Col·laborador del CSIC i catedràtic de prehistòria a la Universitat Rovira i Virgili
A philosophy and arts graduate from the Autonomous University of Barcelona, he holds a PhD in Quaternary geology from the Pierre et Marie Curie University (formerly known as the University of Paris VI), and another in geography and history from the University of Barcelona. He collaborates with the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas and is a professor of prehistory at the Rovira i Virgili University. There he was the driving force behind an interdisciplinary research team that led to the creation of the Catalan Institute of Human Paleoecology and Social Evolution (IPHES) in 2004, which he led until 2015.
Together with other members of the Atapuerca team, he is the author of articles such as A Hominid from the Lower Pleistocene of Atapuerca, Spain: Possible Ancestor to Neanderthals and Modern Humans, (1997), which was published in the journal Science, where he presented the Homo antecessor, which he dated well before hominids became established in Europe. He has also excelled as a populariser and author of numerous essays in which he sets out his perspective on the human condition, influenced by his training as a palaeoanthropologist and by an ethics of human progress rooted in Marxism.
In 1997, he collected the Príncipe de Asturias prize on behalf of the Atapuerca team. In 2000, he was awarded the Medalla Narcís Monturiol for scientific merit by the Generalitat de Catalunya, and in 2009 he won the Premio Nacional de Cultura.