2005 Salt Lake City Annual Meeting (October 16–19, 2005)

Paper No. 8
Presentation Time: 3:30 PM


DOTT Jr, Robert H., Geology and Geophysics, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53706, rdott@geology.wisc.edu

Ermine Cowles Case (1871-1953) of the University of Michigan was of the second generation of American vertebrate paleontologists and the first with formal training in the specialty. His cohort built upon the discoveries of the heroic era of great western surveys. His expeditions spanned the transition from horse-drawn wagons and primitive camps to early automobiles. Case's earliest research performed taxonomic damage control of results from the Cope-Marsh feud. He then embarked upon a monumental career studying Permo-Carboniferous vertebrates from the 'red beds' of Texas, New Mexico, and Oklahoma, building at Michigan one of the world's finest collections of such. He also collected extensively from the Jurassic at Como Bluff, Cretaceous of Kansas, and Cenozoic of the Green River Basin and Badlands. He was prolific (180 titles), but is remembered most for three great monographs about Permo-Carboniferous vertebrates published by the Carnegie Institution (1911, 1915, 1926) . Case was a gifted teacher much revered by students. A droll wit livened lectures, conversations and correspondence, to which I can attest personally. He took a special liking for my father and became an icon to young sister and me, who received clever letters illustrated with delightful sketches of dinosaurs and other extinct monsters. Case's work contributed enormously to the fossil record of evolution in which he saw an uninterrupted chain of forms --especially of Pelycosaurs, which he thought had culminated with the first mammals.