Colin Groves

Colin Peter Groves (24 June 1942 – 30 November 2017) was a British-Australian biologist and anthropologist. Groves was Professor of Biological Anthropology at the Australian National University in Canberra, Australia.[1]

Colin Groves
Born(1942-06-24)24 June 1942
United Kingdom
Died30 November 2017(2017-11-30) (aged 75)
Canberra, ACT, Australia
Alma materUniversity College London (B.Sc.)
Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine (Ph.D.)
Known forBiological classification of Homo ergaster
Scientific career
FieldsBiological Anthropology
Mammal classification
InstitutionsAustralian National University
University of California, Berkeley
Queen Elizabeth College
University of Cambridge


Born in England, Groves completed a Bachelor of Science at University College London in 1963, and a Doctor of Philosophy at the Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine in 1966. From 1966 to 1973, he was a Postdoctoral Researcher and Teaching Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley, Queen Elizabeth College and the University of Cambridge.


Groves emigrated to Australia in 1973 and joined the Australian National University, where he was promoted to full Professor in 2000[2] and remained Emeritus Professor until his death.[3]

Along with the Czech biologist Professor Vratislav Mazák, Groves was the describer of Homo ergaster.[4] Groves also wrote Primate Taxonomy published by the Smithsonian Institution Press in 2001, and Ungulate Taxonomy, co-authored by Peter Grubb (2011, Johns Hopkins Press).

He was an active member of the Australian Skeptics and had many published skeptical papers, as well as research papers covering his other research interests.[5] He also conducted regular debates with creationists and anti-evolutionists.[5] Groves opposed the arguments of creationism, stating "It is a great mistake to ignore the threat: it will not just go away, it must be countered. ... Scientists, but most especially archaeologists, are in the front line; we, not the artists or the politicians, are the ones with ammunition to stem the tide of creationist rubbish, and relegate it to Monty Python's Flying Circus where it belongs."[6]

Research interests

Groves' research interests included human evolution, primates, mammalian taxonomy, skeletal analysis, biological anthropology, ethnobiology, cryptozoology, and biogeography.[2] He conducted extensive fieldwork in Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, India, Iran, China, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Selected publications

  • Groves, C. (1989). A theory of human and primate evolution. New York: Oxford Science Publications. doi:10.1002/ajpa.1330810314.
  • Groves, C. (1989). Laycock, D (ed.). Skeptical, a handbook on pseudoscience and the paranormal. Australian Skeptics. ISBN 0-7316-5794-2.
  • Groves, C. (1996). "From Ussher to Slusher; from Archbish to Gish; or, not in a million years..." Archaeology in Oceania. 31: 145–151. doi:10.1002/j.1834-4453.1996.tb00357.x.
  • Groves, C. P. (1997). "Leopard-cats, Prionailurus bengalensis (Carnivora: Felidae) from Indonesia and the Philippines, with the description of two new subspecies". Zeitschrift für Säugetierkunde. 62: 330–338.
  • Groves, C. (2001). Primate Taxonomy. Washington D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press. ISBN 1-56098-872-X.
  • Cameron, D. W.; Groves, C. (2004). Bones, Stones and Molecules. Boston: Elsevier. p. 402. ISBN 0-12-156933-0.
  • Groves, C. (2008). Extended Family: Long Lost Cousins. A Personal Look at the History of Primatology. Arlington, Virginia: Conservation International. p. 227. ISBN 978-1-934151-25-9.
  • Groves, C.; Mcleod, K. (2014). "Birth of a notion" (PDF). The Skeptic. Australian Skeptics. 34 (4): 39. Retrieved 17 March 2016.


  1. "Professor Colin Groves - School of Archaeology & Anthropology -". Australian National University. 2012. Archived from the original on 21 February 2011. Retrieved 4 June 2009.
  2. Groves, C (2000). "Colin Groves [personal profile entry]". Archaeology World. Archived from the original on 29 January 2009. Retrieved 4 June 2009.
  3. "Vale Emeritus Professor Colin Groves". ANU. 30 November 2017. Retrieved 30 November 2017.
  4. Kramer, A (1993). "Human Taxonomic Diversity in the Pleistocene: Does Homo erectus Represent Multiple Hominid Species?". American Journal of Physical Anthropology. 91 (2): 161–171. doi:10.1002/ajpa.1330910203. PMID 8317558.
  5. Stears. "The Groves Collection". Retrieved 28 August 2009.
  6. "Colin Groves dies". National Center for Science Education. Retrieved 30 January 2021.
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