Saturday, March 17, 2007

Howell was anthropology pioneer at Berkeley

Howell was anthropology pioneer at Berkeley
Professor unearthed fossil of early human ancestor.
Article Launched: 03/14/2007 05:54:45 PM PDT

BERKELEY - F. Clark Howell, a UC Berkeley anthropologist who unearthed important fossil evidence of human evolution and was regarded as a peacemaker in an often contentious field, has died of cancer at his Berkeley home, according to university spokeswoman Shirley Wong. He was 81.

Howell led expeditions into Spain, Hungary, Turkey and Ethiopia, among other places. In a series of seven expeditions to Ethiopia between 1967 and 1973, he led a team of anthropologists to one of the most important finds of the 20th Century. The discovery of australopithecenes suggested the human lineage stretched back at least 4 million years old - about 2 million years longer than previously thought.

"Clark worked tirelessly to advance the science," said Tim D. White, a colleague of Howell's at UC Berkeley. "He shared his knowledge and wisdom with everybody, a generosity unparalleled in paleoanthropology."

He was also remembered for encouraging young Ethiopian paleontologists, many of whom earned their doctorates under him at Berkeley.

Howell was "a genuine advocate for the advancement of Africans and paleoanthropological research in Africa. We will carry on with his ideals for advancing indigenous research and development in Africa," said Giday Woldegabriel, an Ethiopian-born anthropologist who is now based at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Howell is survived by his wife, Betty Ann; a son, Brian David Howell, of Berkeley; and a daughter, Jennifer Clare Howell of McMinnville, Ore.

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