About the Society Awards Past Award Winners 2014 Morris Skinner Award
Richard Smith is a retired schoolteacher who has collected fossils since he was 12 years old. In 1965, at the age of 18, he started as a voluntary collaborator at the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences and worked with vertebrate paleontologist Edgar Casier to collect Eocene shark teeth. From that time to 2011 Richard collected more than 100,000 vertebrate specimens ranging from fish otoliths to bison skulls. From 1983 to the present he has published 46 peer-reviewed papers on his discoveries in collaboration with numerous vertebrate specialists from Belgium, France, Germany, Spain, Czech Republic, UK and USA. He has donated a great number of his specimens to the RBINS to help young researchers with their PhD work. In 1989 he rediscovered the famous Belgian locality of Dormaal that has yielded the earliest modern mammals from Europe. Richard screen-washed 24 tons of matrix from Dormaal that he sorted over 7 years to produce one of the most complete mammal faunal samples known from the Paleocene Eocene Thermal Maximum. In 2014 one of his favorite discoveries, the small carnivoran Dormaalocyon latouri
, was honored by appearing on the cover page of the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.