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About the Author

Martin Nickels

I am a native Kansan having been born in Dodge City in 1946. I grew up in the Shawnee Mission area of Kansas City and graduated from Bishop Miege High School in 1964. I attended Donnelly Community College and the University of Missouri at KansPamnd history before transferring to the University of Kansas to major in anthropology. My lifelong interest has been in human nature, specifically what makes us the way that we are. I earned my Ph.D. in Physical Anthropology from Kansas in 1975.

Physical Anthropology is basically the study of human evolutionary biology and provides us with an almost unique combination of natural and social scientific perspectives from which to try to deal with the issue of what it means to be human. My particular interests include the hominid fossil record, the biological bases of human and primate behavior, the history of evolutionary thought, and the teaching of human evolution in high school biology courses.

I have been at Illinois State University for 20 years and have been working actively with high school biology teachers for the past 10 years in an effort to improve the teaching of evolution in general and human evolution in particular. For the past 6 years, I have worked with Craig Nelson of Indiana University and Jean Beard of San Jose State University in a series of National Science Foundation sponsored institutes entitled "Evolution and the Nature of Science" for high school biology teachers.

I am married with two teenage children and admit to being an avid fan of science fiction whether it be in book, television, or movie form. (I especially like "The X Files" and the syndicated "Babylon 5" television series.)

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