Phillip V. Tobias (1925–2012)

Science  27 Jul 2012:
Vol. 337, Issue 6093, pp. 423
DOI: 10.1126/science.1225988

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In his 1888 Royal Society remembrance, Thomas Huxley noted that Charles Darwin might have become a physician but for his professor whose anatomy lectures were “as dull as he was himself.” Evolutionary biology has much to thank for Darwin's inadequate medical instruction. Thankfully for human evolutionary studies, the opposite happened at South Africa's University of the Witwatersrand (“Wits”), where Phillip Tobias was inspired by the anatomist Raymond Dart. In his words, for more than 40 years, Dart was “a kind of father figure and surrogate academic parent to me.” Tobias went on to become legendary for research, scholarship, principles, and educational impacts. Africa has now lost one of her greatest scientists.