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About the Society Awards Past Award Winners 2019 Awardees 2019 (Honorary Membership Award) - Dr. Qiu Zhuding


I was born in Gaozhou, Guangdong Province, China in January, 1942, growing up in the village of my hometown. I entered the Beijing Geology College (now China University of Geosciences), after I finished my middle school education in 1960. After graduation from the college, I was assigned to the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, Chinese Academy of Sciences (IVPP) in 1965 (in those days, college graduates in China were assigned a job by the government). I was pleased to work in such a well-known institution, but soon after I had my job, the Cultural Revolution started in 1966. I could not start my normal professional activities until the end of the 10-year political campaign. In 1978, I was assigned to a research group headed by Dr. Zhanxiang Qiu for studying the Neogene biostratigraphy. At the beginning, I was not so thrilled in this field until Prof. Chuankui Li and I discovered the Xiejian Fauna in Qinghai Province in 1978, the first record of the early Miocene small mammals known in China. I then understood that we had a great potential to make a contribution to vertebrate paleontology by collecting and studying fossils of the Neogene age. Later several collaborations with my international colleagues have greatly enhanced my knowledge, such as Drs. V. Falhbusch and G. Storch from Germany, Drs. E. Lindsay and L. Flynn from USA, Drs. Y. Tomida and Y. Kimura from Japan, and Dr. B. Engesser from Switzerland. From 1980 to 1995, I carried out several projects to collect and study small mammals, focusing on examinations of fossil and systematic research based on the assemblages from Inner Mongolia, Jiangsu, Shanxi, Yunnan and Gansu. I was attracted by the abundant and diverse of small mammals in these regions. Particularly, the very successful works at the classic localities in Ertemte and Tunggur of Inner Mongolia, which yielded several papers and a monograph on middle Miocene small mammals, encouraged me to plan for more comprehensive sampling and deeper investigations in that area. From 1996 to 2011, Dr. Xiaoming Wang from the Natural Museum of Los Angeles County, USA and I visited central part of Inner Mongolia almost every year, and successively collected several assemblages from the Neogene deposits. As a result, a Neogene mammal succession in the central Inner Mongolia has been developed by faunal seriation, largely by small mammals, and a preliminary framework of Neogene biostratigraphy and biochronology has been established for the region, culminating with a large volume on rodents of Inner Mongolia co-authored with Qiang Li.

From 1995 to 1999, I held the post of the director of the IVPP. It was a tough job, because I had to face many challenging problems during the early period of rapidly changing economic reforms in China. The tumultuous years survived in the institution are worth bearing in mind. I was the chairman of Academic Committee of the IVPP from 1995 until 2011 when I was retired. Thanks to the institute for providing the facilities, I can continue my work after my retirement. Now I join my IVPP colleagues in preparing the treatise Palaeovertebrata Sinica, and together with others, have finished several volumes on Chinese small mammals.