In Memorium: paleontologist Robert L. Carroll

Figure 1. Robert L. Carroll in his younger days.

Figure 1. Robert L. Carroll in his younger days.

Robert L. ‘Bob’ Carroll (1938-2020):
a warm-hearted, kind, and knowledgeable professor, always eager to answer a question.

Earlier, we looked at the impact of his major work from 1988, the textbook ‘Vertebrate Paleontology.’ That ‘must-have’ volume was a prime resource for many students and professors for decades. Some considered it ‘The Bible’ of our profession.

We all enter science to make a contribution. Carroll made his in small and large ways, not only by describing and illustrating many of his own discoveries, but by working with others to bring them all together between book covers in the pre-cladistic era. His work will remain on our library shelves. was built on that foundation and stands on the shoulders of this giant.

Use key word “Carroll” to see the index of all the taxa RL Carroll helped describe and covered in this blogpost.

A few days later this link goes into detail on RL Carroll’s career.

Headline: “Vertebrate palaeontologist who recognized and described the oldest known ancestor of all reptiles birds and mammals; the origins of terrestrial vertebrates, the origin of various amphibians such as frogs and salamanders.” 

Subhead: “Any high-school kid can go out and make fossil discoveries.”

Caveat: Some of those hypotheses have been superseded by more recent discoveries (e.g. “Hylonomus lyelli, shown here, is the oldest known reptile (315 million years)”… “Another paleontological mystery: where did turtles come from? Nobody knows.”)

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