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Professor Dr Nikolai Spassov, director of the National Museum of Natural History, Sofia. Photo: (c) N. Spassov
Professor Dr Nikolai Spassov, director of the National Museum of Natural History, Sofia. Photo: (c) N. Spassov

Nikolai Spassov

(Professor Dr)
phone: (+359 02) 9808391; (+359 2) 9885115 (ext. 728); e-mail:

Born: 7 April 1951, Sofia.
Education: Sofia University ‘St. Kliment Ohridski’, Faculty of Biology (1974).
Speciality: vertebrate zoology.

Research interests

More than 170 scientific papers in the field of palaeontology, taxonomy and morphology of large mammals (Macromammalia), evolution of the terrestrial megafaunas, archaeozoology, evolution of the behaviour of vertebrates, ecology of carnivores, conservation of vertebrates.

Current projects

2008—2009. Coordinación de estudios sobre las primeras ocupaciones humanas en Eurasia: Intercambios científicos Bulgaria-España Ministerio de Education Y Ciencia. España. Leading institution: CENIEH, Burgos.
Elaboration of the second edition of the Red data Book of Bulgaria, vol. ‘Animals’ (In press). A project of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences supported by the Ministry of the Environment.
2008 and continues: Search for the Earliest Human Prehistory: Paleontological Investigations in the Locality of the Last Prehuman Hominoids in Europe (Azmaka near Chirpan, Bulgaria, Turolian). Granted by the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. Additional grants by L.S.B. Leakey Foundation, the Fyssen Foundation and the University of Tübingen.
From 2008 and continues: Member of the working team for the creation of the Natinal Action plan for the wolf in Bulgaria. Project of Balkani Society supported by the Ministry of the Environment.
From 2008 and continues: Team leader of the large mammals group in the project: Development of the Natura 2000 Network in Bulgaria. A project of the Bularian Academy of Sciences, supported by the Ministry of the Environment.
From 2010: Molecular analysis of ancient dogs: A critical re-assessment of their ancestry and their co-evolution with humans. Leading institution: Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago.

Most recent publications

Spassov, N., Ignatov, A., Acosta-Pankov, I., 2016. On the status of the leopard in Turkey, again. — Cat news No 64, Autumn 2016, ISSN 1027-2992.

Yong, Y. at all, 2015. PESI — a taxonomic backbone for Europe. — Biodiversity Data Journal 3: e5848. 51 pp.

Spassov, N., Tosheva, S., 2015. 125 years National Museum of Natural History, BAS. — Historia naturalis bulgarica, 21: 3—8. [PDF]

Spassov, N., Spiridonov, G., Ivanov, V., Assenov, L., 2015. Signs of the bear life activities and their utilization for the monitoring of the bear (Ursus arctos L.) in Bulgaria. — Historia naturalis bulgarica, 22: 73—83. [PDF]

Spassov, N., Peykov, V., Simeonov, P., 2015. Evidences for the Lynx recovery in Bulgaria: the Lynx discovered in Western Rhodopes. — ZooNotes, 73: 1—4.

Spassov, N., Iliev, N., Karastoyanova, N., Chohadziev, S., 2015. The Remains of Wild and Domestic Animals from the Late Chalcolithic Tell Settlement of Hotnitsa (Northern Bulgaria). — Archaeologia Bulgarica, IXI, 2, 1—21.

Spassov, N., Ignatov, A., Acosta-Pankov, I., 2015. The Story of the Turkish Dhole. Exploring and documenting diversity in nature. — CETAF Newsletter, October 2015.

Spassov, N., Geraads, D., 2015. A New Felid from the Late Miocene of the Balkans and the Contents of the Genus Metailurus Zdansky, 1924 (Carnivora, Felidae). — Journal of Mammal Evolution, 22: 45—56. DOI: 10.1007/s10914-014-9266-5 [PDF]

Shaller, M., Lachner, J., Christl, M., Maden, C., Spassov, N., Ilg, A., Böhme, M., 2015. Authigenic Be as a tool to date river terrace sediments? — An example from a Late Miocene hominid locality in Bulgaria. — Quaternary Geochronology, 29: 6—15.

Ivanov, V., Spassov, N., 2015. Some new data on the distribution, habitats and ecology of the threatened European mustelids Mustela eversmanii and Vormela peregusna in Bulgaria. — Historia naturalis bulgarica, 21: 267—271.

More complete list of publications — section e-Natura | Staff publications