Erik Trinkaus, PhD, (December 24, 1948) is a prominent paleoanthropologist and expert on Neanderthal biology and human evolution. Trinkaus researches the evolution of the species Homo sapiens and recent human diversity, focusing on the paleoanthropology and emergence of late archaic and early modern humans, and the subsequent evolution of 'anatomically modern' humanity. Trinkaus is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, a contributor to publications including Natural History and Scientific American, and is frequently quoted in the popular media. Trinkaus is the Mary Tileston Hemenway Professor of Physical Anthropology at Washington University in St. Louis
Trinkaus received his bachelor of arts degree in Art History and Physics from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and his master's and PhD degrees in anthropology from the University of Pennsylvania, the latter in 1975.
Trinkaus' research has been a major contributor to current debates about human origins. Trinkaus supports theories related to various forms of multiregional evolution, a hypothesis held by a minority of scholars in the field of human evolution. Based on analysis of early human fossils from Europe, Trinkaus suggests that Neanderthals have made significant contributions to the gene pool of modern Europeans.