Biography: Bruce Latimer

Dr. Bruce Latimer is a paleoanthropologist at Case Western Reserve University. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from the University of Arizona at Tuscon, his MA in Anthropology from Case Western Reserve University and his Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences from Kent State University in 1988. Dr. C. Owen Lovejoy was his advisor. Dr. Latimer is currently Professor of Anthropology, Anatomy, and Cognitive Science at Case Western Reserve University, and the Director of the Institute for the Study of Origins at Case Western Reserve University. He has also been the Director of the Biological Program in the Department of Anatomy at Case Western Reserve University, the Curator of Physical Anthropology and the Executive Director of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, Adjunct Professor of Anthropology at Cleveland State University, Adjunct Professor of Biomedical Sciences at Kent State University, and Adjunct Professor in the Department of Medical Illustration at the Cleveland Institute of Art.

Dr. Latimer is an expert on the evolution of human locomotion. His dissertation was entitled Functional analysis of the Pliocene hominid ankle and pedal bones recovered from the Hadar formation, Ethiopia : 1874-1977 collections  and has written extensively on the physiological trade-offs associated with bipediality He was also a member of the international teams that discovered and described new species Australopithecus garhi (1999), Ardipithecus kadabba (2004), and Ardipithecus ramidus (2009). He works closely with Drs. Yohannes Haile-Selassie, Scott Simpson, and Linda Spurlock, Tim White, and C. Owen Lovejoy. He has also analyzed the Lucy fossils, and has argued that Australophithecus afarensis was an unequivocal habitual biped.

Dr. Latimer has been associated with the Cleveland Museum of Natural History since 1976 as a graduate student, and went on to become the Executive Director of the museum from 2001-2008. He is credited with doubling the working budget and expanding the museum’s infrastructure. He also worked to collaborate with the Western Reserve Historical Society, Cleveland Botanical Garden, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and the Holden Arboretum.

Dr. Latimer’s current research and fieldwork is on the human specimens discovered in the Manot Cave in West Galilee in Israel, part of a ten-year partnership with Israel Herskovitz at Tel Aviv University and the Ofer Marder at Ben-Gurion University of Negev. Located at the only land bridge connecting Africa, Europe, and Asia, the Manot Cave provides a unique look into the migration of early humans. He invites undergraduate and graduate students to excavations to gain fieldwork experience.