AWARDEE OF PALEONTOLOGY AND ARCHAEOLOGY PRIZE
Hou Xianguang, a palaeontologist, was born in Fengxian, Jiangsu Province in March 1949. His junior and senior secondary school was in the First Middle School of Xuzhou City. After graduated from the Department of Earth Sciences of Nanjing University in 1977, he worked as a teacher in same Department. He received a Master Degree of Science in Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology, the Chinese Academy of Sciences in 1981 and then worked in same Institute. Promoted to associate professor in 1992 and professor in 1994 respectively, and earned his PhD in 1997 in Uppsala University, Sweden, now he is a professor of Yunnan University and the director of Yunnan Key Laboratory for Palaeobiology.
He discovered the famous Chengjiang fauna in July 1984 after a long painstaking and meticulous field work. The fauna is hailed as “will be forever built into the scientific edifice” and the discovery as “among the most spectacular in this century.” He opened up an important new research field for sciences on the early life.
As the discoverer of the fauna, he did a large number of field work in Yunnan Province. His pioneer work laid a solid foundation for comprehensive and systematic study of the fauna. He has obtained many important achievements in scientific research on the fauna. He described and published the most new animals of the fauna, published about 60 papers and 4 monographs, of which 3 monographs were published in English. His work raised a great influence of discovery of the Chengjiang fauna to the concrete knowledge of the scientific theory. The whole fauna and its ecology, “Cambrian explosion”, the origin and evolution of the present animal phyla are comprehensively understood mostly through his whole set of work. For his achievement of the discovery and study of the fauna, he received some awards, including the first prize of the National Natural Science Award from the State Council in 2003.