Some Biogeographers, Evolutionists and Ecologists:
Chrono-Biographical Sketches

Neumayr, Melchior (Germany-Austria 1845-1890)
invertebrate paleontology, geology


Neumayr was only forty-four when he died of a heart ailment in 1890, but on the plus side he lived at just the right time to end up having maximum impact on the development of paleontology as a science. During his student days he became an ardent follower and supporter of Darwinism, and the resulting emphasis he put on understanding the dynamics of change as expressed through the fossil record revolutionized paleontologic investigation. Neumayr worked largely on invertebrates (especially freshwater molluscs and ammonites); one of his early contributions to evolutionary studies was to show how descent of shelled forms could be traced continuously through time through series of rock units. He also did important research in paleoclimatology as related to organic change, showing for example that the invertebrate faunas of past eras demonstrated climate-related patterns of latitudinal zonation similar to those of present times. Neumayr also did lasting work in paleogeographic reconstruction, stratigraphy, and structural geology.

Life Chronology

--born in Munich, Germany, on 24 October 1845.
--1863: begins his college studies at the University of Munich
--1867: Ph.D., University of Munich
--1868: moves to Vienna; joins the Imperial Austrian Geological Survey
--1869: begins longitudinal studies of fossil freshwater molluscs in Yugoslavia
--1870s: field investigations into European invertebrate paleontology
--1872: made Privatdozent of paleontology and stratigraphy, University of Heidelberg
--1873-1890: professor of paleontology, University of Vienna
--1879: advanced to ordinary professor at Vienna
--1883: publishes "Über Klimatische Zonen Während der Jura- und Kreidezeit" in Denkschriften der Akademie der Wissenschaften, Wien, Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Klasse
--1886: publishes his two volume Erdgeschichte, with V. Uhlig
--1887: made editor of Palaeontographica
--1889: publishes volume one of his Die Stämme des Thierreiches
--dies at Vienna, Austria, on 29 January 1890.

For Additional Information, See:

--Dictionary of Scientific Biography, Vol. 10 (1974).
--A to Z of Marine Scientists (2003).
--Geological Magazine, New Ser., 3rd Decade, Vol. 7 (1890): 238-240.
--Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society of London, Vol. 46 (1890): 54-56.

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Copyright 2005 by Charles H. Smith. All rights reserved.

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