2009 Honorary Membership Award Winners

Wolfgang Maier

Wolfgang Maier
Photo courtesy of Wolfgang Maier.

I was born in 1942 in Southern Germany. From 1962-1966 I studied biology, chemistry and geography at the University of Tübingen. Between March 1966 and April 1969 I wrote my doctoral thesis at the Dr. Senckenbergische Anatomie at Frankfurt under the supervision of Prof. Dietrich Starck; the topic of my dissertation was the locomotory system of the Gelada and other "baboons." In 1970 I spent a postdoc-scholarship at the Bernard-Price-Institute of Palaeontology at the Witwatersrand University of Johannesburg, South Africa to study Plio-Pleistocene cercopithecoids from Makapansgat.

After my return I worked as an assistant professor at the department of anatomy at the University of Frankfurt. In 1987 I was appointed full professor of Systematic Zoology at the University of Tübingen. During the 70s and early 80s, my main interests were the functional anatomy of primate dentitions and the morphology of the ethmoidal skull-region of primates. Subsequently, I turned my interest to the embryogenesis of marsupials which proved to be good models for better understanding specific points of the evolution of Early Mammals. In particular I studied the ontogeny and evolutionary morphology of the middle ear and of the secondary sidewall of the skull (alisphenoid-problem); later on, I also designed a new model for the evolution of the hard and soft palate of mammals that was based on the study of Permian therocephalians from South Africa. These studies resulted in a more general concept of the mutual relationship between ontogenetic adaptations and evolutionary trans-formation—where ontogeny is conceived as the complete life-history. In 2006, I had the chance to study, together with José Bonaparte, excellently preserved skulls of Triassic brasilodonts with the help of Micro-CT. I have been retired since October 2007.