Celebrating 18 Years on the Web
TODAY IN SCIENCE HISTORY ®
Find science on or your birthday

Today in Science History - Quickie Quiz
Who said: “I believe that this Nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to earth.”
more quiz questions >>
Home > Category Index for Science Quotations > Category Index P > Category: Paleontologist

Paleontologist Quotes (15 quotes)
Palaeontologist Quotes


As long as museums and universities send out expeditions to bring to light new forms of living and extinct animals and new data illustrating the interrelations of organisms and their environments, as long as anatomists desire a broad comparative basis human for anatomy, as long as even a few students feel a strong curiosity to learn about the course of evolution and relationships of animals, the old problems of taxonomy, phylogeny and evolution will gradually reassert themselves even in competition with brilliant and highly fruitful laboratory studies in cytology, genetics and physiological chemistry.
'Genetics Versus Paleontology', The American Naturalist, 1917, 51, 623.
Science quotes on:  |  Genetics (98)

Experimental geology has this in common with all other branches of our science, petrology and palaeontology included, that in the long run it withers indoors.
'Experiments in Geology', Transactions of the Geological Society of Glasgow (1958), 23, 25.
Science quotes on:  |  Experiment (543)  |  Geology (187)  |  Indoors (2)  |  Science (1699)

I don’t like to say bad things about paleontologists, but they’re really not very good scientists. They’re more like stamp collectors.
Defending his dinosaur extinction comet theory against skeptics. Quoted as from a telephone interview, Malcolm W. Browne, 'The Debate Over Dinosaur Extinctions Takes an Unusually Rancorous Turn', New York Times (19 Jan 1988), C1.

I view the major features of my own odyssey as a set of mostly fortunate contingencies. I was not destined by inherited mentality or family tradition to become a paleontologist. I can locate no tradition for scientific or intellectual careers anywhere on either side of my eastern European Jewish background ... I view my serious and lifelong commitment to baseball in entirely the same manner: purely as a contingent circumstance of numerous, albeit not entirely capricious, accidents.
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Accident (54)  |  Anywhere (11)  |  Background (24)  |  Baseball (3)  |  Become (100)  |  Capricious (3)  |  Career (54)  |  Circumstance (48)  |  Commitment (11)  |  Contingency (11)  |  Contingent (8)  |  Destined (5)  |  Eastern (2)  |  Entirely (23)  |  European (5)  |  Family (37)  |  Feature (34)  |  Fortunate (4)  |  Inherit (13)  |  Intellectual (79)  |  Jewish (8)  |  Lifelong (8)  |  Locate (4)  |  Major (24)  |  Manner (35)  |  Mentality (5)  |  Numerous (21)  |  Purely (15)  |  Same (92)  |  Scientific (169)  |  Serious (37)  |  Set (56)  |  Side (36)  |  Tradition (43)  |  View (115)

In a manner which matches the fortuity, if not the consequence, of Archimedes’ bath and Newton’s apple, the [3.6 million year old] fossil footprints were eventually noticed one evening in September 1976 by the paleontologist Andrew Hill, who fell while avoiding a ball of elephant dung hurled at him by the ecologist David Western.
Missing Links: The Hunt for Earliest Man
Science quotes on:  |  Apple (33)  |  Archimedes (22)  |  Avoid (34)  |  Ball (20)  |  Bath (7)  |  Consequence (76)  |  David (5)  |  Dung (4)  |  Ecologist (6)  |  Elephant (16)  |  Eventually (14)  |  Fall (89)  |  Footprint (12)  |  Fossil (107)  |  Hill (19)  |  Hurl (2)  |  Manner (35)  |  Match (13)  |  Million (89)  |  Newton (9)  |  Notice (20)  |  Old (104)  |  September (2)  |  Western (14)  |  Year (214)

In order to survive, an animal must be born into a favoring or at least tolerant environment. Similarly, in order to achieve preservation and recognition, a specimen of fossil man must be discovered in intelligence, attested by scientific knowledge, and interpreted by evolutionary experience. These rigorous prerequisites have undoubtedly caused many still-births in human palaeontology and are partly responsible for the high infant mortality of discoveries of geologically ancient man.
Apes, Men and Morons (1938), 106.
Science quotes on:  |  Anthropology (51)  |  Excavation (5)  |  Fossil (107)  |  Interpretation (61)  |  Knowledge (1128)

