Widely regarded as one of the most influential personalities in the history of mankind, Charles Darwin was an English biologist, naturalist, and geologist. He is credited with publishing the Theory of Evolution, which explains the evolution of life from a unicellular organism to human beings. A prolific writer, Charles Darwin also wrote important books on plants and barnacles.
Stephen Jay Gould was an American evolutionary biologist, paleontologist, and historian of science. One of the most widely read and influential authors of popular science, Gould was named a Living Legend in April 2000 by the US Library of Congress. He is also counted among the most frequently cited scientists, as far as evolutionary theory is concerned.
French paleontologist and Jesuit priest Pierre Teilhard de Chardin is remembered as someone who deviated from theology to science. He discovered the fossilized remains known as the Peking man in China, but faced a lot of opposition from his religious superiors when it came to publishing his scientific thoughts.
Born to anthropologist parents, Richard Leakey initially worked as a safari guide. On an expedition to Ethiopia, he and his men stumbled upon Koobi Fora, a site where they unearthed numerous tools and fossils. The Kenyan paleoanthropologist later lost his legs in a plane crash and now uses artificial limbs.
British paleoanthropologist Mary Leakey had exhibited her interest in drawing and archaeology as a kid. Most of her career was spent working alongside her husband, Louis Leakey. She was in charge of many excavation projects in Kenya. Her discoveries include the first Proconsul skull fossil and 15 new animal species.
Roy Chapman Andrews was an American adventurer, explorer, and naturalist. He is best remembered for his association with the American Museum of Natural History where he also served as the director. Andrews is credited with bringing to the museum the first-known fossil dinosaur eggs. His life and career are said to have inspired George Lucas' famous character, Indiana Jones.
Tim Flannery is an Australian paleontologist, mammalogist, environmentalist, explorer, conservationist, and public scientist. Tim Flannery is credited with discovering over 30 mammal species. He is also credited with co-founding Climate Council, a non-profit organization that aims at providing accurate information on climate change to the Australian public. In 2007, Tim Flannery was named Australian of the Year.
Caitlín R. Kiernan is an Irish-born American author and paleontologist. A two-time winner of both the Bram Stoker and World Fantasy awards, Kiernan has written over 250 short stories and several novels. She has also won several other prestigious awards, such as the International Horror Guild Award, Barnes and Noble Maiden Voyage Award, and James Tiptree, Jr. Award.
Robert T. Bakker is an American paleontologist known for his studies concerning dinosaurs. Bakker helped reform modern theories pertaining to dinosaurs. He also played a major role in instituting the ongoing dinosaur renaissance. Bakker has been an important supporter of the theory that dinosaurs were smart, fast, and warm-blooded. He was one of the advisors for the movie Jurassic Park.
12 Jack Horner
One of the world’s best-known paleontologists, Jack Horner is known for discovering the duck-billed dinosaur genus named Maiasaura. The Romer-Simpson Medal winner had unearthed his first dinosaur fossil at age 8. He has also been a technical advisor for the Jurassic Park movies and had a cameo in Jurassic World.
Henry Fairfield Osborn was an American geologist, paleontologist, and eugenics advocate. He is best remembered for his association with the American Museum of Natural History where he served as the president for 25 years. Osborn is also remembered for developing his own evolutionary theory which he called the Dawn Man Theory.
George Gaylord Simpson was an American paleontologist. He was one of the 20th century's most influential paleontologists. Simpson, who wrote extensively on the taxonomy of extant mammals and fossils, is credited with coining the word hypodigm. From 1945 to 1959, he served as the curator of the Department of Paleontology and Geology at the American Museum of Natural History.
British embryologist C.H. Waddington had studied paleontology before turning to biology. A professor of zoology and embryology, he later also taught animal genetics. His interests also included poetry, painting, and Marxism. He introduced concepts such as epigenetic landscape and genetic assimilation, and penned books such as Principles of Embryology.
18 Paul Sereno
Paul Sereno is an American professor of paleontology who works at the University of Chicago. Sereno also serves as an explorer-in-residence for National Geographic and is credited with discovering many new dinosaur species, including an almost complete specimen of SuperCroc. Over the years, Paul Sereno and his discoveries have been featured in several documentaries.
20 Birbal Sahni
Birbal Sahni was a pioneer of palaeobotanical research in India. The founder of the Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeobotany, he also taught botany at BHU and Lucknow University. He was also interested in music and tennis, and loved collecting coins. He was a Fellow of The Royal Society, too.
