This special Review Volume celebrates the work of Neill Alexander, who retired as Professor of Zoology at the University of Leeds in September 1999. Neill has a wide range of research interests, all tackled with rigour. passion and a happy enthusiasm. He has played a pivotal role in establishing the foundations for research in biomechanics, introducing concepts and methods of analysis which have been widely used by scientists in many disciplines around the world. The originality and quality of his science, the generous way he gives assistance and guidance, and his playful enthusiasm have earned him the respect, admiration and affection of several ‘generations’ of scientists, from undergraduates to fellow researchers. Indeed, he is the Grand Old Man of Biomechanics, and has been since a relatively young age! Formal recognition of his achievement<; has come on numerous occasions. He was awarded the Scientific Medal of the Zoological Society of London in 1969, the Linnean Medal for Zoology by the Linnean Society in 1979, and the Muybridge Medal of the International Society for Biomechanics in 1991. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1987 and a Member of Academia Europaea in 1996.

Neill has been a prolific writer of papers and books. He has published about 250 scientific papers and has written 15 single author books; his Animal Mechanics was identified as a ‘Citation Classic’ in 1989. Many of his books run into several editions and have been translated into a number of languages. His interactive multimedia CD-ROM, How Animals Move, received EMMA awards for best natural history’ and ‘best general reference’ at the Frankfurt Book Fair in 1995.

He is a regular contributor and advisor to television, radio and newspapers on many aspects of zoology. His knowledge of dinosaurs has attracted particular accemion from the media and led to some memorable headlines!

Retirement will deprive Leeds’ undergraduates of his knowledge and enthusiasm, but his passion for zoology is unchecked and his researches will continue. He is currently involved in a European project to build large-scale, autonomous, moving dinosaurs for museums and exhibitions. He is also Editor of Proceedings B of the Royal Society. and Secretary to the Zoological Society of London. He is active on many other fronts as well, and we warmly wish him a long and fulfilling retirement.

J. D. Altringham and C. P. Ellington