American University of Sharjah

American University of Sharjah

Anthony George Coates

Dr. Anthony George Coates

Director, Museum of Biodiversity, Bridge of Life, Republic of Panama; Senior Scientist Emeritus, Smithsonian Institution, USA

Dr. Anthony George Coates is the Director of the Museum of Biodiversity, the Bridge of Life, Republic of Panama, and Senior Scientist Emeritus at the Smithsonian Institution.

After receiving his undergraduate degree from King's College, University of London, and his Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Caen in France, Dr. Coates served as an assistant professor at the University of the West Indies in Jamaica. In 1966, he moved to George Washington University in Washington, DC, where he rose to be full Professor of Geology and eventually Associate Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies. In 1986, he founded a major research initiative called the Panama Palaeontology Program (PPP) with his colleague Dr. Jeremy Jackson, which involved 39 scientists in seven countries studying the evolutionary and ecological consequences of the rise and emergence of the Isthmus of Panama about three million years ago. 

In 1991, Dr. Coates accepted an appointment as Research Scientist and Deputy Director of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama, dividing his time between research and administration. He subsequently went to Washington as the Director of Scientific Programs for the whole Smithsonian Institution, a position from which he retired in 2002. He currently lives in Panama and works on his research, and is Senior Scientist Emeritus for the Smithsonian.

He has been the subject of a National Public Radio program, and appeared on US public television in the program Scientific Expeditions hosted by Alan Alda. He was also the chief scientific consultant to Frank Gehry LLP, the world-famous architect, on the design and content of a new museum to be built at the Pacific entrance of the Panama Canal, which will be both an iconic architectural statement and a celebration of the wonderful biodiversity of Central America.

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