Tributes to
J. Desmond Clark


I am saddened to learn that we have lost J. Desmond Clark. For someone interested in paleoanthropology, it was a real privilege to be a student at Berkeley while Dr. Clark was there. We had the opportunity to learn about African archaeology from J. Desmond Clark and Glynn Isaac and about the fossil evidence for human evolution from F. Clark Howell and Tim White. In the memories I have of my undergraduate years at Berkeley (1977-1981), Dr. Clark looms as a larger-than-life figure.

I fondly remember taking J. Desmond Clark's course in African Prehistory in 1978 and his Old World Prehistory Laboratory in 1980. Of course, the African prehistory course was his tour de force. It is difficult to imagine anyone ever mastering the scope of knowledge about African prehistory he so confidently possessed. The Old World Prehistory Laboratory was an even more amazing class because we were exposed first-hand to Dr. Clark's truly incredible wealth of knowledge about prehistoric technologies. In both classes, tests were essays answered in blue books. You wrote down every single thing you could remember and hoped that it would be enough. You then received comments from Dr. Clark in a handwriting that you could only wish that you could decipher. At the end of the Old World Prehistory Laboratory, after the final, Dr. Clark drank sherry with us while we chatted about stone tools.

Even though my interests eventually turned to the study of ape and human ancestors from the Miocene of Kenya, Dr. Clark kept an active interest in such matters and he provided fascinating comments on the interpretation of Kenyapithecus. I felt fortunate, therefore, that Dr. Clark served as a member of my Ph.D. committee.

I know that everyone who ever met him was impressed not only by his incomparable knowledge but also by his great warmth and generosity. There will never again be anyone as great as J. Desmond Clark.

-Monte L. McCrossin - New Mexico State University