Emiliano Aguirre

Article

October 25, 2021

Emiliano Aguirre Enríquez (Ferrol, October 5, 1925 - October 11, 2021) [1] was a Spanish paleontologist. His main contribution to paleoanthropology was the beginning of the study of the Pleistocene sites of the Sierra de Atapuerca, whose excavations he directed from 1978 until his retirement in 1990. He was the Prince of Asturias Award [2] and a permanent academic at the Royal Academy of Exact, Physical and Natural Sciences. [3]

Biography

In 1942 he entered the seminary of the Society of Jesus in Aranjuez, he graduated in Philosophy from the Complutensis School of the Church in Chamartín (1947-1950), [4] he graduated in Natural Sciences from the University of Madrid (1955) , with the National End of Degree Award, and in Theology for the Granada Award (1959). The doctor in Biological Sciences (1966), with a thesis on extinct elephants directed by Miguel Crusafont. [5] [6] [7] He collaborated as a paleontologist in the excavations of the paleolithic sites of Torralba and Ambrona (Soria, 1961-1963). Director of excavations at the Paleolithic site of Las Gándaras de Budiño (Porriño, Pontevedra, 1963). Assistant Professor of Geology at the Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingenieros de Caminos, Canales y Puertos, Madrid (1965-66); Visiting Professor of Anthropology at the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú and at the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos de Lima (1967-1968); Head of the Chair of Biology for Medicine, Autonomous University of Madrid (1969-70); Associate Professor of Vertebrate and Human Paleontology, Complutense University of Madrid (1971-74); and Professor of Paleontology at the Universities of Zaragoza (1977-79) and Complutense of Madrid (1982-1984). CSIC Research Professor (1984-1990) and doctor linked to the CSIC since his retirement. Acting Director of the National Museum of Natural Sciences (1985-86). It is noteworthy, among his works on the Quaternary and his collaboration with the International Union for Quaternary Research (INQUA), the publication, together with Giancarlo Pasini in 1985, of the stratotype of the base of the Calabrian floor, which at that time was considered the beginning of the system and Quaternary period in the geological time scale. [note 1] [9] [10] Throughout his scientific career, he directed the doctoral theses of nearly thirty researchers in vertebrate paleontology, micropaleontology, anthropology, geomorphology, Neogene and Quaternary palaeoecology, and human palaeoecology. [10] He worked as an advisor and editor in numerous specialized paleontology journals, [11] such as the Revista Española de Paleontología published by the Sociedad Española de Paleontología. He participated in the CENIEH project (National Center for Research on Human Evolution) at the proposal of the Ministry of Science and Technology, this center created in 2004 has as its main objective the carrying out of research in the field of human evolution during the Pliocene and Pleistocene. [12]

his contribution to the dissemination of evolutionary theory in Spain

In 1962 he published his conference "Paleontological Problems and Natural Selection", [13] in which he clearly states his defense of the synthetic theory of evolution, against the theistic leadership approaches in use at the time. [14] In 1966 the book La Evolución was published by Editorial Católica, in its collection Biblioteca de Autores Cristianos ("B. A. C."), which was a true milestone for the social dissemination of evolutionary ideas in Spain. The work was co-directed by the paleontologists Miguel Crusafont, Bermudo Meléndez and Emiliano Aguirre, and had articles that covered biological evolution from very different approaches, including the orthogenetic directional ideas of Crusafont, but, above all, it exposed the synthetic theory, assumed by most of the authors,

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