Edwin Harris Colbert (1905-2001)

American vertebrate paleontologist best known for writing a series of popular books on paleontology and dinosaurs. During his early years at the American Museum, Colbert worked on fossil mammals such as North American peccaries and ungulates from the Siwaliks. He was one of several scientists who worked on Osborn's scientific monographs without being given proper credit. Colbert studied under Gregory, married Margaret Matthew, W. D. Matthew's daughter, and eventually wrote a biography of Matthew. Colbert excavated of a large series of Coelophysis skeletons at Ghost Ranch Quarry in 1947 (Coelophysis is a small, primitive late Triassic theropod dinosaur). Colbert - unlike Simpson - was one of the few paleontologists to quickly accept the theory of continental drift, and his 1969 discovery of the dicynodont (mammal-like reptile) Lystrosaurus in Antarctica spurred the theory's acceptance, because the same land-dwelling animal had been found in Asia and South Africa and its distribution could not be explained easily by dispersal.


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