American Triconodonts. [Abstract] Geological Society of America Bulletin, vol. 36, p. 229. Part of Simpson's doctoral dissertation study of Mesozoic mammals, and one of his first two formal scientific publications. (See next.)
Reconnaissance of the Santa Fé Formation. [Abstract] Geological Society of America Bulletin, vol. 36, p. 230. The second formal scientific publication of Simpson's, which reports on the results of his ten weeks of collecting fossils in this unit in 1924, following earlier field work that same summer with W. D. Matthew in the Texas. All the field expenses were paid by Childs Frick who was extremely annoyed when Simpson tried to publish a paper on the New Mexico field work and he successfully blocked it. (See "Concession," 1978, p. 35.)
Mesozoic mammalia I. American triconodonts. American Journal of Science, vol. 210, p.145-165, 334-358. The first in a series of a dozen papers published over the next three years in which Simpson reports the results of his study of Marsh's collection of American Mesozoic mammals in the Peabody Museum. This dissertation research was later published in 1929 in a somewhat revised form.
Mesozoic mammalia III.Preliminary comparison of Jurassic mammals except Multituberculates. American Journal of Science, vol. 210, p. 559-569. In figure 3, p. 567, of this paper Simpson publishes his first phylogeny, "Diagram suggesting the probable relationships of three chief types of Jurassic molars."
Mesozoic mammalia. IV. The Multituberculates as living animals. American Journal of Science, vol. 211, p. 228-250. Functional morphology of the multitubeculates in terms of dentition, skull, jaws, and limbs, and comparisons thereof with selected living mammals, including the rat-kangaroo. Simpson concludes that cranial features and dentition argue for a herbivorous diet, and limb proportions suggest a fast-moving and agile quadruped.
New construction of Lasanius. Geological Society of America Bulletin, vol. 37, p. 397-402. Reinterprets the anapsid fish, "Lasanius," from the Silurian Dowtownian of Scotland, claiming that earlier reconstructions incorrectly inverted the fish, so that now the fish is right-side up! This was one of his first two papers, initially orally delivered at Paleontological Society meetings on 30 Dec. 1925 in New Haven, Conn.
The fauna of Quarry Nine. American Journal of Science, vol. 212, p. 1-16. Simpson presents what he calls a "schema of the paleoëcological relationships of the terrestrial and aquatic cenobiota" of the Late Jurassic Morrison Fm. in Quarry Nine at Como bluff, Wyoming. If not the first, at least an early application of ecological concepts, like trophic level and food webs, to fossil invertebrates and vertebrates.
The age of the Morrison Formation. American Journal of Science, vol. 212, p. 198-216. Despite reading like a legal brief, a good example of the logic employed in stratigraphic correlation. Simpson argues that fossils provide the best basis for correlation, and that the Morrison mammals indicate a late Jurassic (probably Purbeckian) age--which is also indicated by some of the dinosaurian reptiles, esp. the stegosaurians--and not early Cretaceous as previously argued by some.
A Catalogue of the Mesozoic Mammalia in the Geological Department of the British Museum. London: British Museum (Natural History). 215 p. This monograph resulted from Simpson's year of postdoctoral research on the primitive mammals in the collections of the British Museum as well as the study of some additional materials in the museum from Europe. (The manuscript was completed in October 1927.)
American Mesozoic Mammalia. Memoir, Peabody Museum, Yale University, volume 3, part I, p. 1-236. Although published after his British Museum study, this monograph reported Simpson's earlier dissertation research at Yale and incorporated his British Museum research done the following year. These two studies were so comprehensive and authoritative that the field of primitive mammals lay fallow for a full generation. (The manuscript was completed in May 1928.)
A new Paleocene uintathere and molar evolution in the Amblypoda. American Museum of Natural History Novitates, No. 387, 9 p. Description of the molars in an early uintathere from the "Clark Fork Fm." [= Ft. Union] of Wyoming, which leads Simpson to speculate on the convergent similarities in molar evolution of coryphodonts, uintatheres, and perissodactyls. At the end of the paper Simpson notes that, contrary to H.F.Osborn, there is no reason to argue for "inherent tendency" of related groups to develop similar characters after their divergence. "When different phyla [or lineages] acquire similar habiti [or ways of life] some time after their separation from a common ancestry, there is no inherent tendency for [subsequent] modifications to arise in the same way in the independent lines....There may be a tendency...to form similar [structures], but there appears to be no fixed tendency for these to form in the same way or from the same parts in independent groups....Animals which fulfill this last condition are usually closely related...but I conceive the conditioning factor to be not the metaphysical one of germinal predestination [à la Osborn ?] but the physical one of mechanical resemblance" (p.7-8).
A new classification of mammals. American Museum of Natural History Bulletin, vol. 59, p. 259-293. This work was "...undertaken primarily at that time because we were revising the cataloguing of fossil mammals at the American Museum....I wasŠinterested in the general problems of classification, in theories as well as practice." (See his "Principles of classification...," 1945 and his book on the "Principals of Animal Taxonomy," 1961; also "Tapes," 1975, p. 15).
Miocene land vertebrates from Florida. Florida State Geological Survey Bulletin No. 10, p. 7-41. Description of new terrestrial vertebrates that "cover the transition" between the early and middle Miocene. Taxa include canids, equids, rhinoceratids, orenodontids, camelids, and cervids. Most are from a recently discovered locality ("Thomas Farm") near Tallahassee.
A new Paleocene mammal from a deep well in Louisiana. Proceedings, U.S. National Museum, vol. 82, p. 1-4. T he chance recovery from a depth of 2640 ft. during oil drilling provides the face and palate of a genus of Paleocene amblypod otherwise only known from Montana and New Mexico. "The discovery of mammal-bearing Paleocene sediments nearly half a mile below the surface in Louisiana (and far below sea level) is a very extraordinary and interesting fact, but unfortunately it can hardly be said to open up a new field for collecting" (p. 4).
