Gen Suwa

Gen Suwa graduated from the Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, The University of Tokyo, and received his Ph.D. in anthropology at the University of California at Berkeley. His doctoral research involved the comparative analysis of the Plio-Pleistocene hominid fossils of the Omo Valley, Ethiopia. This study clarified to what extent the emergence and differentiation of the Homo and robust Australopithecus lineages could be evaluated by the available fossil record. Since the late 1980s, initially based at the Primate Research Institute, Kyoto University, and more recently at the University Museum, the University of Tokyo, he has promoted paleoanthropological research in Ethiopia, including field work at the Konso and Chorora Formation areas and the Middle Awash Valley. Activities include: 1) clarifying the emergence and development of the early Acheulean (handaxe) technology, 2) participating in the discovery and interpretation of the 4.4 Ma Ardipithecus ramidus, and 3) discovering and naming the 8 Ma fossil ape Chororapithecus abyssinicus, a probable relative of the gorilla. Field work is ongoing aiming to help fill the last major gap in the fossil record regarding human origins. Since the 1990s, he has pioneered in the application of micro-ct technology to the morphological analysis of hominid fossils.