- Associated Press - Thursday, June 7, 2012

JOHANNESBURG (AP) - South Africa’s University of the Witwatersrand says world-renowned anthropologist Philip Tobias has died at the age of 86.

In a statement, the university where Tobias studied and then taught said he died in Johannesburg Thursday after a long illness.

Tobias did pioneering research on the evolutionary links between primates and humans. Nick Barton, of Oxford University, said Thursday that Tobias “was one of the greats in human evolutionary studies.”

A South African colleague, archaeologist Lyn Wadley, said Tobias also should be remembered for speaking out against apartheid.

Wadley says, “The thing that I really admired so much is that during the darkest ages of South Africa, when he could have got a job anywhere in the world, he chose to stay here, because this was his country, where he could make a difference.”

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