Autobiographical notes. Simpson Manuscript Collection 31, Archives of the American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia. Unpublished notes by Simpson that were handwritten in summer 1933, and added to in 1954 and 1970. These served as the initial basis for his 1978 autobiography, "Concession to the Improbable: an Unconventional Autobiography."
ATTENDING MARVELS: A PATAGONIAN JOURNAL. Macmillan, New York and London, 295 p. Popular trade book of Simpson's travel adventures and natural history during his year of fossil-collecting in South America, 1930-1931. Reprinted in 1982 by the University of Chicago Press to which Simpson added an "Afterword" of reminiscences.
The first mammals. Quarterly Review of Biology, vol. 10, p. 154-180. A synopsis of Simpson's major findings regarding Mesozoic mammals, drawn from his dissertation and post-doctoral research.
Data on the relationships of local and continental mammalian land faunas. Journal of Paleontology, vol. 10, p. 410-414. Compares Recent mammals of Florida and New Mexico to test reliability of data from one area in characterizing fauna of another area in the same biogeographic region, despite differences in climate and topography. Using these results, Simpson concludes that the Bridger Fm. mammals are representative for North America during middle Eocene. (See "Evolution, interchange...," 1947.)
Notes on the Clark Fork,Upper Paleocene, Fauna. American Museum of Natural History Novitates, No. 954, p. 1-24. First extensive use by Simpson of both descriptive and inferential statistics in his taxonomic work. For example, he reinterprets a previous conclusion of Walter Granger's that there are three distinct species of archaic ungulate ("condylarth"). Instead, Simpson argues for a "single species, variable in all horizons but slowly increasing in size with the passage of time (p. 20-21).
The beginning of the age of mammals. Biological Review, vol. 12, p.1-47. An overview of the early worldwide expansion of mammals during the Cenozoic Era, following the demise of the dinosaurs at the end of the Mesozoic Era.
Supra-specific variation in nature and in classification: From the viewpoint of paleontology. American Naturalist, vol. 71, p. 236-267. The first of what Simpson later called "door-opener" papers to his entry into more theoretical considerations of evolutionary processes.
Patterns of phyletic evolution. Geological Society of America Bulletin, vol. 48, p.303-314. The second "door-opener" article.
The Fort Union of the Crazy Mountain Field, Montana, and Its Mammalian Faunas. United States National Museum, Bulletin 169, p.1-287. A major monograph on early Cenozoic mammals that also introduces statistical techniques to discriminate between fossil species and thus a pilot study for "Quantitative Zoology," (1939). Also has a short section on paleoecology and on the principle of "ecological incompatibility" whereby closely similar species must occupy different geographic areas to avoid competition.
QUANTITATIVE ZOOLOGY: NUMERICAL CONCEPTS AND METHODS IN THE STUDY OF RECENT AND FOSSIL ANIMALS. McGraw-Hill, New York and London, 414 pp. Co-authored with his wife Anne Roe, whose experience as a clinical psychologist provided the statistical expertise for characterizing large populations from small samples. Subsequently revised with third co-author, Richard Lewontin, a population geneticist, and published by Harcourt, Brace, 1960.
Types in modern taxonomy. American Journal of Science, vol. 238, p. 413-431. Introduces the term "hypodigm" that includes "all the specimens used by the author of a species as his basis for inference, and this should mean all the specimens that he referred to the species constitute his hypodigm of that species." The hypodigm is "a sample from which the characters of a population are to be inferred." Thus Simpson was invoking the population concept of the species vs. the typological concept.
Los Indios Kamarakotos (Tribu Caribe de La Guayana Venezolana). Revista de Fomento, Caracas, vol. 3: p. 201-660. (Translated into Spanish by J. Villanueva-Ucalde.) Simpson and Anne went to Venezuela in September, 1938, and despite very heavy rains he collected Pleistocene fossils and she collected mammal skins for the American Museum. After his fossil-collecting, they went to the Kamarata Valley in March and April, 1939, where Anne continued to trap and skin the local mammals, while he did an ethnographic study of the local tribe of Caribe Indians. "My monograph on the Kamarakotos was written in English but translated in Caracas and published in Spanish ... Some of my best friends are anthropologists, and I have published quite a few other things in the field of anthropology, broadly defined, but anthropologists have not paid much attention to this one. I think the reason is that its contribution of new materials was almost all objective description without much theoretical, philosophical, or even methodological predilection such as is now, for better or worse, more in the mainstream of anthropological thought" ("Concession," p. 93, 96.)
Antarctica as a faunal migration route. Proceedings, Sixth Pacific Congress, 1939, p. 755-768. First of Simpson's papers that directly addresses historical biogeography. He argues that land-bridges and continental drift are not necessary to explain disjunctive distributions. "In scientific theory the best-supported and most nearly self-sufficient hypothesis should be preferred and unnecessary additional hypotheses should be rejected or held in abeyance." (See "Evolution and Geography," 1953.)
Mammals and land bridges. Journal of the Washington [D. C.] Academy of Science, vol. 30, p. 137-163. Addresses what Simpson calls "the broadest problems of all in this field, the general way in which land animals tend to become distributed and in which their distribution tends to change in time," including "the different types of migration routes between major land areas, the way in which one type or another can be inferred from the faunal evidence, and the effect...on the faunas that use it."
Studies on the earliest primates. American Museum of Natural History Bulletin, vol. 77, p. 185-212. A monograph tentatively discussing the affinities and distribution of the then, five known families of Paleocene and Eocene primates to each other and to the Primates more generally.
