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The Ostromidae


I have just returned to the office after coming back from Japan, to the sad 
news about John Ostrom's death. It isn't terribly a
shock as such, but it is still sad now that it has happened.

The modern vision of Dinosauria stems primarily from Ostrom's work. When he got 
into the field, dinosaurs were stupid
swamp-dwellers, generally unworthy of research by real scientists. There were 
only a tiny number of dinosaur researchers working at
the middle of the 20th Century. At the time of his passing, dinosaur 
paleontologists are at least as productive as
paleomammologists, and our understanding of these creatures has been forever 

David Peter's asked about the academic lineage of Ostrom. Going back in time 
takes us along a direct chain to T.H. Huxley > H.F.
Osborn > W.K. Gregory > Ned Colbert > John.

Ostrom himself was one of the most prolific in the number of influential 
students he talked. Bakker was an undergraduate with him; I
have no idea how many others fall under that category.

Among the ostromid graduate students are (by no means inclusive here, just the 
ones I can think of off hand): Jim Mead, Phil
Gingerich, Peter Dodson, Kevin Padian, Jim Farlow (who finished up in a 
different field, but obviously came back to paleo!), Mike
Fracasso, Glenn Storrs, Mark Norell, Makoto Manabe, me, Christine Chandler, Dan 
Brinkman, Lana McNeil. Via Peter Dodson we got Cathy
Forster (and thence Kristina Curry-Rogers), Anusya Chinsamy, Tony Fiorillo, 
Dave Weishampel (and thence Larry Witmer (and now HIS
students), Brenda Chinnery, and others), Josh Smith, Matt Lamanna, Jerry 
Harris. Via Padian we get Jacques Gauthier (and from him
recent Yale graduates such as Julia Clarke), Tim Rowe (and his students out of 
UT Austin, like Chris Brochu, John Merck, etc.), John
Hutchinson, and others. Makoto is advising a number of students in Japan, and 
has really increased academic vertebrate paleontology
in Japan. Norell has obviously been extremely influential!! Through me, there 
are a few on the way...

Ostrom will be missed, but his impact will last for a long time.

                Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
                Vertebrate Paleontologist
Department of Geology           Director, Earth, Life & Time Program
University of Maryland          College Park Scholars
        Mailing Address:
                Building 237, Room 1117
                College Park, MD  20742

Phone:  301-405-4084    Email:  tholtz@geol.umd.edu
Fax (Geol):  301-314-9661       Fax (CPS-ELT): 301-405-0796