Robert Ardrey (October 16, 1908 – January 14, 1980) was an American playwright, screenwriter and science writer perhaps best known for The Territorial Imperative (1966). After a Broadway and Hollywood career, he returned to his academic training in anthropology and the behavioral sciences in the 1950s.
As a playwright and screenwriter Ardrey received many accolades. He was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1937, won the inaugural Sidney Howard Memorial Award in 1940, and in 1966 received an Academy Award nomination for best screenplay for his script for Khartoum. His most famous play, Thunder Rock, is widely considered an international classic.
Ardrey's scientific work played a major role in overturning long-standing assumptions in the social sciences. In particular, both African Genesis (1961) and The Territorial Imperative (1966), two of his most widely read works, were instrumental in changing scientific doctrine and increasing public awareness of evolutionary science. His work was so popular that many prominent scientists cite it as inspiring them to enter their fields.