Maurice Taieb

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Maurice Taieb
Born 1935 (age 78–79)

Maurice Taieb, (born 1935) is a French geologist and paleoanthropologist who discovered the Hadar[disambiguation needed] formation, recognised its potential importance to paleoanthropology and founded the International Afar Research Expedition (IARE). This enabled co-director Donald Johanson to discover the 3.2 million year old Australopithecine fossil Lucy fossil in the Awash Valley of Ethiopia's Afar Depression.

Taieb is currently Director of Research for the National Centre for Scientific Research (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique) (CNRS), at the European Centre of Research and Teaching of Geosciences of the Environment (Centre Européen de Recherche et d'Enseignement de Géosciences de l'Environnement) (CEREGE), in Aix-en-Provence.

Early life[edit]

Taieb was born in Tunisia in 1935 to a Tunisian father and a French mother. He travelled though the African outback with his uncle, a merchant who traded with the Bedouin on the outskirts of Tunis. He received his doctorate from the University of Paris VI in 1974, with a thesis on the geology of the Awash River basin.

Taieb started his geological exploration of the Afar region of Ethiopia in 1966 by Landrover and donkey, discovered the Hadar fossil fields in 1968, founded the IARE in 1972, and was present when Donald Johanson discovered fossil fragments of Lucy in 1974.

Taieb, along with co-directors of IARE Donald Johanson and Yves Coppens played a key role in identifying the geology and history of the Afar region, which has yielded hominid specimens back to 6 million years old. His investigations of the Afar region were challenged by the extreme harshness of the desert environment, famine, conflicts with local tribesmen, such as the Issa, the prolonged political strife including the closure by the Derg government during the 1980s in the fallout from a ‘grave robbing’ incident between them and Don Johanson, plus ongoing hostilities between militias.

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