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William Diller Matthew Paleontologist  The Splendid Drama Observed cover
  • ISBN: 9780231079648
  • ISBN10: 0231079648

William Diller Matthew Paleontologist The Splendid Drama Observed

by Edwin H. Colbert

  • List Price: $79.00
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Columbia Univ Pr
  • Publish date: 11/01/1992
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William Diller Matthew (1871-1930), who could be called the Father of Mammalian Paleontology, occupies a major position in the history of North American paleontology. In his biography of this paleontologist's paleontologist, Edwin Colbert paints a compelling portrait of the scientist's life and work. Using personal letters, archives, and accounts from those who knew Will Matthew, Colbert presents a delightful and informative account of Matthew's experiences around the turn of the century, complete with photographs of his excavations, world travels, time in New York, family, and environs. Matthew's unique contribution to science rested on his dual perspective as both geologist and paleontologist. He diligently collected and catalogued fossils while at the same time noting stratigraphic details that gave significant time-related information on these fossils. Matthew wrote widely on paleontology at the turn of the century, but most well known is his extensive essay "Climate and Evolution", written in 1915, which attracted almost immediate attention from the paleontological-zoological community. Characteristic of his no-nonsense approach to his work, this essay remains vital and inspirational to paleontological researchers today. Will Matthew was also keen on reaching the public at large and published profusely in the American Museum Journal (which after 1918 became Natural History magazine), where he described his fossil finds, new exhibits, and other interesting research. He also published several American Museum guide leaflets on specific subjects, such as the horse. His informative description "'The Horse', wrote a small boy in his essay, 'is the square animal with a leg at eachcorner, '" - a definition that obviously charmed Matthew. Peppered with such anecdotes, the engaging and highly readable William Diller Matthew, Paleontologist: The Splendid Drama Observed vividly depicts a man respected and revered by many generations of scientists.
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