The case history of a scientific news story. Science, vol. 92, p. 148-150. A wry commentary on how a number of newspapers botched--and often completely misrepresented--a press release describing Simpson's 1937 Ft. Union fossil mammal study. The headlines were even more hilarious: "Monkey, Father of Man? No, a Mouse." "4-inch Fossil Seen as Daddy of All Mammals." "Western U.S. Now Held to be Man's Birthplace."
The beginnings of vertebrate paleontology in North America. Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, vol. 86, p.130-188. Another of Simpson's interests was the history of paleontology; this paper won the American Philosophical Society's Lewis Prize for that year.
Mammals and the nature of continents. American Journal of Science, vol. 241, p. 1-31. Using his coefficient of faunal similarity (1947) Simpson calculates the faunal similarity of Recent mammal genera for Ohio/Nebraska (82%), Florida/New Mexico (67%), France/China (64%), and New Mexico/Venezuela (24%) vs. Europe/North America in early Eocene (45%) and "Pontian" (15%), and North America/South America for early Pliocene (0)%, and for Triassic reptiles (8%) Thus, he discounts "continental drift."
Criteria for genera, species, and subspecies in Zoology and Paleozoology. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, vol. 44, p. 145-178. Part of a symposium given in April, 1942, at the American Museum of Natural History on the definition of lower taxa. Simpson makes distinctions among genetic, morphological, and taxonomic species, and discusses the "necessity of a synthesis of the two fields [of neozoology and paleozoology] for further progress toward [the] solution [of]Š the broader problems of taxonomy." (See also"Types," 1940, and "Species concept," 1951.)
Henry Fairfield Osborn. Dictionary of American Biography, vol. 11, Supplement 1, p. 584-587. Osborn was synonymous with the American Museum in the early decades of the 20th century and he communicated "a soundness of training and a passion for research that have had a profound effect on vertebrate paleontology." He created the department of vertebrate paleontology at the AMNH in the 1890s, and hired Simpson as an assistant curator in 1927.
TEMPO AND MODE IN EVOLUTION. Columbia University Press, New York, 237 p. The single most important of Simpson's works, "Tempo and Mode" contributed to the modern evolutionary synthesis by demonstrating that the microevolution of the population geneticists was sufficient to explain the macroevolution of the paleontologists.
The principles of classification and a classification of mammals. American Museum of Natural History, Bulletin, No. 85, p. 1-350. A discourse on taxonomic arrangement and its application to living and fossil mammals; still in print and extensively cited.
Tempo and mode in evolution. New York Academy of Sciences Transactions, Series II, vol. 8, p. 45-60. Not to be confused with his 1944 book of the same title. This article focussed on the "historical background of modern evolutionary theories" and the divergence and subsequent convergence of paleontology and genetics on this subject.
Bones in the Brewery. Natural History Magazine, vol. 55, p. 252-259. Popular account of the excavation of late Pleistocene mammal bones washed into a St. Louis cave adjoining a local brewery that was used for a time as a beer lager. (See "Concession," p. 132-133 for similar report, including anecdote about the visiting divine who made the "delightfully inane remark" upon hearing Simpson cuss: "Profanity will get you nowhere in this cave, young man.")
Evolution, interchange, and resemblance of the North American and Eurasian Cenozoic mammalian faunas. Simpson's "coefficient of faunal similarity" explained formally for the first time, although used earlier ("Data on the relationships," 1936) and discussed in a footnote ("Mammals and nature of continents," 1943). The coefficient is a simple ratio of the number of taxa (species, genera, or orders) in common (C) between two faunas (N1 & N2) divided by the number of taxa in the smaller of the two (N1), and multiplied by 100 to convert it to a percent, i.e., 100 (C/N1).
Holarctic [northern hemisphere] mammalian faunas and continental relationships during the Cenozoic. Geological Society of America Bulletin, vol. 58, p. 613-688. One of several articles published during the period when Simpson effectively argued against fossil evidence purportedly supporting continental drift.
A continental Tertiary time chart. Journal of Paleontology, vol. 21, p. 480-483. "It cannot be too strongly emphasized that two aspects of the chart are particularly unreliable: the ages and durations in years, and the interprovincial correlations .ŠThe excuses for publishing such manifestly unreliable and subjective material are that some arrangement has to be attempted as a background for broad studies and for future improvement...." In fact, not bad except for durations of Pliocene and Paleocene epochs.
The problem of plan and purpose in nature. Scientific Monthly, vol. 64, p. 481-495. (Reprinted in "This View of Life," 1964, Chapter 10.) "Accounting for [the] apparent" purposefulness...pervading in nature...is a basic problem for any system of philosophy or of science" (p. 481). In this essay Simpson does account for it, and shows that it is, indeed, only apparent and arises in organisms from the result of adaptation through natural selection. Purpose in nature is defined not as the opposite of randomness, but rather a causal relationship between organic form and function. Simpson remarked much later in life that the 1947 Vanuxem Lecture at Princeton on which this article was based "was the first public expression of a growing interest in evolutionary philosophy" ( "This View of Life," 1964, p. 297.)
The beginning of the age of mammals in South America, part I. American Museum of Natural History, Bulletin , No.91, p. 1-232. First part of a comprehensive review of Cenozoic mammalian history in South America during most of which time the continent was isolated from the rest of the world. The second part was published in 1967.
The Eocene of the San Juan Basin, New Mexico. American Journal of Science, vol. 246, Part 1: p. 257-282; Part 2: p. 363-385. Simpson proposes the name "San José Formation" for rocks formerly called the Wasatch Formation. He traces the nomenclature, stratigraphy, faunas, and facies of the Paleocene and Eocene section, acting as a geologist to develop the basis for his subsequent research on the paleontology of the area. A good example of Simpson's skills as a stratigrapher.
