James Parkinson, Paleontologist

Ann Arbor, Michigan — This morning I gave a talk at the North American Paleontological Convention (NAPC) about the extensive contributions that the English physician James Parkinson (1755-1824) made to the rapidly growing field of paleontology in the early 19th century. This was initially a surprise to me. I had earlier this year looked up details on the life of Parkinson because he is the namesake for Parkinson’s Disease, but was astonished to learn that he had published extensively on fossils. I joined with co-authors Bill Ausich (The Ohio State University) and Caroline Buttler (National Museum Wales) to explore Parkinson’s life and work and bring him to the attention of a new generation of paleontologists. We saw that Parkinson has been nearly forgotten in modern paleontology despite numerous prescient ideas. I’ve taken the PowerPoint slides of the presentation, removed the animations, and made it into the series of images here. I think they have enough text to convey an outline of Parkinson’s paleontology.

Thank you to my Israeli friend and colleague Yael Leshno Afriat for taking this image of me speaking at the NAPC session. This is the first talk I’ve ever given anywhere without a tie and jacket!

About Mark Wilson

Mark Wilson is a Professor of Geology at The College of Wooster. He specializes in invertebrate paleontology, carbonate sedimentology, and stratigraphy. He also is an expert on pseudoscience, especially creationism.
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One Response to James Parkinson, Paleontologist

  1. gwiles says:

    Nice thorough job and tribute, this, and your recent lecture on J Harland Bretz is an inspiration to look at again, and rediscover those who came before us. Thank you.

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