Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Yves Coppens

Yves Coppens (1934, 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.
Yves Coppens visits the Laulhere factory in Oloron Sainte Marie
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 covers the fact that that Coppens was the director of the Hadar expedition and so responsible for the all of the expedition's finds, whereas Donald Johanson was participant in the expedition and the one to actually chance on Lucy's skeleton.

Laulhere director René  Renda with Yves Coppens
The "Rift Valley theory", proposed and supported by the Dutch primatologist Adriaan Kortlandt, 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 by Michel Brunet' s team of Australopithecus bahrelghazali (Abel) and Sahelanthropus tchadensis (Toumaï) in Chad (2 500 km to west rift walley. The asteroid 172850 Coppens is named in his honour.

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