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Mireya Mayor

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Mireya Mayor (born 1973) is an American anthropologist, primatologist, and wildlife correspondent for National Geographic, part of a research expedition that discovered a new species of lemur, considered the world’s smallest primate.[1][2] She has co-written several scientific papers on lemur species,[3] and has been referred to as the "female Indiana Jones."[4][5]

Early life and education[edit]

Mayor, born in 1973, grew up in Miami and was raised by her mother, grandmother, and aunt, who had emigrated to the U.S. from Cuba in 1965.[6][7] Her mother, a nurse, would not allow her to join the Girl Scouts, saying it was too dangerous.[8]

She studied at the University of Miami where she obtained her bachelor's degree in anthropology and philosophy,[9] and for four years was a cheerleader for the NFL Miami Dolphins.[4]

Mayor, a Fulbright Scholar and a National Science Foundation fellow, earned her PhD in anthropology from Stony Brook University in New York in 2008.[10][11]


In 1999, Mayor was hired as the first female wildlife correspondent for the National Geographic series Ultimate Explorer. Two episodes she hosted, "Girl Power" and "Into the Lost World", received Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Science, Technology and Nature Programming.[9]

On a 2001 expedition in Madagascar, she was part of a research group who described a new species of mouse lemur, Microcebus mittermeieri, or Mittermeier's mouse lemur,[6][12] after Russell Mittermeier, the president of green group Conservation International and a renowned field primatologist.[2][1] Mayor told NPR in an 2015 interview that following the discovery, she persuaded the prime minister of Madagascar to declare the mouse lemur's habitat a national park.[13]

In 2009, she was cast in the Mark Burnett-produced miniseries Expedition Africa on the History Channel, which retraced H.M. Stanley's expedition through Tanzania to find David Livingstone.[14]

In 2019, she was cast in the Travel Channel documentary series Expedition Bigfoot, in which she and other wildlife researchers spent three weeks in the Pacific Northwest searching for evidence that Bigfoot exists.[15] The first season aired in January 2020 and in 2022 was in its third season.[16]

In October 2019, Mayor began to direct the Exploration and Science Communications Initiative at Florida International University.[7][11]

In September 2022, she was the subject of the children's book, "Just Wild Enough: Mireya Mayor, Primatologist".[17]

Personal life[edit]

Mireya Mayor has six children, five from her first marriage and one with her second husband, Phil Fairclough, who is an executive producer.[8]

In 2018, her home was in Great Falls, Virginia.[6]



  1. ^ a b "Dr. Mireya Mayor". USASEF. Retrieved 2021-01-25.
  2. ^ a b "Three new lemur species found in Africa". NBC News. Retrieved 2021-01-25.
  3. ^ Mayor, Mireya. "List of Scientific Papers". Research Gate.
  4. ^ a b "Adventures of the 'female Indiana Jones'". www.cnn.com. Retrieved 2022-10-24.
  5. ^ Mireya Mayor, Primatologist/Conservationist Information, Facts, News, Photos - National Geographic
  6. ^ a b c Harnett, Cindy E. (2018-11-08). "African wildlife discovery helped launch career of Mireya Mayor". Times Colonist. Retrieved 2019-05-01.
  7. ^ a b Adkins, JoAnn. "National Geographic Explorer Mireya Mayor joins FIU". FIU News. Retrieved 2022-10-24.
  8. ^ a b Lee, Luaine; Service, Tribune News. "Explorer Mireya Mayor treks into the unknown with 'Expedition Bigfoot'". www.theday.com. Retrieved 2022-10-25.
  9. ^ a b Brazil, Ben (2018-09-20). "'Female Indiana Jones' to launch 2019 National Geographic Live speaker series at Barclay". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2019-05-01.
  10. ^ "Mireya Mayor '08 Featured in Hispanic Heritage Month Panel Sponsored by the NSF". Pat Wright Lab - Stony Brook University. Retrieved 2022-10-24.
  11. ^ a b Communications, Florida International University-Digital. "Mireya Mayor". case.fiu.edu. Retrieved 2022-06-20.
  12. ^ Mittermeier, R.; Ganzhorn, J.; Konstant, W.; Glander, K.; Tattersall, I.; Groves, C.; Rylands, A.; Hapke, A.; Ratsimbazafy, J.; Mayor, M.; Louis, E.; Rumpler, Y.; Schwitzer, C. & Rasoloarison, R. (December 2008). "Lemur Diversity in Madagascar" (PDF). International Journal of Primatology. 29 (6): 1607–1656. doi:10.1007/s10764-008-9317-y. hdl:10161/6237. S2CID 17614597.
  13. ^ Hajek, Danny (3 January 2015). "Trading Pom-Poms For Field Boots: Mireya Mayor's Big Break". All Things Considered. NPR. Retrieved 10 February 2021.
  14. ^ Carter, Bill (21 May 2009). "Exploring Africa to Find Riches in Ratings". The New York Times. Retrieved 9 February 2021.
  15. ^ Weisberger, Mindy (8 December 2019). "'Expedition Bigfoot' Scours Oregon Woods for Signs of the Mythical and Elusive Beast". Live Science. Retrieved 10 February 2021.
  16. ^ "Episodes". Travel Channel. Retrieved 2022-10-24.
  17. ^ Magellan, Marta (2022-09-22). Just Wild Enough: Mireya Mayor, Primatologist. Albert Whitman & Company. ISBN 978-0-8075-4086-2.

External links[edit]