Professor Tapan Roy Chowdhury (TRC) passed away on 18 March, 2013. He worked for six decades in the field of Vertebrate Paleontology and Stratigraphy at the Geological Studies Unit (G.S.U.), Indian Statistical Institute (I.SI.), and left indelible memories to his colleagues and students. TRC, after doing his master’s degree with a first class from the University of Calcutta in 1958, started his professional career as a lecturer in Geology at the Asutosh College from where he did his graduation. In the same year he left Asutosh College and joined G.S.U., I.S.I. where he worked till retirement.
During that time, a young team of paleontologists started working on the Gondwana vertebrates of Deccan India under the aegis of Dr. Pamela Lamplugh Robinson at G.S.U., I.S.I. TRC started his work on Mesozoic temnospondyls of India as a member of that team and subsequently went to University College London. He got his doctoral degree from there in 1963 under the supervision of Pamela Robinson.
He was an avid field worker and collected and described many new taxa from the red mudstones of Pranhita-Godavari river basins of Central India. His initial research mainly revolved around the Mesozoic temnospondyls but later he worked on the dinosaurian fauna of the Indian Gondwanas. He was one of the significant members of the team that excavated and first described Barapasaurus, the enigmatic early sauropod from the Jurassic strata of central India. His works on some new therapsids from India are equally well acclaimed. He was also interested in taphonomy and stratigraphy.
However, more than his research publications, he will be remembered for his supportive attitude towards the young researchers and students. He used to teach vertebrate paleontology at the University of Jadavpur for nearly two decades as a guest lecturer. His students are now placed at different Universities/Organisations all over the world.
G.S.U., I.S.I., till to date, has served as the breeding ground for four generations of vertebrate paleontologists and it was TRC who was responsible for grooming many of them.