George Gaylord Simpson was one of the greatest and most influential paleontologists of all time. He made crucial contributions to evolutionary theory and played a vital role in developing the understanding of intercontinental migrations of extinct mammals.
Early Life and Education:
George Gaylord Simpson was born in Chicago in 1902. He grew up in Denver and graduated from the University of Colorado. He earned a doctorate from Yale University in 1926. Simpson worked at the American Museum of Natural History for almost three decades.
Contributions and Achievements:
Simpson taught at the universities of Columbia, Arizona and Harvard. He was a prolific author, having published about 500 books and articles about topics as diverse as primitive Mesozoic mammals of the American west, to Tertiary faunas of North and South America, to statistics, taxonomy and evolution. Some of his major works include “Tempo and mode in evolution” (1944), “The meaning of evolution” (1949) and “The major features of evolution” (1953).
He is widely considered to be one of the founders of the Synthetic Theory of Evolution. Simpson was physically a weak and frail person, but he was a indefatigable field geologist.
Later Life and Death:
George Gaylord Simpson worked as a Professor of Geosciences at the University of Arizona until his retirement in 1982. He died on October 6, 1984. He was 82 years old.