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Eugène Dubois Chair


The Eugène Dubois rotating Chair was established at Maastricht University by the Eugène Dubois Foundation for a term of one year each time. Candidates for the Chair have the ability to promote interdisciplinary thinking and to communicate with a large audience. The appointed Chair will be hosted in two different faculties for one year each time, thereby encouraging interdisciplinarity. One of these faculties will always be the Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences. 

Mark Stoneking succeeds Frans de Waal as Eugène Dubois rotating chair

Mark Stoneking (1956) was appointed the Eugène Dubois professorial chair holder for 2016. This rotating chair position was previously held by Prof. Frans de Waal. Mark Stoneking was born in Oregon (USA). He studied anthropology and genetics and wrote the first textbook on molecular anthropology.

Professor Stoneking focuses on different aspects of human evolution. The origins of modern man and his global migration patterns are of particular interest to him. In 1987, Stoneking, his supervisor Allan Wilson and fellow researcher Rebecca L. Cann contributed to the Out of Africa theory by introducing the concept of the Mitochondrial Eve, the matrilineal most recent common ancestor of all living humans.

After obtaining his doctorate from the University of California in 1986, Stoneking worked as professor of Anthropology at Pennsylvania State University. He then went to Munich as a guest professor before being appointed division leader of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig and an honorary professor of Biological Anthropology at the University of Leipzig in 1999.

Professors who hold the Eugène Dubois rotating chair are appointed in two faculties, with the initial intention of delivering master classes and public lectures. Stoneking was appointed in the Faculty of Health Medicine and Life Sciences (FHML) and the Faculty of Humanities and Sciences (FHS). The topic of his first series of master classes, organised this spring by the GROW research centre, is the same as his first textbook: molecular anthropology. He will return for a second visit in September to focus on the FHS.

Frans de Waal

The Dutch primatologist and ethologist Prof. Frans de Waal was the first professor to be appointed to the annually rotating Eugène Dubois Chair. De Waal was present in Maastricht for a few weeks in the course of 2015 to contribute to the education and research programmes of both faculties. In 2015, the second party of the chair was the Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience.

Biologist and writer Frans de Waal, born 1948 in ’s Hertogenbosch, earned his PhD in 1977 from Utrecht University under behavioural biologist Professor Jan van Hooff with a study on aggression and cooperation among monkeys. Since 1981, De Waal has worked in the United States. He is currently a professor at Emory University in Atlanta (Georgia) and director of the Living Links Center of the Yerkes National Primate Research Center, where research is carried out on non-human primates.

Frans de Waal is a successful writer of scientific non-fiction for a wide audience. In his latest book, ‘The Bonobo and the Atheist’, he looks at human behaviour through the eyes of a biologist and discusses the extent to which God and religion are necessary for humans to exhibit moral behaviour. In 2007, he was listed in the ‘TIME 100: The People Who Shape Our World’, TIME Magazine’s annual publication of the top one hundred most influential people in the world.

Frans de Waal accepted his nomination with a public lecture on 3 October 2014, entitled ‘The measure of all things? Ape and Human Cognition’. In this lecture, given in Dutch, De Waal shared examples from his own work and from the research of others to show how people have tried, and are still trying, to show differences in the cognition of humans and apes, but without much success.