Clive Finlayson#

Short laudatio by Jacques Blondel#

Professor Clive FINLAYSON was born in Gibraltar in 1955. He studied in Gibraltar before reading Zoology at the University of Liverpool where he graduated in 1976. Then he read for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (DPhil) at the University of Oxford which was award in 1980. Subsequently, in 1990, Clive obtained a Masters Degree in Museum studies from the University of Leicester. He has been Director of the Gibraltar Museum since 1991 and is Adjunct Professor at the University of Toronto.

Clive’s research interests include ornithology, evolutionary ecology, dynamics biogeography of bird populations, and paleoanthropology. His recent achievements included the co-direction of a multidisciplinary research looking at the Quaternary ecology of southern Iberia with species focus on the bird species and communities around the famous caves of Gibraltar which have been occupied for millennia by Neanderthals. Prof, Finlayson is also a fine anthropologist being specialized and well known in this field. He recently published a book at Oxford University Press entitled "Humans on the brink of extinction" (2009).

Clive has published widely in peer-reviewed journals including Science, Nature, Trends in Ecology and Evolution, Ibis, Quaternary Science Reviews etc.. He has written a number of books including Neanderthals and Modern Humans (2004, Cambridge Univ. Press) and Birds of the Strait of Gibraltar (1992, Academic Press).

I personally know Clive since many years and attended several conferences where he presented talks. He organised two superb symposia devoted to palaeoenvironments and the ecology of bird communities and humans around the Rock of Gibraltar in the late Pleistocene and Holocene. Clive is particularly interested in the natural environment, especially animal communities of the late Pleistocene which were astonishingly diverse in the strait of Gibraltar and which were an important component of the diet of early Humans, including Neanderthals. With his team, he excavated since several decades the famous caves of Gorham and Vanguard where Neanderthal fossils have been discovered and already extirpated more than 10,000 bones from more than two hundreds species of birds, mammals and reptiles.

Clive produced astonishing examples and reconstitutions of the natural environments and birds colonies around the Rock of Gibraltar in prehistoric times. He is a specialist of the links between the ecology of animals and that of early humans.

The list of Finlayson’s publications will give a good idea of the broad range of his fields of interest and the excellence of his research as well as his skilfulness to communicate.

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