Public Release: 

Anthropologist given one of nation's top scientific honors

Kent State University

Kent State University Professor of Anthropology Dr. C. Owen Lovejoy, who is internationally recognized as one of today's preeminent biological anthropologists in the study of human origins, has been elected to membership in the prestigious National Academy of Sciences (NAS) for excellence in original scientific research.

"Dr. Lovejoy's pioneering research helped put Kent State on the academic map nationally and internationally, and his outstanding teaching has inspired many of our students to become top scientists in their own right," says Kent State President Lester A. Lefton. "Having this world-class scholar in our midst is a source of tremendous pride for the entire Kent State community and we are thrilled that Dr. Lovejoy's stellar career has been recognized with this rare and richly deserved honor."

Membership in the NAS is one of the highest honors given to a scientist in the United States. Past members include Albert Einstein, Robert Oppenheimer and Thomas Edison. Additionally, more than 170 members of the NAS have won the Nobel Prize. Lovejoy becomes the only new member elected this year from Ohio, only the 15th current member of the NAS from an Ohio institution, and only the second member among universities that participate in the Mid-American Conference.

"The academy is pleased to elect Dr. Lovejoy," says Maureen O'Leary, director of public information at the National Academies. "We look forward to his induction ceremony next April when he is introduced to his colleagues and signs the 'registry of membership' book that NAS members have signed since 1863."

Lovejoy reconstructed the skeleton of "Lucy" a near-complete fossil of a human ancestor that walked upright more than three million years ago. He also has been active in paleodemography and human origins modeling, including the theory that upright walking was closely tied to monogamous mating in early hominids.

Currently, Lovejoy is one of seven researchers examining a more ancient find, Ardipithecus ramidus, and he recently joined in the discovery and definition of a new species of hominid, Australopithecus garhi, a probable direct linear ancestor of modern humans.

In addition to teaching at Kent State for almost 30 years, Lovejoy is a clinical professor of anatomy at Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine, a research associate for the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, a technical advisor for the Cuyahoga County Coroner's Office in Cleveland, Ohio, and a member of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at Case Western Reserve University.

A widely published author with more than 100 articles in publications such as Science, Nature, Bioessays and Scientific American, Lovejoy serves on the editorial board for Anthropological Science. He also holds the honor of being one of the Institute for Scientific Information's "Most Highly Cited" authors in social sciences.

Lovejoy received a doctorate in biological anthropology from the University of Massachusetts, an M.A. in biological anthropology from the Case Institute of Technology, and a B.A. in psychology from Western Reserve University.


The National Academy of Sciences was established in 1863 by an act of congress establishing it as an official advisor to the federal government, to which it provides scientific and technological advice. Over the years, the academy has evolved to incorporate four distinguished organizations -- the National Academies of Science and Engineering, the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council. Known collectively as the National Academies, they perform an unparalleled public service by bringing together experts in all areas of scientific and technological endeavor. These experts serve as volunteers to address critical national issues and give unbiased advice to the federal government and the public.

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