Dr. Elwyn L. Simons is primarily interested in the
history, general biology, and behavior of living and extinct primates. His primary research concerns focus on the early evolution of anthropoids in the late Eocene and early Oligocene of the Fayum Depression, Egypt; the paleoecology, dating, taphonomy, anatomy, and relationships of extinct placentals from these sites; dating, extinctions, anatomy, and relationships of giant subfossil lemurs of Madagascar; behavioral and conservation studies of extant Malagasy lemurs; the evolutionary history and relationships of middle and late Tertiary apes, as well as Plio-Pleistocene
hominids. Dr. Simons has led over 70 field expeditions to Egypt, Madagascar, India, Iran, Nepal, and Wyoming.
He has held professional appointments at Yale
University (1960-1977), Duke University (1977-
present), and was the Director of the Duke Primate
Center (1977-1991) and Scientific Director (1991-
2001). He has authored nearly 300 scientific
publications and is the holder of many high honors. Dr. Simons is a member of the United States National Academy of Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, as well as many other professional associations. He was elected a “Knight of the National Order” by the government of Madagascar and has been the recipient of many awards including the prestigious Charles R.
Darwin Award for Lifetime Achievement from the
American Association of Physical Anthropologists.