PRESS RELEASE - Wann Langston Receives Vertebrate Paleontology’s Highest Award

January 18, 2008

Chicago (November 2007) -- Dr. Wann Langston, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Geological Sciences at the University of Texas at Austin, is the 20th recipient of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology’s highest honor – the A. S. Romer-G. G. Simpson Medal. The Society of Vertebrate Paleontology, which was founded in 1940 by thirty-four paleontologists, now has over 2,000 members representing an international group of academic professionals, students, artists, preparators, and amateurs focused on the study of fossilized backboned animals. The A. S. Romer-G. G. Simpson medal is named for Alfred Sherwood Romer and George Gaylord Simpson, two intellectual giants of the 20th century in vertebrate paleontology and evolution. The award is given annually to a member of the SVP who demonstrates sustained and outstanding scholarly excellence and service to the discipline of vertebrate paleontology. Wann Langston recently accepted his award during the 67th annual meeting of the SVP in his hometown of Austin, Texas. 

Wann’s fossil-collecting career spans almost seven decades and includes iconic fossils such as the giant pterosaur Quetzalcoatlus, and Deinosuchus, one of history’s largest crocodiles. His publication record spans 59 years and includes many important papers of enduring impact. While professor at the University of Texas at Austin, he supervised 14 graduate degrees and served on many more graduate committees. Langston served as vice president and president of the SVP in 1974-1975, and continues to play an active role in the work of the society. Significantly, Wann is also dedicated to the public understanding of paleontology, and in his career has shared his knowledge of fossil organisms and ecosystems through museum exhibitions, popular articles, and television appearances. Timothy Rowe, J. Nalle Gregory Regents Professor of Geology at the University of Texas at Austin, and a nominator for Langston, commented that he “presents an awesome model for the diverse and sustained contributions he has made to the Society and toward the expansion of our audience. I don’t believe that any one member of the Society has ever embodied so many talents or performed for so long at such a high level of accomplishment.”

Top: Wann Langston.  Photo courtesy of Wann Langston.
Bottom:  Langston with Dilophosaurus wetherwilli skeleton at the Museum of Paleontology, c. 1950.  Photo courtesy of Wann Langston.
Louis Jacobs
Chair, SVP Romer-Simpson Medal Committee
Southern Methodist University
Phone: (214) 768-2773
Timothy Rowe
University of Texas, Austin
Phone: (512) 471-1725
Wann Langston
Mr. and Mrs. Charles E. Yager Professor Emeritus, University of Texas, Austin
Phone: (512) 471-7736
Catherine Badgeley
President, Society of Vertebrate Paleontology
University of Michigan
Phone: (734) 763-6448