21 Eduard Suess
22 Joseph Leidy
Joseph Leidy was an American parasitologist, paleontologist, and anatomist. He is credited with writing an influential and important book titled Extinct Fauna of Dakota and Nebraska which housed several previously unknown and not described species. He also served as a professor at many educational institutions, including the University of Pennsylvania and Swarthmore College.
Daniel Lieberman is an American paleoanthropologist best known for his association with Harvard University where he holds important positions. Lieberman is also known for his studies and research on the evolution of the human body and the human head. Over the years, he has been honored with several awards, including the IgNobel Prize in Physics.
25 John Ostrom
John Ostrom was an American paleontologist who helped transform the modern understanding of dinosaurs during the '60s. His work helped inspire a new generation of dinosaur films as he proved that dinosaurs were more agile and dangerous than previously thought. In 1966, Ostrom played a major role in the founding of Dinosaur State Park and Arboretum in Rocky Hill, Connecticut.
Franz Weidenreich was a German physical anthropologist and anatomist. Weidenreich, who studied evolution, is credited with pioneering the multiregional hypothesis which provides a different explanation to the standardized recent African origin model (RAO) of monogenesis. The Weidenreich Theory was supported by several anthropologists, including Carleton S. Coon.
29 Alfred Romer
Alfred Romer was an American biologist and paleontologist who specialized in vertebrate evolution. He is credited with authoring an influential book titled Vertebrate Paleontology, which paved the way for the traditional classification of vertebrates. Alfred Romer is also credited with popularizing a diagram called romerogram which represents taxonomic diversity against geological time.
30 Dorothy Hill
Swedish geologist and archaeologist Johan Gunnar Andersson was one of the pioneers of the study on prehistoric China. He discovered the origins of what later came to be known as the Yangshao culture. The Vega Medal winner also penned works such as Children of the Yellow Earth.
Kenneth Lacovara is an American paleontologist who works at Rowan University. Lacovara is credited with the discovery of Dreadnoughtus. He was also involved in the discovery of the Paralititan. In 2017, he published his book Why Dinosaurs Matter which earned him a Nautilus Book Award. He has also been honored by the Explorers Club with the prestigious Explorers Club Medal.
34 Paul Gervais
Alexander Wetmore was an American avian paleontologist and ornithologist who served as the Secretary of the popular Smithsonian Institution from 1945 to 1952. He also served as the president of The Explorers Club from 1944 to 1946. Alexander Wetmore is also remembered for his influential 4-volume book, Birds of the Republic of Panama.
37 James Hall
Best known for his contribution to the geosynclinal theory of mountain building, paleontologist and geologist James Hall had also taught at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and worked at the Geological Survey of New York. The National Academy of Sciences member had also penned works such as The Paleontology of New York.
David M. Raup was an American paleontologist who worked at the University of Chicago. Raup is best remembered for his contribution to the knowledge and database of extinction events. In 2002, David M. Raup was inducted into the American Philosophical Society.
Brian Axsmith was an American paleoecologist and paleobotanist. He also taught evolutionary biology, ecology, and the evolution of vascular plants at the University of South Alabama. Brian Axsmith is credited with discovering fossilized pollen, fossilized Pterocarya wingnuts, and the post-Eocene fossil records of the ironwood trees.
Nathaniel Shaler was an American geologist and paleontologist. He is best remembered for his writings on the scientific and theological implications of the theory of evolution. Shaler is also remembered for his association with Harvard University where he served as Dean of Sciences. He was also regarded as one of the most popular teachers in the university.
Alpheus Hyatt was an American paleontologist and zoologist. He is credited with co-founding a scientific journal named The American Naturalist for which he served as the editor between 1867 and 1870. He also served as the professor of zoology and paleontology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he taught for 18 years.
Born to German immigrants in New York, Amadeus William Grabau had initially apprenticed as a bookbinder and later studied geology at MIT and Harvard. His research on stratigraphy and paleoecology in China earned him the title of the father of Chinese geology. He has also worked for the Japanese Army.
William Diller Matthew was a paleontologist best remembered for his work on mammal fossils. He is also remembered for serving as the curator at the American Museum of Natural History from the 1890s to 1927. From 1927 to 1930, he also worked at the University of California Museum of Paleontology where he served as the director.