Robert L. Carroll

Paleontology, paleobiology

Vertebrate palaeontologist who recognized and described the oldest known ancestor of all reptiles birds and mammals; the origins of terrestrial vertebrates, the origin of various amphibians such as frogs and salamanders.

"Any high-school kid can go out and make fossil discoveries."

May 5, 1938

Kalamazoo, Michigan

Montreal, Quebec

Family Members
  • Spouse: Anna DiTuri, retired business school teacher
  • Father: John H. Carroll, high-school science teacher
  • Mother: Arvella Mae Wickerham, nurse
  • Children: David

Determined, ernest, enthusiastic but boisterous and lighthearted at times, perhaps bashful as well.

Favorite Music
La Bohème or Turandot by Puccini, much of Brahms, also Fauré's Requiem.

Other Interests
Sings baritone in a choir and likes to sing arias from Italian operas; also enjoys hiking and climbing in the small mountains of Eastern North America, cross country skiing, and snorkeling.

Strathcona Professor of Zoology Emeritus, curator of vertebrate paleontology, Redpath

Redpath Museum, McGill University


  • BSc, (Geology), Michigan State U., 1959
  • MA, (Biology), Harvard U., 1961
  • PhD, (Biology), Harvard U., 1963

  • Fellow, Royal Society of Canada, 1993
  • Willet G. Miller Medal (Royal Society of Canada), 2001
  • Romer—Simpson Medal (Society of Vertebrate Paleontology), 2004


Carroll's father showed him his first fossil and taught him about evolution. Rolin Baker, Director of the museum at Michigan State University where Carroll had summer jobs; taught him the publish or perish rule of academia. Alfred S. Romer, Harvard paleontologist who gave professional inspiration. George Simpson, Harvard professor who taught the historical aspects of evolution.

Last Updated
November 13, 2009


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