Arthur Smith Woodward’s fossil fish type specimens
Emma Louise Bernard, Mike Smith, 2016. "Arthur Smith Woodward’s fossil fish type specimens", Arthur Smith Woodward: His Life and Influence on Modern Vertebrate Palaeontology, Z. Johanson, P. M. Barrett, M. Richter, M. Smith
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Four years after joining the Natural History Department of the British Museum in 1882, Arthur Smith Woodward published his first taxonomic paper erecting three new species based on sharks’ teeth. He retired from the Natural History Museum in 1924 but continued to publish until his death in 1944 at the age of 80. In total he named 321 new fossil fishes, a remarkable achievement, marking him out as the most influential palaeoichthyologist of his time. For the first time brief details of all his type specimens are brought together, accompanied in many cases by high-quality photographic images, in an online format readily available to anyone with access to the Internet.
Details of all the Smith Woodward type specimens, including images, are available at http://www.geolsoc.org.uk/SUP18874
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Arthur Smith Woodward was the Natural History Museum’s longest-serving Keeper of Geology and the world’s leading expert on fossil fish. He was also an unwitting victim of the Piltdown fraud, which overshadowed his important scientific contributions. The aim of this book is to honour Smith Woodward’s contributions to vertebrate palaeontology, discuss their relevance today and provide insights into the factors that made him such an eminent scientist. The last few years have seen a resurgence in fossil vertebrate (particularly fish) palaeontology, including new techniques for the ‘virtual’ study of fossils (synchrotron and micro CT-scanning) and new research foci, such as ‘Evo-Devo’ – combining fossils with the development of living animals. This new research is built on a strong foundation, like that provided by Smith Woodward’s work. This collection of papers, authored by some of the leading experts in their fields, covers the many facets of Smith Woodward’s life, legacy and career. It will be a benchmark for studies on one of the leading vertebrate palaeontologists of his generation.