Harry B. Whittington

Harry B. Whittington
Harry Blackmore Whittington

(1916-03-24)24 March 1916
Birmingham, England
Died20 June 2010(2010-06-20) (aged 94)
Cambridge, England
Alma materUniversity of Birmingham (BSc, PhD)
Known forFossils of the Burgess Shale
Cambrian Explosion
Dorothy Arnold
(m. 1940; died 1997)
AwardsBigsby Medal (1957)
Fellow of the Royal Society (1971)
Paleontological Society Medal (1983)
Lyell Medal (1986)
Mary Clark Thompson Medal (1990)
Lapworth Medal (2000)
International Prize for Biology (2001)
Wollaston Medal (2001)
Scientific career
InstitutionsUniversity of Cambridge
University of Rangoon
Yale University
Jinling Women's University
Harvard University
Museum of Comparative Zoology
Doctoral advisorFrederick William Shotton
Other academic advisorsLeonard Johnston Wills
Notable studentsFrank H. T. Rhodes
Richard A. Fortey
Derek Briggs
Simon Conway Morris

Harry Blackmore Whittington FRS (24 March 1916 – 20 June 2010) was a British palaeontologist who made a major contribution to the study of fossils of the Burgess Shale and other Cambrian fauna.[1] His works are largely responsible for the concept of Cambrian explosion, whereby modern animal body plans are explained to originate during a short span of geological period. With initial work on trilobites, his discoveries revealed that these arthropods were the most diversified of all invertebrates during the Cambrian Period. He was responsible for setting the standard for naming and describing the delicate fossils preserved in Konservat-Lagerstätten.

After completing his PhD from the University of Birmingham, Whittington spent much of his career out of Britain. He started his professional career at the University of Rangoon, Burma. Then he moved to China to teach at Ginling Women's College. After the end of World War II, he moved to Harvard University to become Professor of Palaeontology, and simultaneously Curator of Invertebrate Palaeontology at the Museum of Comparative Zoology. It was during this period that he began his major works in palaeontological research. Towards the last part of his career, he returned to England as Woodwardian Chair in Geology at the Department of Earth Sciences, University of Cambridge and was affiliated to Sidney Sussex College.

  1. ^ Fortey, R. A. (2012). "Harry Blackmore Whittington. 24 March 1916 – 20 June 2010". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society. 58: 299–325. doi:10.1098/rsbm.2012.0033.

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