Australian National University mourns loss of Professor Colin Groves
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Australian National University mourns loss of Professor Colin Groves

A world-leading anthropologist and taxonomist who identified more than 50 species of animal will be remembered at a service in Canberra on Thursday.

Australian National University Emeritus Professor Colin Groves died peacefully on November 30 surrounded by family and friends.

Colin Groves in his lab in 2007, holding a deformed skull of a male mountain gorilla found in Rawanda in 1971.

Colin Groves in his lab in 2007, holding a deformed skull of a male mountain gorilla found in Rawanda in 1971.

Photo: Graham Tidy

Professor Groves spent more than 40 years at the ANU, where he was last week remembered as a cherished member of staff who had a profound impact on the field of biological anthropology and everyone who knew him.

Vice-chancellor Brian Schmidt paid tribute to Professor Groves as "a giant in his field, a great researcher, teacher and mentor to his students, and one of the great treasures of ANU".

"Colin was also a wonderful and humble person who gave so much to his friends and colleagues," he said.

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"On behalf of the university, I offer my sincere condolences to his partner Phyll, his family and his many friends around the world."

Professor Groves studied anthropology at university in the UK and completed his PhD at the University of London in 1966. His research involved a large survey of gorilla skulls and led to a life-long passion for gorilla conservation.

Professor Groves came to Australia and the ANU in 1973 following a stint in a temporary teaching position at Cambridge University in the UK.

A celebration of Professor Groves's life will be held on Thursday at 10am at Norwood Park Crematorium in Canberra, followed by a gathering in the Great Hall at University House.

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