A fossil-collecting campaign in New Mexico. Science, vol. 107, p. 207-212. A somewhat popular account of the AMNH research program undertaken to study the Triassic and Eocene in the San Juan Basin of northwestern New Mexico, with Ned Colbert responsible for the former and Simpson the latter. The San Juan study, begun in 1946, continued for a decade, and was part of Simpson's ongoing interest in early Tertiary mammals.
GENETICS, PALEONTOLOGY, AND EVOLUTION. Princeton University Press, Princeton, N.J., 474 p. A collection of papers presented by a varied group of biologists at a conference in 1947 that consolidated the previous decade's evolutionary synthesis. Simpson collaborated in the assembly and editing of the volume with Glenn Jepsen, a Princeton paleontologist, and Ernst Mayr, a Harvard biologist. Simpson's paper, "Rates of Evolution in Animals," basically reviewed the major points he made in "Tempo and Mode in Evolution" (1944).
THE MEANING OF EVOLUTION. Yale University Press, New Haven, 364 p. The most successful commercially of all Simpson's books, it was translated into a ten languages, and sold over half a million copies in the English version. Revised and updated in 1967.
A fossil deposit in a cave in St. Louis. American Museum of Natural History Novitates, No. 1408, p. 1-46. Discovery of late Pleistocene fossils in a cave adjacent to a brewery that had been used for storing beer. Fossil remains included many peccary bones as well woodchuck, beaver, porcupine, bear, wolf, raccoon, and giant armadillo. Apparently, already dead and disarticulated Pleistocene animals washed into the cave more or less all at once. A nice taphonomic problem that Simpson tries to unravel.
The meaning of Darwin in "Charles Darwin's Autobiography," Sir Francis Darwin, ed., Henry Schuman, New York, p. 1-11. Who Darwin was, what he did, and why it is important, and how Darwinism is expanded today within the modern evolutionary synthesis. One in a subsequent series of writings over the years championing the important impact Darwin has had --"the world has never been the same since" (p. 1).
History of the fauna of Latin America. American Scientist, vol. 38, p. 361-389. A review of the 50 million year period of separation of the island continent of South America during most of the Cenozoic Era when a variety of mammals evolved in isolation from the rest of the world.
Trends in research and the Journal of Paleontology. Journal of Paleontology, vol. 24, p. 498-499. Simpson provides statistics for the 1939 and 1949 volumes of the "Journal of Paleontology" to demonstrate that the evolutionary synthesis had no impact whatsoever on the nature of research published in this leading North American journal. "The [statistical] figures certainly reveal no trend away from straight descriptive studies....Does this [lack of change] betoken desirable stability and maturity of research programs or does it indicate a lack of progress and undesirably narrow, routine, and unimaginative approaches to research? (p. 499).
The species concept. Evolution, vol. 5, p. 285-298. Simpson's major essay on the nature of species in evolution, looking at paleontological and biological concepts, trying to bring previous, apparently "conflicting views into one consistent statement." Besides comparing his concept of an "evolutionary species" with that of Mayr's "biological species," Simpson considers the two different ways in which evolutionary species arise: by splitting and by linear transformation.
Some principles of historical biology bearing on human origins. Cold Spring Harbor Symposium on Quantitative Biology, vol. 15, p. 55-66. "One of my thoroughly or strictly anthropological publications, although really what I was trying to do was to educate such anthropologists as needed education in the subject--in the principles of evolution as I and a good many others understood them and which would apply to the study of the origin of man and to the study of modern man as an anthropological subject." ("Tapes," 1975, p. 63)
HORSES: THE STORY OF THE HORSE FAMILY IN THE MODERN WORLD AND THROUGH SIXTY MILLION YEARS OF HISTORY. Oxford University Press, New York, 247 p. A popular account of the natural history and evolution of horses. An outgrowth of Simpson's revising an American Museum pamphlet on horses by his mentor, William Diller Matthew. Simpson coyly tells of his first major fossil find when searching for horse fossils in the Texas Panhandle with Matthew in 1924. (p. 92-95).
Probabilities of dispersal in geologic time in "The problem of land connections across the South Atlantic with special reference to the Mesozoic: A symposium." American Museum of Natural History, Bulletin 99, p. 163-176. Important nail in the coffin of the theory of continental drift among North American geologists. Simpson demonstrated that land animals moving across stable continents could more easily explain the past distributions of fossils than could drifting continents with sedentary animals.
Periodicity in vertebrate evolution in "Symposium on Distribution of Evolutionary Explosions in Geologic Time," Journal of Paleontology, vol. 26, p. 359-370. "Physical events in earth history are among the complex factors which, all together, produce and guide evolutionary change. Little support is found, however, for the theory of simultaneous, world-wide physical and biological climaxes at the period and era boundaries" (p. 359).
LIFE OF THE PAST: AN INTRODUCTION TO PALEONTOLOGY. Yale University Press, New Haven, 198 p. Another popular book explaining the science of paleontology. Its chief interest today lies in the illustrations, drawn by Simpson himself, which have a certain amateurish charm.
THE MAJOR FEATURES OF EVOLUTION. Columbia University Press, New York, 434 p. An expanded and more elaborate version of "Tempo and Mode in Evolution." Some reviewers thought it lacked the brilliant succinctness of "Tempo and Mode." Nonetheless, a generation of paleontologists and evolutionary biologists cut their professional teeth on "Major Features." "A colleagueŠ[implied] that it is not quite fair for someone labeled "paleontologist" to base interpretationsŠ on anything but fossils. [However,] this would make me a better paleontologist when I am being one, but the point here is that for the purposes of this book, at least, I am not a paleontologist. I am trying to pursue a science that is beginning to have a good many practitioners but that has no name: the science of four-dimensional biology or of time and life. Fossils are pertinent to this field when they are treated as historical records (paleontologists do not always treat them so), but "Drosophila" is equally pertinent when it exemplifies changes of populations in time" (p. xii).
