Editor’s note: Russell Mittermeier, Conservation International’s executive vice chair, has been honored as one of Harvard University’s Centennial Medalists for 2017. One of only four recipients to be awarded the title this year — the highest honor bestowed by the Graduate School — Mittermeier is being celebrated with fellow alumni who have “made contributions to society that emerged from their graduate studies at Harvard.” Mittermeier graduated from Harvard with a Ph.D. in anthropology in 1977.
Over his 30 years at Conservation International, Mittermeier has made an indelible mark on the organization’s work around the globe. Here’s a look at some of the species he’s discovered and places he’s helped to protect along the way.
Russ Mittermeier helped discover two new species of tarsier — a tiny, nocturnal primate found only in parts of Southeast Asia, and rumored to have been the inspiration for Yoda from the “Star Wars” films.