Women in Vertebrate Paleontology Annalisa Berta and Susan Turner
For centuries, women have played key roles in defining and developing the field of vertebrate paleontology. Yet very little is known about these important paleontologists, and the true impacts of their contributions have remained obscure. In Rebels, Scholars, Explorers, Annalisa Berta, and Susan Turner celebrate the history of women “bone hunters,” delving into their fascinating lives and work. At the same time, they explore how the discipline has shaped our understanding of the history of life on Earth.
Berta and Turner begin by presenting readers with a review of the emergence of vertebrate paleontology as a science, emphasizing the contributions of women to research topics and employment. This is followed by brief biographical sketches and explanations of early discoveries by women around the world over the past 200 years, including those who held roles as researchers, educators, curators, artists, and preparators. Forging new territory, Berta and Turnerhighlight the barriers and challenges faced by women paleontologists, describing how some managed to overcome those obstacles in order to build careers in the field. Finally, drawing on interviews with a diverse group of contemporary paleontologists, who share their experiences and offer recommendations to aspiring fossil hunters, they provide perspectives on what work still needs to be done in order to ensure that women’s contributions to the field are encouraged and celebrated.
Uncovering and relating lost stories about the pivotal contributions of women in vertebrate paleontology doesn’t just make for enthralling storytelling, but also helps ensure a richer and more diverse future for this vibrant field. Illuminating the discoveries, collections, and studies of fossil vertebrates conducted by women in vertebrate paleontology, Rebels, Scholars, Explorers will be on every paleontologist’s most-wanted list and should find a broader audience in the burgeoning sector of readers from all backgrounds eager to learn about women in the science.
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