EVOLUTION AND GEOGRAPHY: AN ESSAY ON HISTORICAL BIOGEOGRAPHY WITH SPECIAL REFERENCE TO MAMMALS. Condon Lectures, Oregon State System of Higher Education, Eugene, Oregon, p. 1-63. Simpson's summation of the principles of determining past geographies of land animals--still valid--and what we can infer about the former configuration of past continents--no longer valid. Simpson argues that it is more parsimonious to explain disjunctive distributions of fossils by mobile organisms on stable continents than stable organisms on mobile continents.
LIFE: AN INTRODUCTION TO BIOLOGY. Harcourt, Brace, New York, 845 p. Co-authored with zoologist Colin Pittendrigh and botanist Lewis Tiffany, this college biology text emphasized the principle of evolution amidst life's manifold diversity. Simpson revised the book in 1965 with co-author William Beck.
BEHAVIOR AND EVOLUTION. Yale University Press, New Haven, 557 p. Another collaboration with his wife Anne Roe Simpson; a collection of papers by a number of researchers dealing with various aspects of the evolution of behavior that exemplified the integrative power of the evolutionary synthesis. The volume was organized and edited by Roe and Simpson, both of whom wrote separate chapters.
The study of evolution: methods and present status of theory. Introductory review chapter setting forth the "modern synthesis" framework for a collection of articles on the evolution of behavior. By now a standard Simpsonian theme, repeated in various places at varying levels of complexity, having its roots in "Tempo and Mode" (1944) and its elaboration in the "Meaning of Evolution" for the nonspecialist (1949) and in "Major Features" (1953) for the specialist.
Memorial to Richard Swan Lull. Geological Society of America Proceedings Volume, Annual Report for 1957, p. 127-134. Succinct biography of Simpson's thesis advisor at Yale that reveals none of Lull's initial reservations about his most illustrious student.
Charles Darwin in search of himself: a review of Charles Darwin's Autobiography, edited by Nora Barlow. Scientific American, vol. 199, p. 117-122. An essay review in which Simpson outlines why Darwin is so important with respect to our understanding of organic evolution --"the whole thing started when theory and data were brought together, and that is what Darwin did."
The nature and origin of supraspecific taxa. Cold Spring Harbor Symposium on Quantitative Biology, vol. 24, p 255-271. "I...repeat my conviction that the basic processes are the same at all levels of evolution, from local populations to phyla, although the circumstances leading to higher levels are special and the cumulative results of the basic processes are characteristically different at different levels" (p. 255).
Anatomy and morphology: classification and evolution: 1859 and 1959. American Philosophical Society Proceedings, vol. 103, p. 286-306. "There is no single chain of being, but there are many different chains which, if natural, reflect stages in evolutionary progressions. Darwin recognized that formal, hierarchical classification cannot express phylogeny but can and, if it is to be truly natural, must be based on propinquity of descent. With some minority dissent, those principles are accepted in modern evolutionary taxonomy.
Forward in "The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin," Basic Books, New York, p. v-xvi. " The centennial of the publication of "On the Origin of Species" is "an occasion for worldwide celebrations and for detailed reexamination of Darwin's work and influence...also for heightened interest in Darwin's own history, his personality, his intellectual antecedents, and the sequence of studies that led to his several revolutionary publications" (p. v).
Darwin led us into this modern world. The Humanist, No. 5, p. 267-275. Another encomium to Darwin by Simpson during the "Origin" centennial. Somewhat simpler, less elaborate, version of his 1960 paper.
Fossil mammals from the type area of the Puerco and Nacimiento Strata, Paleocene of New Mexico. American Museum of Natural History Novitates, no. 1957, 22 p. "Until the present paper...decidedly anomalous situation. The age or ages of the stratigraphic type Puerco [of Cope, 1875] and type Nacimiento [of Gardner, 1910] have been unknown....[But] Now identifiable mammals have been found in Cope's type section....All the species are known only from the Torrejonian." Thus the type Puerco lacks fossils of Puercan age!
Mesozoic mammals and the polyphyletic origin of mammals. Evolution, vol. 13, p. 405-414. Simpson argues for the gradual evolution of various mammalian characters with the resultant attainment of the mammalian grade of evolution by several distinct lineages of therapsids ("mammal-like reptiles").
The world into which Darwin led us. Science, vol. 131, p. 966-974. One of several essays written during the centennial celebration of Darwin's "On the Origin of Species" in which Simpson explains the reasons why the book made such a major contribution to human knowledge. (Reprinted in "This view of Life," 1964, Chapter 1.) The public lecture in late December 1959, upon which this frequently cited paper is based, was favorably commented upon in TIME magazine (11 Jan. 1960).
The history of life in "The Evolution of Life," vol. 1 of "Evolution after Darwin," edited by Sol Tax, p. 117-180. The University of Chicago [Darwin] Centennial, University of Chicago Press. A mid-career overview of the contribution that fossils have made to our understanding of life's evolution. Includes a long section on the various reasons why Precambrian fossils [as then known] are so rare.
THE PRINCIPLES OF ANIMAL TAXONOMY. Columbia University Press, New York, 247 p. An expansion and deeper treatment of the intellectual and practical bases for ordering animate nature in a hierarchical scheme foreshadowed in the 1945 monograph on mammals.
