STL Science Center

STL Science Center

13 June 2014

Fast-forwarding Science

A.S. Romer 1922, courtesy of the
HPS RepositoryArizona State University
While not starting out specifically as a comparative anatomist, Alfred Sherwood Romer is one of the most important names in vertebrate paleontology since paleontology became recognized as a legitimate discipline. Thought of as one of the most influential paleontologists, anatomists, and embryologists of the 20th century Romer, like Cuvier, advanced the science of paleontology by leaps and bounds during his lifetime. He founded the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology and served as its first president, wrote scores of important works on anatomy, evolution, and embryology, and taught a generation of paleontologists that are now reaching into a 5th generation of graduate level students (graduate pedigrees are well documented for advisors like Romer). His life spanned from 1894 to 1973 and during that time he became a legend unto himself in his chosen areas. He used his love of the discipline to reach other disciplines and educate anyone that would listen and his written works are still used today because they are such comprehensive and straightforward research treasure troves. Anyone that has cracked open any of his works can attest to how willing he was to give credit where it is due; I noticed in a copy of the Osteology of Reptiles that he openly acknowledged and credited SW Williston's publication of the same title as laying the groundwork for his book. This week I plan to explore his 50+ year career and discuss some of the reasons that he is as highly respected as he is!

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