Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History Characters

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Charles Doolittle Walcott

Charles Doolittle Walcott (1850-1927) was one of the United States' greatest scientists. Specifically, he was an invertebrate paleontologist. He discovered the Burgess Shale in the Canadian Rockies in 1909 and was later secretary of the Smithsonian Institution.

Walcott was raised in Utica, New York, a small town in upstate New York. He never graduated from high school but had a strong interest in animals his whole life. He was also a meticulous cataloger and note-taker, writing in his diary practically every day of his life. Walcott met one of the great natural historians, Louis Agassiz, during a sale of trilobite fossils he had found at a local farm. Agassiz introduced him to the world of natural science and Walcott later pursued his professional education. He joined the US Geological Survey in 1879 and rose to director by 1894. He married his second wife Helena in 1888 and had four children...

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