Evolution of Mesozoic mammals. Koninklijke Vlaamse Academie voor Wetenschappen, Letteren en Schone Kunsten van Belgie, Brussels, Part I, p. 57-95. Simpson's last major statement on the history and evolution of the animals that he had been studying on and off for some 35 years. Among other things, he discusses the polyphyletic origin of the class. The torch will pass to a new generation of paleontologists who will build on Simpson's work, but will also add much new information and interpretation, including the current view that the class is monophyletic.
Lamarck, Darwin, and Butler. The American Scholar, vol. 30, p. 238-249. Compares and contrasts the different attitudes to science of these thinkers. "Lamarck...was not really a scientist at all, but one of the last of the subjective and deductive philosophers...It is Darwin's [hypothetic-deductive] method and not Lamarck's that is the method of modern science...Butler was at once converted to evolution, and 'converted' is the right word" (p. 239, 243, 245).
One hundred years without Darwin are enough. Teachers College Record, vol. 62, p. 617-626. (Reprinted in "This View of Life," 1964 , Chapter 2.) The important role that teachers have in educating their students about evolution. Simpson reminisces about his own education and how he came to be committed to the study of evolution. "Thus, by consciously seeking what is most meaningful, I moved from poetry to mineralogy to paleontology to evolution" (p. 37).
Some problems of vertebrate paleontology. Science, vol. 133, p. 1679-1689. While Simpson acknowledges the critical importance of discoveries and data from the field and the laboratory as well as the study of morphology and taxonomy, his paper here considers "problems of broader and more theoretical biological interpretation that arise after the basic data, taxonomic and geologic, are in hand."
Foreword in "On the Origin of Species" by Charles Darwin, 6th ed., Collier Books, New York, p. 5-9. "The book before you is one of the most important ever written. No other modern work has done so much to change man's concept of himself and of the universe in which he lives" (p. 5).
The status of the study of organisms. American Scientist, vol. 50, p. 36-45. (Reprinted in "This View of Life," 1964, Chapter 6.) "It is...my conviction that this general group of disciplines [systematics, biogeography, genetics, paleontology, ecology, behavior, comparative anatomy, physiology, and embryology] is focal for biology and that it now offers the greatest opportunities for integration and progress in fully biological science" (p. 120, in "This View of Life").
Primate taxonomy and recent studies of nonhuman primates. New York Academy of Sciences, vol. 102, p. 497-514. Simpson cautions that, although there were many recent interesting studies of primate biochemistry and behavior, they were as unlikely to provide taxonomic touchstones as were any other putative key characters, despite "long and futile search," in unraveling human evolution. Simpson also emphasizes that while classification and phylogeny were related, they were not identical.
Biology and the nature of science. Science, vol. 139, p. 81-88.(Reprinted in "This View of Life," 1964, Chapter 5.) Simpson argues that biology "is the science that stands at the center of all science. It is the science most directly aimed at science's major goal and most definitive of that goal [a connected body of theory of direct application to all material phenomena]. And it is here, in the field where all the principles of the sciences are embodied, that science can truly become unified" (p. 107, "This view of Life").
Historical science in "The Fabric of Geology," edited by Claude Albritton, Jr., p. 24-48, Addison-Wesley, Reading, Mass., Palo Alto, Calif.,and London. Perhaps the best of several essays by Simpson on the distinctive epistemology of an historical science like geology or paleontology as contrasted with experimental sciences such as chemistry or physics.
The meaning of taxonomic statements. Classification & Evolution, edited by S. L. Washburn,Viking Publications in Anthropology, No. 37, p. 1-31. "Exactly what it means when you name a group of organisms," says Simpson. Need to distinguish specimens, populations, taxa, and categories; typological thinking still present in some classifications; multiple classifications are possible, but must be consistent with interpretations. Simpson gives a hominoid classification that he "now prefers."
The nonprevalence of humanoids. Science, vol. 144, p. 769-775. (Reprinted in "This View of Life", 1964, Chapter 13.) A provocative paper, in which Simpson estimates the various probabilities for suitable planets capable of supporting life ("fair"), for life having arisen on them (" far lower, but appreciable"), for such life evolving in a predictable way ("exceedingly small"), and for such evolution leading eventually to humanoids ("almost negligible"). Simpson's rationale was two-fold: 1) organic evolution is an historically contingent and probabilistic phenomenon and therefore not deterministic; and 2) the large amount of money and engineering and scientific talent spent for the search of extra-terrestrial life (SETI) could be much better spent on terrestrial scientific research. (Interestingly enough, fellow evolutionists, Ernst Mayr and Theodosius Dobzhansky, have also been dubious about SETI).
Review of The Origin of Races, by Carleton Coon. Perspectives in Biology and Medicine, vol. 6, p. 268-272. "[A]n honest and substantial contribution to the scientific study of races and as nearly free of aprioristic bias as any on its subject." Simpson did cavil with Coon over the way he equated evolutionary grade morphologically with the concept of species, so that one subspecies of "H. erectus" is postulated as living at the same time as another different subspecies of "H. sapiens."
THIS VIEW OF LIFE: THE WORLD OF AN EVOLUTIONIST. Harcourt, Brace, and World, New York, 308 p. A collection of earlier published essays brought together into one volume. The essays treat Darwin, the nature of historical biology, the problem of apparent purpose in living nature, and thoughts about cosmic evolution and the human evolutionary future. Simpson often remarked that this was his favorite book.
THE GEOGRAPHY OF EVOLUTION: COLLECTED ESSAYS. Chilton Books, Philadelphia and New York, 249 pp. The only book that Simpson regretted, years later, because it brought together those articles in which he strenuously argued against continental drift on the basis of fossils just at the time when the new global theory of plate tectonics was revolutionizing geology. However, the principles of historical biogeography that he promulgated are still valid.
