There are several paths to being a great paleontologist. You can be an intrepid discoverer of fossils and fossil deposits. You can influence the field through fresh hypotheses, innovative analyses, and novel syntheses. You can teach and popularize paleontology so that others can see how satisfying and important it is to know the history of life. Very few of us have ever been outstanding in all three of these ways, but Kay Behrensmeyer is, and that’s why she is so deserving of the Paleontological Society Medal.

Kay’s fascination with the natural world was kindled by childhood explorations of her family’s...

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