It may be said of many palaeontologists, as Professor Hugh Trevor-Roper said recently of 18th century historians: “Their most serious error was to measure the past by the present”.
In The Nature of the Stratigraphical Record (1973), 26.
Science quotes on:  |  18th Century (17)  |  Error (230)  |  Historian (30)  |  Measurement (148)  |  Past (109)  |  Present (103)  |  Serious (37)

I’m not an historian but I can get interested—obsessively interested—with any aspect of the past, whether it’s palaeontology or archaeology or the very recent past.
Interview with Robert McCrum, in The Observer (26 Aug 2001).
Science quotes on:  |  Archaeology (42)  |  Aspect (37)  |  Historian (30)  |  Interest (170)  |  Past (109)  |  Recent (23)

Mary Anning [is] probably the most important unsung (or inadequately sung) collecting force in the history of paleontology.
In Stephen Jay Gould and Rosamond Wolffe Purcell, Finders, Keepers: Eight Collectors (1992), 100.
Science quotes on:  |  Mary Anning (3)  |  Collection (38)  |  History (302)  |  Importance (183)  |  Unsung (2)

Palaeontologists cannot live by uniformitarianism alone. This may be termed the Phenomenon of the Fallibility of the Fossil Record.
In The Nature of the Stratigraphical Record (1973), 26.
Science quotes on:  |  Fossil (107)

Palaeontology is the Aladdin's lamp of the most deserted and lifeless regions of the earth; it touches the rocks and there spring forth in orderly succession the monarchs of the past and the ancient river streams and savannahs wherein they flourished. The rocks usually hide their story in the most difficult and inaccessible places.
On the Trail of Ancient Man (1926), x.
Science quotes on:  |  Rock (107)

Paleontology is a very visual inquiry. All paleontologists scribble on napkins at coffee breaks, making sketches to explain their thinking
Science quotes on:  |  Explain (61)  |  Inquiry (33)  |  Napkin (2)  |  Paleontology (29)  |  Scribble (4)  |  Sketch (4)  |  Thinking (222)  |  Visual (9)

Several very eminent living paleontologists frequently emphasise the abruptness of some of the major changes that have occurred, and seek for an external cause. This is a heady wine and has intoxicated palaeontologists since the days when they could blame it all on Noah's flood. In fact, books are still being published by the lunatic fringe with the same explanation. In case this book should be read by some fundamentalist searching for straws to prop up his prejudices, let me state categorically that all my experience (such as it is) has led me to an unqualified acceptance of evolution by natural selection as a sufficient explanation for what I have seen in the fossil record
In The Nature of the Stratigraphical Record (1973), 19-20.
Science quotes on:  |  Abruptness (2)  |  Acceptance (41)  |  Blame (17)  |  Book (181)  |  Cause (231)  |  Change (291)  |  Eminent (6)  |  Emphasis (14)  |  Evolution (482)  |  Experience (268)  |  Explanation (161)  |  External (45)  |  Fossil (107)  |  Fundamentalist (4)  |  Heady (2)  |  Intoxication (5)  |  Major (24)  |  Natural Selection (79)  |  Occurrence (30)  |  Prejudice (58)  |  Prop (6)  |  Publish (18)  |  Reading (51)  |  Record (56)  |  Search (85)  |  Seeking (30)  |  Straw (5)  |  Sufficient (24)  |  Wine (23)

The geologist strides across the landscape to get the big picture, but the paleontologist stays at one spot or shuffles along looking at the ground for his pet objects.
'Fossils—The How and Why of Collecting and Storing', Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington (1969), 82, 590.
Science quotes on:  |  Geologist (42)  |  Ground (63)  |  Landscape (23)  |  Look (46)  |  Object (110)  |  Pet (7)  |  Shuffle (4)  |  Spot (11)  |  Stride (7)

