Yves Coppens

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Yves Coppens
Yves Coppens detail.jpg
Yves Coppens (November 2006)
Born (1934-08-09) 9 August 1934 (age 83)
Vannes, Morbihan
Awards High Officer of the Légion d'honneur
National Order of Merit
Academic palms
National Order of Tchad
National Order of Arts and Humanities (2010)

Commander of the Order of Cultural Merit of Monaco

Yves Coppens (born 9 August 1934 in Vannes, Morbihan) is a French anthropologist. He graduated from the University of Rennes. He has studied ancient hominids and has had multiple published works on this topic, and has also produced a film. On Saturday, 18 October 2014, Professor Coppens was named an Ordinary Member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences by Pope Francis.[1]

Scientific work[edit]

Coppens is one of the co-discoverers of Lucy along with Donald Johanson and Maurice Taieb, although Richard Dawkins makes the following observation in The Ancestor's Tale: "Incidentally, I don't know what to make of the fact that in his native France, Yves Coppens is widely cited as the discoverer of Lucy, even as the 'father' of Lucy. In the English-speaking world, this important discovery is universally attributed to Donald Johanson." This confusion is because Coppens was the director of the Hadar expedition and so responsible for all of the expedition's finds, whereas Donald Johanson was a participant in the expedition and the one to actually chance on Lucy's skeleton.[2] However, the first fossil fragment was spotted by Tom Gray, one of the students of Donald Johanson.

The "Rift Valley theory", proposed and supported by the Dutch primatologist Adriaan Kortlandt,[3] became better known when it was later espoused and renamed by Coppens as the "East Side Story". However, this paradigm has been challenged by the discovery of Australopithecus bahrelghazali (Abel) and Sahelanthropus tchadensis by Michel Brunet's team in Toumaï in Chad (2,500 km to west Rift Valley [4][5] The asteroid 172850 Coppens is named in his honour.[6]


Yves Coppens chaired the commission which wrote the French Charter for the Environment of 2004.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ http://press.vatican.va/content/salastampa/en/bollettino/pubblico/2014/10/18/0767/01629.html
  2. ^ Gibbons, Ann. 2006. The First Human. Anchor Books. pp. 79–87
  3. ^ Kortlandt, A. (1972) - New perspectives on ape and human evolution, Amsterdam, Stichting voor Psychobiologie.
  4. ^ 2. Brunet, M. (1997) - « Origine des hominidés : East Side Story... West Side Story... », Géobios, M.S. n ° 20, 79–83
  5. ^ 3.Brunet, M., Guy, F., Pilbeam, D., Mackaye, H. T., Likius, A. et al. (2002) - "A new hominid from the Upper Miocene of Chad, Central Africa", Nature, vol. 418, 11 July 2002, pp. 145–151.
  6. ^ "172850 Coppens (2005 EU27)". JPL Small-Body Database. Jet Propulsion Laboratory. SPK-ID: 2172850. Retrieved 24 June 2013. 

External links[edit]