Bruce Rubidge was born in Graaff-Reinet in 1956 and grew up on the family farm in the district. From an early age he became interested in fossils, collecting his first worthwhile fossil, a gorgonopsian, at the age of 5. He received his schooling at the Union High School, Graaff-Reinet and later St Andrew’s College, Grahamstown. He attended the University of Stellenbosch where he achieved his BSc; BSc (Hons) cum laude; MSc cum laude.
In 1980 Rubidge was appointed as a researcher in the Palaeontology Department of the National Museum, Bloemfontein, becoming Head of the Department in 1981. While in the employ of the National Museum he completed a PhD through the Geology Department of the University of Port Elizabeth. In 1990 he was appointed Director of the Bernard Price Institute for Palaeontological Research, and Head of the Palaeontology Department of the University of the Witwatersrand.
He has published 85 articles in national and international scientific journals on various aspects of vertebrate palaeontology as well as bio- and litho- stratigraphy and sedimentology of Permian-Triasssic rocks of southern Africa. He serves on several national and international heritage and geoscience-related committees.