George Gaylord Simpson Prize - 2009
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Faysal Bibi
Faysal Bibi

2009 Recipient

Faysal Bibi

Paper “Dietary niche partitioning among fossil bovids in late Miocene C3 habitats: Consilience of functional morphology and stable isotope analysis,” published in Palaeogeography,Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 253(3-4):529–538.

 

Faysal Bibi’s research investigates the evolutionary history of mammals over the last 10 million years of life history through his work on fossils, mainly from Ethiopia, Kenya, Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates. For his

doctoral thesis, Faysal focused on the fossil record of bovids (antelopes, sheep and oxen). One particular avenue of this work concerns the adaptation of herbivores such as bovids to changing vegetational habitats. For example, major environmental changes that took place around 7 million years ago produced the earliest tropical grassland ecosystems, akin to those of modern savannas, and was also the time of the earliest representatives of modern grazing bovids such as bovins (buffalo, cattle, yak, bison and banteng, among others). Faysal is studying the way in which these animals evolved adaptations to survive in grassland environments. His work has proposed a southern Asian origin for the bovine group, and a dispersal from southern Asia to Arabia and Africa in conjunction with the global spread of tropical grasses at low latitudes around 7 million years ago. Faysal also works on describing new bovid fossils from Kenya, Ethiopia and Turkey.  Faysal Bibi is also codirector with Andrew Hill, the J. Clayton Stephenson Professor of Anthropology and Curator of Anthropology at the Peabody Museum, of the Baynunah Paleontology Project, leading annual expeditions to recover fossils from the deserts of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The George Gaylord Simpson Prize is awarded annually by the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History to a Yale University graduate student or recent doctoral candidate for a paper concerning evolution and the fossil record. The prize is named for George Gaylord Simpson  (1902–1984; Yale G ’26), the most influential paleontologist of the 20th century and a major proponent of the modern evolutionary synthesis.