Eugène Dubois chair 2024

Paleontologist Fred Spoor appointed as 7th Eugène Dubois chair at Maastricht University

Dr. Fred Spoor, an expert on human evolution affiliated with the Natural History Museum, London, has been appointed as the Eugène Dubois chair for the year 2024. 

Professor Spoor (1959) was born in South Limburg and trained as a biologist and mammal paleontologist at Utrecht University. Spoor is one of the pioneers of using CT imaging in the study of early hominin fossils. The Eugène Dubois rotating chair is hosted at the Faculty of Science and Engineering.

From Kenyanthropus platyops to Homo erectus

There are some striking resemblances between the career paths of Eugène Dubois and Fred Spoor: similar to Dubois, Spoor has spent years teaching medical human anatomy, and he has also been closely involved with the scientific study of early members of the human evolutionary tree: from Kenyanthropus platyops to Homo erectus, the species first discovered by Dubois. In his studies of early hominins, Spoor works closely with the research team of the Leakey family, and has undertaken fieldwork in the Turkana basin in Kenya. He is an expert on the evolution of the middle and inner ear of hominoids, which houses organs for hearing and balance.

Fred Spoor is a frequently sought-after expert on human evolution for the media and the general public. His work was recently featured by the Dutch broadcaster VPRO and has been featured on the front page of major international news publications such as the New York Times and the Washington Post.

About the Eugène Dubois Chair

The special “Eugène Dubois Rotating Chair” has been hosted at Maastricht University since 2015. Every year, the appointed chair teaches at the University and gives public lectures through the university’s Studium Generale programme, the Eugène Dubois Foundation, and other venues. 

In previous years, professors Frans de Waal, Mark Stoneking, Carel van Schaik, Katerina Harvati, Josė Joordens and Tijs Goldschmidt have occupied the chair.

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