William D. Hamilton (1936-2000), likely the greatest evolutionary theorist of the second half of the 20th Century, was a memorable-looking fellow. He had this amazing head of men-who-look-like-old-lesbians white hair, along with a ruggedness of jaw and brow ridge that made Russell Crowe look like Johnny Depp. And he tended to go through life bashing face first, metaphorically and sometimes literally, into whatever obstacles were in his way.
Reading Ulrica Segerstrale’s biography Nature’s Oracle: The Life and Work of W.D. Hamilton, I was pleased to learn that Hamilton’s rugby teammates in school nicknamed him “Caveman” and “Apeman.”
(Also of interest, Hamilton grew up in the Kent countryside only five miles from Charles Darwin’s Down House. When he was about nine, the whole family walked to Darwin’s house and back again.)
Now that we know that some genes from Neanderthals were passed on to modern humans, I sure hope that somebody preserved a sample of Hamilton’s DNA.