Born in Dodge City, Kansas and raised in the Kansas City area, Martin Nickels is Professor of Physical Anthropology at Illinois State University in Normal. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Kansas in 1975.
His scholarly interests include the history of human evolutionary studies, hominin paleontology and prehistory, primate behavior, the biological bases of human behavior and the relationship between science and religion. He has been selected twice as the Outstanding University Teacher at Illinois State University (1991-92 and 1996-97). He was a Sigma Xi National Lecturer in 1995 and 1996.
He co-authored a college textbook entitled The Study of Physical Anthropology and Archaeology, and has authored or co-authored articles in The Sciences, The American Biology Teacher, Creation/Evolution and Current Anthropology.
He has recieved funding to support various professional activities from the National Science Foundation (along with Jean Beard and Craig Nelson), Sigma Xi Scientific Research Society, Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, John Templeton Foundation Science and Religion Course Program, Illinois Department of Conservation and Illinois State University. He is a member of several professional organizations.
Martin retired from ISU as Emeritus Professor of Anthropology in 2005. He is currently (2015) teaching part-time in the Fall semesters as an Adjunct Professor at Illinois Wesleyan University. He and his wife spend Winters in Florida.