Mammalian evolution of the southern continents. Neue Jahrbuch fur Geologie und Paläontologie Abhandlungen, Band 125, p. 1-18. Simpson was still resisting the theory of continental drift, claiming accurately --but as it turned out irrelevantly --that "Even the new paleomagnetic data, which raise serious doubts as regards earlier times, confirm that the southern continents have been at least near their present positions throughout the Cenozoic" (p. 3)
The biological nature of man. Science, vol. 152, p. 472-478. (Reprinted in "Biology and Man," 1969, Chapter 6.) "Man is not merely an animal, that is, his essence is not simply in his shared animality. Nevertheless he is an animal and the nature of man includes, and has arisen from, the nature of animals" (p. 97, "Biology and Man.")
The beginning of the age of mammals in South America, part 2. American Museum of Natural History, Bulletin 137, p. 1-259. The completion of this extensive monograph started two decades earlier; part 1 was published in 1948.
The present status of the theory of evolution. Royal Society of Victoria Proceedings, vol. 82, p. 149-160. Simpson discourses briefly on "Fact, Theory, Philosophy, and Darwin," on "Heredity," on "Genetics and Evolution," on "Natural Selection," and on "Speciation." All of it very much in the context of the modern evolutionary synthesis.
What is man: a review of The Naked Ape, by Desmond Morris. New York Times Sunday Book Review, p. 16-20. Simpson was strongly opposed to the "naked ape" view of the origins of human behavior. "Most evolutionists, geneticists, and anthropologists will feel that Morris over-emphasizes genetic controls and under-emphasizes the fact that a loosening of such controls, a broadening of genetic reaction ranges, is a fundamental element in the origin of this non-ape."
BIOLOGY AND MAN. Harcourt, Brace and World, New York. 175 p. Yet another collection of Simpson's previously published essays treating a variety of subjects, including the biological aspects of race, language, and ethics.
Drift theory: Antarctica and Central Asia. In a letter to Science, Simpson conceded that "continental drift" was an established fact, but he still hesitated using fossil data alone to determine past continental positions. He pointed put that even with the mammal-like "Lystrosaurus" in central Asia, no one was thinking of conjoining that part of Asia with Gondwana on that fact alone.
Darwin's philosophy and methods. Science, vol. 167, p. 1362-1363. Book review-essay on Michael Ghiselin's "Triumph of the Darwinian Method" (Univ. California Press, 1969). Simpson agrees with Ghiselin that Darwin had a "consistent methodology, the so-called hypothetico-deductive procedure," but Simpson also believes that Darwin used both "induction and deduction...as well as methods not reasonably designated as either." According to Simpson, Darwin's method was "thoroughly eclectic."
William King Gregory (1876-1970). American Journal of Physical Anthropology, vol. 35, p. 155-173. Memorial to one of Simpson's mentors at the American Museum--it was Gregory who suggested that Simpson give a talk in 1936 on "supra- specific variation" that led to a "door-opener" paper on evolutionary theory, although at the time Simpson wasn't quite sure what he was meant to do. "It has never been entirely clear to me exactly what sort of paper you wanted, and I may have missed the point altogether. This is in any case an unusually labored effort and for some reason I have had great difficulty in selecting and organizing, from the embarrassingly vast amount of data at hand" (Simpson to W. K. Gregory letter, 16 November 1936, American Philosophical Society archives.)
The evolutionary concept of man. Sexual Selection and the Descent of Man, B. Campbell, ed., Chicago: Aldine Publishing Co., p. 17-39. A publication celebrating the centenary of Darwin's 1871 "The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex." Simpson reviews Darwin's contribution to human evolution and our modern concept of same; the affinities and ancestry of our species; the major hominid fossil taxa; hominid systematics; and the nature of races and of culture.
The divine non sequitur. G. Browning et al., eds., "Teilhard de Chardin in Quest of the Perfection of Man," Fairleigh Dickinson Press, Madison, N.J, p. 88-102. " "I am not competent to judge the Teilhardian mystic theology, and I have nothing to say about its validity in itself. I do say that it does not follow from any of Teilhard's scientific work or any other premises acceptable as science. When so presented it is indeed a divine non sequitur."
The concept of progress in organic evolution. Social Research, vol. 41, p. 28-51. Notions of progress as seen in Lamarck, Cuvier, and Darwin; definitions of progress as found in 20th century authors, with emphasis on Haldane and Huxley. "The most important result of this somewhat dispersive inquiry is negative: there is no innate tendency toward evolutionary progress and no one, overall, sort of such progress" (p. 51).
Reply to questionnaire of Ernst Mayr, prepared for the two conferences in 1974 on the evolutionary synthesis. Archives of the American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia. Most of the reply is published in "The Evolutionary Synthesis," 1982, Ernst Mayr and William Provine, eds., Harvard University Press, p. 452-463. Simpson privately believed that the questionnaire was so contrived by Mayr as to make Mayr "a bigger cheese than he was" with respect to the modern evolutionary synthesis.
Recent advances in methods of phylogenetic inference. Phylogeny of the Primates, W. Luckett and F. Szalay, eds., Plenum Press, New York and London, p. 1-19. Simpson reviews various schools of taxonomy, including phenetic, numerical, cladistic, and evolutionary as well as the relationship between phylogeny and taxonomy. Nothing much new here, nor any direct reference to primates. But Simpson makes a plea to keep the interpretations about taxonomy and phylogeny separate, even though they are closely related. He also repeats his caveat regarding the futile search for panaceas in working out details of human evolution. Although written in draft form as a conference discussion paper, Simpson did not revise it for this publication in this volume.
Transcription of recorded comments made by Simpson about his major publications. G.G. Simpson Manuscript Collection 31, Archives of the American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia. In August, 1975, Simpson taped recorded several hours of reminiscences about the circumstances and subsequent impact of many of his publications that are discussed in chronological order. The resulting typescript is 133 pages. (Referred to as "Tapes" in this listing of his major publications.)
