Henry Gee

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Henry Gee
Henry Gee, December 2008 cropped.jpg
Henry Gee (2008)
Henry Ernest Gee

(1962-04-24) 24 April 1962 (age 60)
EducationSevenoaks School
Michael Hall school
Alma mater
AwardsEuropean Science Fiction Society's Best Publisher Award (2005)
Scientific career
Evolutionary biology
ThesisBovidae from the Pleistocene of Britain (1990)

Henry Ernest Gee (born 24 April 1962 in London, England)[citation needed] is a British paleontologist, evolutionary biologist and senior editor of the scientific journal Nature.[1][2][3]

Early life and education[edit]

Gee attended Sevenoaks School as a boarder.[citation needed] He then[when?] attended the Michael Hall School.[4] He earned a Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Leeds and completed his PhD at the University of Cambridge in 1990 as a postgraduate student of Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge.[5] His doctoral research investigated the evolution of bison in Britain in the Ice Age.[5][4]


Gee joined Nature as a reporter in 1987 and is now Senior Editor, Biological Sciences.[6] He has published a number of books, including[7][8][9] In Search of Deep Time (1999),[10][11] A Field Guide to Dinosaurs (illustrated by Luis Rey) (2003) and Jacob's Ladder (2004).

The Accidental Species, a book on human evolution, was published by the University of Chicago Press in October 2013.[12][13] According to Stephen Cave (author of Immortality: The Quest to Live Forever and How It Drives Civilisation), Gee writes, "persuasively," that "our obsession with our uniqueness is folly.... We... believe we are so exceptional... that we are the pinnacle of evolution. But this is a misunderstanding: we are just one twig in the thicket, and we could easily have never sprouted at all."[14]

In addition to his professional activities, Gee is a blues musician and a Tolkienist.[13] He was the editor of Mallorn, the journal of the Tolkien Society, for nine issues (2008–13).[6] His science fiction trilogy The Sigil, previously available in draft form online, was published by ReAnimus Press in August and September 2012.[15][16][17]

On 17 January 2014, Gee revealed the identity of pseudonymous science blogger, Dr. Isis on Twitter.[18] Dr. Isis was an open critic of the scientific journal Nature, where Gee is a senior editor. Nature released a statement on the matter.[19]

His book, A (Very) Short History of Life on Earth, won the 2022 Royal Society Science Books Prize.[20]

Personal life[edit]

Residence is in Cromer.


Gee's publications include:[21]

  • 1996: Before the Backbone: Views on the Origin of the Vertebrates New York: Springer Science+Business Media. ISBN 0-412-48300-9. ISBN 978-0-412-48300-4.
  • 1999: In Search of Deep Time: Beyond the Fossil Record to a New History of Life. Sacramento: Comstock Publishing. Hardcover: ISBN 0-684-85421-X. Paperback: ISBN 0-8014-8713-7.
  • 2001: (second edition) Deep Time: Cladistics, the Revolution in Evolution. ISBN 1-85702-987-9.
  • 2003: A Field Guide To Dinosaurs: The Essential Handbook For Travelers in the Mesozoic. Illustrations by Luis Rey. Hauppage: Barron's Educational Series. ISBN 0-7641-5511-3.
  • 2004: Jacob's Ladder: The History of the Human Genome. New York: W. W. Norton & Company. ISBN 0-393-05083-1.
  • 2004: The Science of Middle-Earth: Explaining The Science Behind The Greatest Fantasy Epic Ever Told! Cold Spring Harbor: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press. 2004 hardcover: ISBN 1-59360-023-2. 2005 paperback: ISBN 0-285-63723-1. (Reviewed in The Guardian)[22]
  • 2008: (ed.) Futures from Nature. New York: Tor Books. ISBN 0-7653-1805-9.
  • 2013: The Accidental Species: MISUNDERSTANDINGS OF HUMAN EVOLUTION Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-0226284880. (Reviewed in The Daily Telegraph)[23]
  • 2014: (ed. with Colin Sullivan) Nature Futures 2. New York: Tor Books. ISBN 978-1-4668-7998-0.
  • 2017: Across the Bridge: Understanding the Origin of the Vertebrates Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-0-226-40286-4
  • 2021: A (Very) Short History of Life on Earth: 4.6 Billion Years in 12 Pithy Chapters Pan Macmillan. ISBN 978-1250276650


