George Gaylord Simpson (1902-1984)
"Hennig has indeed emphasized and defined some procedures of phylogenetic analysis that have long been used by systematists. He might even have clarified them if he had not unnecessarily replaced the usual plain-language terms by a bizarre and idiosyncratic new terminology." (1978)
Most influential paleontologist of the 20th century; the only major participant in the Modern Synthesis to come from that field. Wrote hundreds of technical papers in addition to many widely-read popular books and text books; leading expert on Mesozoic, Paleocene, and South American mammals, plus penguins. Arguably the first paleontologist to make consistent use of statistics, not just in alpha taxonomy, but in paleocology (Crazy Mountain Basin monograph) and in macroevolution (Darwin centennial paper).
Simpson was Matthew's field assistant in the summer of 1924, and replaced him at the AMNH when he left for Berkeley.
See also Léo Laporte's George Gaylord Simpson site.
Simpson in 1965. From Simpson, illustration following p. 140.
- Undergraduate, University of Colorado, 1918-1919, 1920-1922
- Undergraduate, Yale University, 1922-1923 (B.A. 1923)
- Ph.D. student, Yale University, 1923-1926
- Post-doctoral researcher, British Museum (Natural History), 1926-1927
- American Museum of Natural History, 1927-1959
- Assistant curator, Department of Vertebrate Paleontology, 1927-1942
- Curator, Department of Geology and Paleontology, 1945-1959
- Captain and later Major in the U.S. Army, 1942-1944
- Professor of zoology, Columbia University, 1945-1959
- Curator, Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University, 1959-1970
- Professor, Department of Geosciences, University of Arizona, 1967-1984
Students (list courtesy of Léo Laporte):
- Max K. Hecht (reptiles and amphibians)
- Louis L. Jacobs (fossil rodents)
- David B. Kitts (fossil mammals/philosophy of science)
- Giles T. McIntyre (fossil mammals)
- Eli C. Minkoff (fossil mammals/mammalian anatomy)
- John H. Ostrom (fossil birds and dinosaurs; later a student of E. H. Colbert)
- Leigh Van Valen (fossil mammals/evolutionary theory)
- "The Fort Union of the Crazy Mountain Field, Montana, and its mammalian faunas" Bull. Smith. Inst. U.S. Natl. Mus. 169:1-287 (1937)
- Tempo and Mode in Evolution (1944)
- Principles of Classification and a Classification of Mammals (1945)
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