The compleat [sic] paleontologist? Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences, vol. 4, p. 1-3. A short essay by Simpson outlining his work under the headings of Methodology, Evolution, Systematics, and Biogeography. Another one of several short memoirs that later were the basis for his 1978 autobiography, "Concession to the Improbable."
PENGUINS: PAST AND PRESENT, HERE AND THERE. Yale University Press, New Haven, 150 p. Popular summary of the natural history and evolution of these highly specialized birds.
A new heaven and a new earth and a new man in "Man's Place in the Universe," D. W. Corson, ed., University of Arizona, Tucson, p. 51-75. Argues that revolutions in science are rarely made by a single individual, despite the folklore. He claims such people either "gathered together strands of thought, previously dispersed and nebulous, and made them...convincing [Lyell and Darwin] or gave a clue, a conjecture, a mere hint that would later...through long efforts by many others lead to fruition [Copernicus and Wegener]," (p. 53).
CONCESSION TO THE IMPROBABLE: AN UNCONVENTIONAL BIOGRAPHY. Yale University Press, New Haven, 291 p. As Simpson described it, a book about the things he'd done and seen and thought and what he considered interesting and important. Includes personal photographs.
Earth history at the century mark of the U.S. Geological Survey. Proceedings, National Academy of Sciences, vol. 76, p. 4208-4211. Presented as one of several talks at the centennial celebration of the USGS at the National Academy of Sciences. Reviews some of the paleontological activities--and shortcomings--of the USGS, and looks at some of the new promising areas of research for paleontology and acknowledges, once and for all, the reality of plate tectonics.
SPLENDID ISOLATION: THE CURIOUS HISTORY OF SOUTH AMERICAN MAMMALS. Yale University Press, New Haven, 266 p. A general account of the evolutionary history of a variety of mostly extinct beasts during the Cenozoic Era, the so-called "Age of Mammals."
WHY AND HOW: SOME PROBLEMS AND METHODS IN HISTORICAL BIOLOGY. Pergamon Press, New York, 263 p. A collection of extracts of previously published papers upon which Simpson comments in order to explain the context in which they were written and the nature of the problems he was attempting to solve. Curiously, the title recalls a children's natural history book written by Rev. Charles Kingsley, "Madam How and Lady Why," which Simpson elsewhere remembered as having had a major influence on his early interest in nature.
Prologue: historical biology and physical anthropology. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, vol. 56, p. 335-338. Simpson was invited by Sherwood Washburn to the 50th anniversary meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists. This was an explicit acknowledgment of Simpson's mentorship to them, especially during the 1950s/60s when he was often invited to explicate the modern evolutionary synthesis as it bore on human evolution. Unable to attend, however, he sent his greetings that were read by Washburn for him.
THE BOOK OF DARWIN. Washington Square Books, New York, 219 p.Extracts from a selection of Darwin's works with commentary by Simpson. A paean to the master evolutionist of the nineteenth century by a master of the twentieth.
FOSSILS AND THE HISTORY OF LIFE. Scientific American Books, New York, 239 p. Simpson's swan song about the subject he spent six decades of his life studying. Although fairly technical, accessible to the non-specialist.
DISCOVERERS OF THE LOST WORLD: AN ACCOUNT OF SOME OF THOSE WHO BROUGHT BACK TO LIFE SOUTH AMERICAN MAMMALS LONG BURIED IN THE ABYSS OF TIME. Yale University Press, New Haven, 222 p. Simpson completes the circle and ends as he began with an account of his intellectual adventures in South America, but this time with emphasis on other paleontologists who either preceded him or were his contemporaries.
Extinction. American Philosophical Society Proceedings, vol.129, p. 407-416. Posthumous publication of the manuscript Simpson was working on when he died. Although incomplete, the work seems to argue that we still do not understand the causes of extinction, even though the phenomenon has been studied for two centuries by paleontologists. Simpson also suggests that he did not give any particular credence to extraterrestrial causes of extinction, although he makes no mention of the evidence that accumulated in the previous five years of a major asteroid impact at the close of the Cretaceous Era.
G.G. Simpson's recollections of W.D. Matthew. PALAIOS, vol. 1, p. 200-203. A posthumously published reminiscence by Simpson upon learning of the death of his mentor in 1930. Simpson recalls his first field expedition with Matthew in Texas in 1924. "Dr. Matthew cooled me down by emphasizing the fact that mere naming of species is nothing." Simpson impressed Matthew, for when he left for Berkeley in 1927, Matthew wanted Simpson to take his place at the AMNH.
SIMPLE CURIOSITY: LETTERS OF GEORGE GAYLORD SIMPSON TO HIS FAMILY, 1921-1970. Léo F. Laporte, ed., University of California Press, Los Angeles and Berkeley, 340 p. Two hundred ten personal letters mainly to his older sister Martha, with additional ones to his parents and second sister, Peg, over a period of 50 years; includes a number of family photos, including those of Simpson from various ages, from college youth to elderly man. Introduction, headnotes, and footnotes by the editor.
THE DECHRONIZATION OF SAM MAGRUDER. St. Martin's Press, New York, 137 p. Posthumous publication of a novella written by Simpson, apparently in the late 1970s. Simpson tells the story of Sam Magruder, a "chronologist" living in 2162 A.D, who was experimenting on the "quantum theory of time-motion" when he suffers a "time-slip" that puts him back in the Late Cretaceous of New Mexico. Simpson spins a reasonably engaging tale, but its main interest is the degree to which Magruder's philosophy of life may reflect Simpson's own feelings toward the end of his own life.