  1. ^ Nature. "About the editors". Henry Gee, Senior Editor, Biology, London. Education: BSc, University of Leeds; PhD, University of Cambridge. Areas of responsibility include: aspects of integrative and comparative biology (including palaeontology, evolutionary developmental biology, taxonomy and systematics), archaeology and biomechanics.
  2. ^ Henry Gee at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database
  3. ^ Articles by Henry Gee at The Guardian
  4. ^ a b Sale, Jonathan (16 June 2005). "'I was 516th Goblin and a Female Troll'; An education in the life of Henry Gee, writer, scientist and Middle Earth boffin". The Independent. ProQuest 310813267.
  5. ^ a b Gee, Henry Ernest (1990). Bovidae from the Pleistocene of Britain. lib.cam.ac.uk (PhD thesis). University of Cambridge. OCLC 53501319. EThOS uk.bl.ethos.385371.
  6. ^ a b "Henry Gee's profile". Nature Network. 2011. Archived from the original on 21 November 2011. Retrieved 9 December 2011.
  7. ^ Northcutt, R. Glenn (1 January 1996). Gee, Henry (ed.). "Heads and Tails". Science. 274 (5293): 1629. Bibcode:1996Sci...274.1629G. doi:10.1126/science.274.5293.1629a. JSTOR 2890927.
  8. ^ Gans, Carl (1 January 1997). "Review of Before the Backbone: Views on the Origin of the Vertebrates". American Zoologist. 37 (4): 433–434. doi:10.1093/icb/37.4.433. JSTOR 3884031.
  9. ^ Horder, T. J. (1 January 1998). Gee, Henry; Bowler, Peter J.; Nyhart, Lynn K. (eds.). "Why do Scientists Need to be Historians?". The Quarterly Review of Biology. 73 (2): 175–187. doi:10.1086/420184. JSTOR 3036559. S2CID 85669111.
  10. ^ Campbell, Anthony (2001). "Book review: In Search of Deep Time". Retrieved 1 September 2011. Henry Gee, who is now Senior Editor of Nature, was a witness of this turmoil because he was working at the museum as a student in the 1970s, when he got to know the chief actors in the drama. He remains convinced that the science of cladistics is a vital intellectual tool for our understanding of what he calls Deep Time, to distinguish it from ordinary historical time, which he sees as being qualitatively as well as quantitatively different.
  11. ^ Vines, Gail (8 April 2000). "Sorry, but are we related?". The Independent. ProQuest 311638032.
  12. ^ "Accidental Species". University of Chicago Press. 2013. Retrieved 3 January 2014.
  13. ^ a b "A new book challenges the common view of human evolution". The Washington Post. 25 November 2013. ProQuest 1461911495.
  14. ^ Cave, Stephen (8 February 2014). "The Human Touch". Financial Times. ProQuest 1505387176.
  15. ^ "Siege of Stars at ISFDB". Retrieved 26 February 2020.
  16. ^ "Scourge of Stars at ISFDB". Retrieved 26 February 2020.
  17. ^ "Rage of Stars at ISFDB". Retrieved 26 February 2020.
  18. ^ Lecher, Colin. "Why Did This Top Science Journal Editor Expose A Blogger's Pen Name?".
  19. ^ "Internet Archive Capture of Press release archive: About NPG". www.nature.com. Archived from the original on 24 January 2014. Retrieved 1 October 2020.
  20. ^ "'A (Very) Short History of Life on Earth' wins Royal Society Science Book Prize". Books+Publishing. 30 November 2022. Retrieved 1 December 2022.
  21. ^ Henry Gee's ORCID 0000-0002-9363-7654
  22. ^ Alok, Jha (19 May 2005). "The Science of Middle-earth". The Guardian. ProQuest 244248031.
  23. ^ "The Accidental Species (book review)". The Daily Telegraph. 1 December 2013. ProQuest 1462697783.

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