First vertebrate paleontologist to be employed on the West Coast. Merriam was neither prolific nor particularly skilled as a taxonomist, but he did get the heiress Annie Montague Alexander involved in supporting VP research at Berkeley; she founded both the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology and the Museum of Paleontology. When Merriam quit research to become the director of the Carnegie Institution of Washington in the 1920s, he continued the financial support that had made T. H. Morgan's "fly room" research group world-wide leaders in the field of genetics. Founding member of the Galton Society and political supporter of eugenics (albeit with increasing caution) through the 1930s. Not to be confused with the mammalogist C. H. Merriam.
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