You will never convince some palaeontologists that an impact killed the dinosaurs unless you find a dinosaur skeleton with a crushed skull and a ring of iridium round the hole.
Quoted in 'Extinction Wars' by Stell Weisburd, Science News (1 Feb 1986), 77.
Science quotes on:  |  Dinosaur (23)  |  Extinction (55)  |  Impact (21)  |  Iridium (3)  |  Skeleton (15)  |  Skull (5)


Carl Sagan Thumbnail In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) -- Carl Sagan
Quotations by:Albert EinsteinIsaac NewtonLord KelvinCharles DarwinSrinivasa RamanujanCarl SaganFlorence NightingaleThomas EdisonAristotleMarie CurieBenjamin FranklinWinston ChurchillGalileo GalileiSigmund FreudRobert BunsenLouis PasteurTheodore RooseveltAbraham LincolnRonald ReaganLeonardo DaVinciMichio KakuKarl PopperJohann GoetheRobert OppenheimerCharles Kettering  ... (more people)

Quotations about:Atomic  BombBiologyChemistryDeforestationEngineeringAnatomyAstronomyBacteriaBiochemistryBotanyConservationDinosaurEnvironmentFractalGeneticsGeologyHistory of ScienceInventionJupiterKnowledgeLoveMathematicsMeasurementMedicineNatural ResourceOrganic ChemistryPhysicsPhysicianQuantum TheoryResearchScience and ArtTeacherTechnologyUniverseVolcanoVirusWind PowerWomen ScientistsX-RaysYouthZoology  ... (more topics)
Sitewide search within all Today In Science History pages:
Visit our Science and Scientist Quotations index for more Science Quotes from archaeologists, biologists, chemists, geologists, inventors and inventions, mathematicians, physicists, pioneers in medicine, science events and technology.

Names index: | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z |

Categories index: | 1 | 2 | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z |

- 100 -
Sophie Germain
Gertrude Elion
Ernest Rutherford
James Chadwick
Marcel Proust
William Harvey
Johann Goethe
John Keynes
Carl Gauss
Paul Feyerabend
- 90 -
Antoine Lavoisier
Lise Meitner
Charles Babbage
Ibn Khaldun
Euclid
Ralph Emerson
Robert Bunsen
Frederick Banting
Andre Ampere
Winston Churchill
- 80 -
John Locke
Bronislaw Malinowski
Bible
Thomas Huxley
Alessandro Volta
Erwin Schrodinger
Wilhelm Roentgen
Louis Pasteur
Bertrand Russell
Jean Lamarck
- 70 -
Samuel Morse
John Wheeler
Nicolaus Copernicus
Robert Fulton
Pierre Laplace
Humphry Davy
Thomas Edison
Lord Kelvin
Theodore Roosevelt
Carolus Linnaeus
- 60 -
Francis Galton
Linus Pauling
Immanuel Kant
Martin Fischer
Robert Boyle
Karl Popper
Paul Dirac
Avicenna
James Watson
William Shakespeare
- 50 -
Stephen Hawking
Niels Bohr
Nikola Tesla
Rachel Carson
Max Planck
Henry Adams
Richard Dawkins
Werner Heisenberg
Alfred Wegener
John Dalton
- 40 -
Pierre Fermat
Edward Wilson
Johannes Kepler
Gustave Eiffel
Giordano Bruno
JJ Thomson
Thomas Kuhn
Leonardo DaVinci
Archimedes
David Hume
- 30 -
Andreas Vesalius
Rudolf Virchow
Richard Feynman
James Hutton
Alexander Fleming
Emile Durkheim
Benjamin Franklin
Robert Oppenheimer
Robert Hooke
Charles Kettering
- 20 -
Carl Sagan
James Maxwell
Marie Curie
Rene Descartes
Francis Crick
Hippocrates
Michael Faraday
Srinivasa Ramanujan
Francis Bacon
Galileo Galilei
- 10 -
Aristotle
John Watson
Rosalind Franklin
Michio Kaku
Isaac Asimov
Charles Darwin
Sigmund Freud
Albert Einstein
Florence Nightingale
Isaac Newton



who invites your feedback
Thank you for sharing.
Today in Science History
Sign up for Newsletter
with quiz, quotes and more.