For centuries, women have played key roles in defining and developing the field of vertebrate paleontology. Yet very little is known about these important paleontologists, and the true impacts of their contributions have remained obscure. In Rebels, Scholars, Explorers, Annalisa Berta and Susan Turner celebrate the history of women "bone hunters," delving into their fascinating lives and work. At the same time, they explore how the discipline has shaped our understanding of the history of life on Earth.
Berta and Turner begin by presenting readers with a review of the emergence of vertebrate paleontology as a science, emphasizing the contributions of women to research topics, geography, and employment. This is followed by brief biographical sketches and explanations of early discoveries by women around the world over the past 200 years, including women who held roles as researchers, educators, curators, artists, and preparators. Forging new territory, Berta and Turner highlight the barriers and challenges faced by women paleontologists, describing how some managed to overcome those obstacles in order to build careers in the field. Finally, drawing on interviews with a diverse group of contemporary paleontologists, who share their experiences and offer recommendations to aspiring fossil hunters, they provide perspectives on what work still needs to be done in order to ensure that women's contributions to the field are encouraged and celebrated.
Uncovering and relating lost stories about the pivotal contributions of women in vertebrate paleontology doesn't just make for enthralling storytelling, but also helps ensure a richer and more diverse future for this vibrant field. Illuminating the discoveries, collections, and studies of fossil vertebrates conducted by women in vertebrate paleontology, Rebels, Scholars, Explorers will be on every paleontologist's most-wanted list and should find a broader audience in the burgeoning sector of readers from all backgrounds eager to learn about women in the sciences.
1. Introduction: History of Vertebrate Paleontology as a Science
2. Early women in Vertebrate Paleontology 18th–mid 19th centuries: Early discoveries and recognition of fossil vertebrates
3. Women in Vertebrate Paleontology late 19th–early 20th centuries: Taking their place in the professional world
4. Women in Vertebrate Paleontology mid-20th century (1940-1975): Gaining ground and the beginnings of SVP
5. Women in Vertebrate Paleontology late 20th–early 21st centuries (1976–present): Coming of Age
6. Artists, Preparators, Technicians, Collections Managers and Outreach Educators
7. Challenges and Opportunities: Women in STEM, Geosciences and Paleontology
Annalisa Berta (San Diego, CA) is professor emerita of biology at San Diego State University. She is the author of Return to the Sea: The Life and Evolutionary Times of Marine Mammals and The Rise of Marine Mammals: 50 Million Years of Evolution. Susan Turner (Brisbane, Australia) is an honorary research fellow in the Department of Geosciences at the Queensland Museum.
"The book does an admirable job of presenting biographies of women from around the world who have contributed to vertebrate paleontology. I learned a lot about people with whom I was not familiar while gaining important insights about women who are already well known."
– Catherine Badgley, University of Michigan, coeditor of At the Foot of the Himalayas: Paleontology and Ecosystem Dynamics of the Siwalik Record
"This book is sorely needed to address the imbalance in coverage of women in paleontology."
– Donald R. Prothero, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, author of Fantastic Fossils: A Guide to Finding and Identifying Prehistoric Life
"Although books have been written on specific women who have contributed to vertebrate paleontology, this is far and away the most comprehensive treatment on this topic."
– J. David Archibald, San Diego State University, author of Aristotle's Ladder, Darwin's Tree: The Evolution of Visual Metaphors for Biological Order