoy has taught at Kent State for more than 40 years. He is an internationally recognized biological anthropologist who specializes in the study of human origins and recently was elected Chair of Anthropology for the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). He was elected to the NAS, one of the highest honors given to a scientist in the United States, in 2007 and serves as an editorial board member for its prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
Lovejoy is a widely published author, with nearly 150 articles about human evolution, forensics, demography, biomechanics and evolutionary theory. He holds the honor of being one of the Institute for Scientific Information’s (ISI) “Most Highly Cited” authors in the general social sciences.

Latimer is the founding director of Case Western Reserve University’s Center for Human Origins and a professor of orthodontics at Case’s School of Dental Medicine. He also holds adjunct appointments in anthropology, anatomy and cognitive science and is a founding fellow of Case’s Institute for the Science of Origins. He was previously executive director of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. His research involves the comparative anatomy and biomechanics of primates, particularly the origin of humans’ ability to walk upright, and has been published in Nature, Science and other influential journals. Latimer earned his Ph.D. in biomedical sciences at Kent State.

Kimbel is the director of Arizona State University’s Institute of Human Origins and the Virginia M. Ullman Professor of Natural History and the Environment in the ASU School of Human Evolution and Social Change. He conducts field, laboratory and theoretical research in paleoanthropology, with a primary focus on hominid evolution in Africa during the Pliocene and Pleistocene epochs. Kimbel earned his Ph.D. at Kent State and was an editor of the Journal of Human Evolution from 2003 to 2008. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

For more information about PBS’s Your Inner Fish, visit www.pbs.org/your-inner-fish.

For more information about Kent State’s Biological Anthropology program, visit www.kent.edu/biomedical/bioanthro.