Tributes to
J. Desmond Clark


I had the privilege of meeting Professor Desmond Clark about 20 years ago through my friends Dr. Berhane Asfaw and Professor Tim White while I was a Lecturer at the Geology Department of Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia. In the early 1990s, I had a great opportunity to join the Middle Awash Project as the lead geologist and later as co-PI with Professors Desmond Clark and Tim White and gain an experience of a life time in paleoanthropological and archaeological field studies.

Desmond's visionary leadership, his scholarship and professionalism, mentoring, and encouragement was instrumental in creating the first and most successful team of Ethiopian/African professionals that have collectively along with their mentor and friend Professor Tim White led one of Africa's most successful geological, paleoanthropological, and archaeological research projects. As a result, the Middle Awash Research Project has discovered more hominid fossils and the oldest archaeological remains compared with any other project of its kind. Despite his failing health, Desmond continued his encouragement and support to the members of the Middle Awash Project to the end as demonstrated by his last e-mail message to me and my colleagues on the successful publication of our companion Nature papers in July 2001.

"Dear Yohannes, Giday, and Tim,
My very sincere and warm congratulations on the Nature articles, which David has kindly brought me, and described the new finds and environmental evidence. I'm most grateful also to Tim for the press backgrounder. This is really great news and especially warm congratulations for the way in which the new fossil material has been found and described.
Very best,

Desmond's dedication and legacy in Ethiopia established a role model for indigenous professionals in the rest of Africa that can be emulated by professionals from the rest of the developing world. Desmond's legacy will thrive forever.

-Giday WoldeGabriel, Ph.D. Team Leader, Hydrology, Geochemistry, and Geology Group, Earth Environmental Sciences Division, Los Alamos National Laboratory