Gen Suwa

University of Tokyo

Election Year: 2016
Primary Section: 51, Anthropology
Membership Type: Foreign Associate


I am a paleoanthropologist at the University Museum, the University of Tokyo. I graduated from the Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, the University of Tokyo. I received my MS in biological anthropology at the University of Tokyo, and PhD in anthropology at the University of California at Berkeley. My doctoral research involved the comparative analysis of the Plio-Pleistocene hominid dental fossils of the Omo Valley, Ethiopia. Since the late 1980s, initially based at the Primate Research Institute, Kyoto University, and later at the Department of Biology and the University Museum, the University of Tokyo, I have conducted paleoanthropological research mostly in Ethiopia, including field research at the Konso and Chorora Formation areas and the Middle Awash Valley. I have served several positions related to promoting biological anthropology in Japan, including restructuring the journal Anthropological Science in the mid-2000s and serving as its editor-in-chief.

Research Interests

Paleoanthropology is a discipline which is comparatively data-poor, for example relative to research areas involving genomics or bioinformatics. Insights are gained from careful accumulation of fossils and contextual information, and from an accurate as possible reading of those partial evidences. Both are less obviously done than it may seem. My colleagues and I have promoted field research.

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