Dr. Richard Estes (1932-1990) was an internationally-recognized paleoherpetologist who wrote over 100 scholarly papers and four edited or authored books. In addition, he was a much-beloved mentor of many graduate and undergraduate students at San Diego State University who have gone on to very successful careers at major institutions throughout the world.
Estes’ research, extending over 35 years, dealt extensively with the evolutionary relationships of various groups of modern and fossil vertebrates such as lizards, frogs, the extinct marine mososaurs, salamanders and fishes. He also wrote extensively on the paleoecology of a wider array of vertebrates ranging in age from the Jurassic through the Miocene, a span of some 150 million years of vertebrate history. Estes’ research, which was supported by the National Science Foundation and the National Geographic Society, took him to many areas of the world. He also served as the Editor for the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. Estes was the recipient of the prestigious Romer-Simpson Medal, the highest award of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology, in recognition of a lifetime of scholarship and contributions to the science of vertebrate paleontology.