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Tab Rasmussen has passed away.

October 20, 2014

Tab was known in paleo world for his work on Paleogene mammals.  Growing up the son of a biologist and exploring the wild parts of the desert southwest as a child and young adult prepared him well for his future career, and started his lifelong love of the natural world.  He attend Colorado College as an undergraduate, and was a student of Elwyn Simons at Duke University, earning his Ph.D. there in 1986. After short stints at Rice University and UCLA, Tab joined the faculty of Washington University in St. Louis in 1991 where he remained until his passing this last summer.  His best known research was on the origins of anthropoid primates, although he wrote broadly on other fossil groups, including hyraxes, carnivorans, and birds, and his work was admired for its scholarship and thoroughness.  He did scholarly work on living animals as well, writing about the behavioral biology of primates, especially prosimians, and birds.  He was a consummate naturalist on top of his expertise on paleobiology, and he often brought his knowledge of living taxa and modern ecology to bear on questions about fossil taxa.  People who went to the field with him across the world, including fossil collecting trips in the western US, Egypt, Kenya, Libya, Ethiopia, Madagascar, often learned just as much about the birds, plants, rocks, and peoples of the field area as they did about the fossils.  He has numerous academic offspring who carry on the wonder about the natural world that he infected those around him with.