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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.
Department of Geology Director, Earth, Life & Time Program
University of Maryland College Park Scholars
Building 237, Room 1117
College Park, MD 20742
Phone: 301-405-4084 Email: email@example.com
Fax (Geol): 301-314-9661 Fax (CPS-ELT): 301-405-0796