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2011 Honorary Membership Award Recipient

Robert R. Reisz

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Dr. Robert Reisz immigrated to Canada from Romania in the 1960s, and once he learned his adopted country’s two official languages, he went on to complete his undergraduate and graduate studies at McGill University, obtaining his PhD in 1975. After a brief teaching position at UCLA, he joined U of T Mississauga (UTM), where he has been ever since, becoming Professor in 1989.

A gifted and multifaceted researcher and teacher, Dr. Reisz’s broad and intensive paleontological research program has revolutionized our understanding of many essential evolutionary events during the Paleozoic and Mesozoic Eras. He is best known for his discoveries in the area of early terrestrial vertebrate evolution and the organisms that eventually gave rise to living mammals, reptiles and birds, but also many extinct animals, including dinosaurs. His is also well known for his discovery of the oldest known dinosaur embryos, the way they grew into adults, and the evolution of gigantism in these fascinating animals.  He collaborates with other scientists from Canada, France, England, Russia, South Africa, China and USA. On a less formal level, Dr. Reisz not only enjoys collecting fossils from various regions of the world to study them in great detail in the laboratory, but also loves to study collections of various museums, and uncover long neglected scientific treasures.

His innovative work continues. Overall, Reisz has published a collection of 150 refereed papers, 100 abstracts,10 book chapters, as well as reviews and popular articles on a great variety of fossil organisms as part of a truly interdisciplinary, integrative approach to the study of vertebrate evolution. Dr. Reisz’s work has been published often in the top International journals including Nature and Science, and has attracted a lot of attention from the scientific community and the media. He also loves teaching students and training future scientists, and has also focused intensively on this aspect of his work throughout his career.

A highly regarded researcher, Dr. Reisz is a Research Associate or Honorary Research Fellow in a number of institutions, including the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, The Smithsonian Institution in Washington, the Royal Ontario Museum and the Bernard Price Institute of Paleontology in Johannesburg, South Africa. He is also the recipient of many esteemed awards, including the Bass and Wilson Fellowships (Field Museum, Kings College in London), and the Humboldt Research Prize for Excellence in Research and Teaching. Dr. Reisz is also an Elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (FRSC), and a Fellow of the Linnean Society of London.

Photo courtesy of Robert R. Reisz.

Read about Jean-Jacques Jaeger, who also received a 2011 SVP Honorary Membership Award.