Yohannes Haile-Selassie

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This article contains a patronymic name. It properly refers to the person by his given name, Yohannes, and not as Haile-Selassie.

Yohannes Haile-Selassie (born on (1961-02-23) 23 February 1961 (age 56) in Adigrat, Ethiopia) is an Ethiopian paleoanthropologist. An authority on pre-Homo sapiens hominids, he particularly focuses his attention on the East African Rift and Middle Awash valleys.

Yohannes is not related to nor named for the former emperor of Ethiopia. His second name, "Haile-Selassie", is actually his father's first name.[1]


Yohannes began his tertiary education at the Addis Ababa University in Addis Ababa, graduating in the summer of 1982 with a B.A. degree in history. His first job was at the National Museum of Ethiopia in Addis Ababa.[citation needed]

His graduate education began at The University of California, Berkeley, where Yohannes was mentored by Tim White and earned an M.A. in Anthropology in 1995 and a Ph.D. in Integrative Biology in 2001. In 2002, he became the Curator and Head of Physical Anthropology Department at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History in Cleveland, Ohio, where he works currently. He also serves as an Adjunct Professor of Anthropology and Anatomy at Case Western Reserve University.[citation needed]

Yohannes is well known in the field of paleoanthropology for having a gift for fossil spotting, with his first fossil hunting expedition (White's Middle Awash Project) taking place in 1990. He has been instrumental in the discoveries of the type specimen (principal reference fossil) for Australopithecus garhi and Ardipithecus kadabba (both discovered in 1997), and he has also found fossil specimens of Ardipithecus ramidus, Australopithecus afarensis, and species of Homo including Homo erectus, as well as Homo sapiens. From 2004 through 2007, he led digs in the Mille woreda of the Afar Region of Ethiopia (the Woranso-Mille Project). In June 2010, Yohannes published a paper describing Kadanuumuu, one of the specimens his group found in Afar.[2]

The research conducted by Yohannes has been primarily funded by the Leakey Foundation.[3] He has published in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology and Nature.[4][5]


  1. ^ Mangels, John (2004-07). Fossil Hunter Transcripts. The Plain Dealer, July 2004. Retrieved on 2014-09-12 from http://www.cleveland.com/sundaymag/plaindealer/index.ssf?/sundaymag/more/fossil04.html.
  2. ^ Rex Dalton (2010-06-20). "Africa's next top hominid:Ancient human relative could walk upright.". Nature. 
  3. ^ The Leakey Foundation
  4. ^ http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ajpa.21159/abstract
  5. ^ Haile-Selassie, Y.; Gibert, L.; Melillo, S. M.; Ryan, T. M.; Alene, M.; Deino, A.; Levin, N. E.; Scott, G.; Saylor, B. Z. (2015). "New species from Ethiopia further expands Middle Pliocene hominin diversity". Nature. 521 (7553): 483. doi:10.1038/nature14448. PMID 26017448.  "New species from Ethiopia further expands Middle Pliocene hominin diversity"

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