Photo by The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images
Dean Peter Crane, the International Prize for Biology laureate, is greeted by Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko, prior to the award ceremony at the Japan Academy headquarters in Tokyo.
Peter Crane, the Dean of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, was awarded the 2014 International Prize for Biology during a ceremony held in Tokyo on Dec. 1.
The prize was awarded by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS).
Those attending the ceremony included their Majesties Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko of Japan.
Over more than three decades, Crane’s work has integrated data from living plants with new discoveries from the paleontological record to provide critical insights into the early history of plants and how they shaped the modern biosphere.
“In paleontology we rely heavily on using the present to interpret the past,” Crane said during the ceremony. “Yet at the same time, the importance of contingency and extinction, both in ecology and evolution, reminds us that understanding the present also requires understanding history. The value of paleontology lies not simply in extrapolating the present back into the past, but in expanding knowledge, by illuminating ancient worlds that often differed in important ways from the world of today.