News Release: People, Research, Teaching

Mar. 30,  2009

Anthropologist Honored with Lifetime Achievement Award

News Article ImageGeorge Armelagos in the classroom

Renowned anthropologist and Emory University professor George Armelagos has won the 2008 Charles R. Darwin Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (AAPA).

"The Charles R. Darwin Award is given to our most distinguished members. The recipients are like a 'who's who' of the most prominent people in the field," said Fred Smith, president of the AAPA, who will present the award April 3 in Chicago, during the group's annual meeting.

"George was one of a small core of pioneers who actually developed the modern approach to what we call bioarcheology – the study of skeletal remains of past human populations. He has had an impact throughout the world on using skeletal analysis to shed insights on behaviors, health status and other aspects of past populations," Smith said.

"One of the other things that he has excelled at is mentoring excellent students," Smith added. "He has trained a number of top-flight bioarcheologists who have made significant contributions in their own right."

During his 15 years at Emory, as department chair and Goodrich C. White Professor, Armelagos has helped solidify the university's reputation as a national leader in the interdisciplinary, bio-cultural approach to anthropology.

"It's a big honor," Armelagos said of the award. "The great thing is that it's coming on the 150th anniversary of the publication of 'The Origin of Species.'"

Armelagos' studies of evolution and human diet have been especially revolutionary, and can provide clues to today's paradox of feast and famine: while parts of the world suffer from an obesity epidemic, other regions are plagued with starvation.

Earlier, Armelagos received the American Anthropological Association's 2008 Franz Boas Award for Exemplary Service to Anthropology. The career achievement award is the highest honor given by the AAA, with previous winners including the likes of Margaret Mead.

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