Bob Brain tribute

PAST is saddened to note the passing of Dr. C.K. (Bob) Brain on 6 June 2023. Bob was a giant in the field of palaeoanthropology, having for many years directed excavations at Swartkrans Cave that made major contributions to our understanding of human evolution and the formation of the South African limestone cave deposits.

He also pioneered the application of taphonomy to palaeoanthropology, using his systematic observations of bone modification by carnivores to guide behavioural interpretations of fossil bone assemblages associated with hominid remains.


Bob holds a special place in PAST’s development, having succeeded Philip Tobias as our second Chief Scientist. With his passing, palaeoanthropology has lost one of its few naturalists.