Some Biogeographers, Evolutionists and Ecologists:
Dawson, George Mercer (Canada 1849-1901)
|from Wikipedia.org |Dawson
was the son of the great geologist Sir John William Dawson (1820-1899),
and very nearly managed to match his father's accomplishments despite
being severely hampered by Potts Disease (tuberculosis of the spine),
which both ended his growth at age twelve, and left him very physically
deformed. Notwithstanding this setback, he persevered to become a
brilliant field geologist who geologically explored large portions
of northwestern Canada, generated large paleontological collections,
executed extensive survey and mapping operations, and investigated
the area's mineralogical potential. He also carried out detailed and
influential ethnological investigations. Dawson, Yukon, is named for
him. His character may be judged from the meaning of the name given
him by his native guide during the early years of his work in the
Northwest: "brave, cheery man." As an administrator he was somewhat
less successful, but as a professional scientist and writer of reports
he was highly admired. The premature end of this very remarkable man's
life came from an attack of bronchitis: he apparently was an inveterate
--born in Pictou, Nova Scotia, on 1 August 1849.
--1858: contracts tuberculosis of the spine (Pott's disease) and is left
with serious physical deformities
--1868-1869: attends McGill College, Montreal
--1869: dredges for foraminifers at Gaspé; travels to England
--1870: publishes a paper on the geographical distribution of foraminifers
--1872: graduates with honors from the Royal School of Mines, Kensington,
U. K.; returns to Canada to teach at Morrin College, Quebec
--1874: joins the international boundary survey from Lake of the Woods
to British Columbia; discovers fossil evidence of dinosaurs near Lake
of the Woods
--1875: publishes his Report
on the Geology and Resources of the Region in the Vicinity of the Forty-ninth
--1878: visits the Queen Charlotte Islands (off the coast of British
--1879: publishes a report on Haida culture and language
--1883: becomes assistant director of the Geological Society of Canada
--1884: appointed by the British Association for the Advancement of Science
to study the native Americans of northwestern Canada
--1885-1886: acting director of the GSC
--1887: leads a survey into the Yukon territory; publishes a geological
map of the territory
--1889: publishes a study of the mineral wealth of British Columbia
--1891: made a fellow of the Royal Society of London; earns Geological
Society of London's Bigsby medal
--1893: associate editor, Journal of Geology (Chicago); president,
Royal Society of Canada
--1895: made director of the GSC
--1897: chairs an ethnological survey of Canada; awarded the Royal Geographical
Society's gold medal
--1898: Dawson City, Yukon Territory, named after him; made vice-president
of the Canadian Institute of Mining
--1900: elected president of the Geological Society of America
--dies at Victoria Chambers, Ottawa, on 2 March 1901.
--Oxford Dictionary of National Biography,
Vol. 15 (2004).
--Dictionary of Canadian Biography, Vol. 13 (1994).
--Biographical Dictionary of American and Canadian Naturalists and
Society of America Bulletin,
Vol. 13 (1902): 497-509.
Geologist, Vol. 28(2) (1901): 67-76.
Vol. 13(328) (1901): 561-563.
Anthropologist, New Series, Vol. 3(1) (1901): 159-163.
Copyright 2005 by Charles H. Smith. All rights
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