Robert Lynn Carroll FRSC (born May 5, 1938) is a vertebrate
paleontologist who specialises in
Carroll was an only child and grew up on a farm near Lansing,
Michigan. He was introduced to paleontology by his father shortly
after his fifth birthday, and by the time he was eight he had decided
he wanted to be a vertebrate paleontologist. In that same year he
received as a Christmas present the left femur of an Allosaurus,
courtesy of Edwin H. Colbert, whom his father had told about his
interest. In his teen years his parents took him on many fossil
hunting trips to
Wyoming and South Dakota.
Allosaurus was discovered
by Edwin Harris Colbert at the year 1942 in Wyoming.
After high-school, he went to
Michigan State University, where he
received a BSc in 1959, majoring in Geology. From there he went to
Harvard University where he studied biology and paleontology under
Alfred Sherwood Romer. His thesis dealt with the Dissorophidae, a
Paleozoic amphibians that are often considered the closest
relatives of present day amphibians, although they may also be
After obtaining his Ph.D., he held a two-year postdoctoral fellowship
Redpath Museum at
McGill University in Montréal, and then at the
Natural History Museum in London. During this time he studied tetrapod
remains from the Pennsylvanian lycopod “tree stumps” at Joggins,
Nova Scotia (a variety of temnospondyls, microsaurs, and basal
amniotes). Most of this material was collected and first studied by
Sir William Dawson, the first Principal of McGill University, in the
Returning from London, in 1964 Carroll joined the permanent staff of
McGill University as curator of vertebrate paleontology at the Redpath
Museum. He was appointed Strathcona Professor of Zoology in
1987. From 1985 to 1991 he was director of the Redpath Museum.
Dr Carroll is the author or co-author of a large number of scientific
papers on fossil vertebrates, as well as a number of important
monographs, text-books and more general books. His areas of research
include the origins of terrestrial vertebrates, the origin and early
evolutionary radiation of amniotes, the origin and interrelationships
of the Lissamphibian groups, the anatomy and relationship of Paleozoic
Mesozoic amphibians and reptiles, large scale patterns and
processes of vertebrate evolution, and the use of
reptiles as a model for investigating factors controlling the patterns
and rates of evolution.
He currently lives in Montreal. He is married to Anna DiTuri, a
retired business school teacher, and they have one child, David.
Carroll, R.L. 1988. Vertebrate
Paleontology and Evolution. W. H.
Freeman and Co. New York.
Stearn, C. and Carroll, R.L. 1989. Paleontology: The Record of Life.
John Wiley and Sons. New York.
Carroll, R.L. 1997. Patterns and Processes of Vertebrate Evolution.
Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
Carroll, R.L., Bossy, K.A., Milner, A.C., Andrews, S.M., and
Wellstead, C.F. 1998. "Lepospondyli". Encyclopedia of
Paleoherpetology, P. Wellnhofer (ed.). Dr. Friedrich Pfeil, München.
Carroll, R.L. 2000.
Amphibian Biology, vol 4, Palaeontology, The
Evolutionary History of Amphibians, Surrey Beatty & Sons,
Carroll, R.L. 2009. The Rise of Amphibians: 365 Million years of
Evolution, The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore.
^ a b c d Sues, Hans-Dieter; Murray, A.M.; Anderson, J.S. (2003).
"Robert Lynn Carroll — an appreciation" (PDF). Canadian Journal of
Earth Sciences. 40: 469–472. doi:10.1139/e02-098. Archived from the
original (pdf) on 2005-05-15.
^ a b science.ca Profile : Robert L. Carroll
^ 2004 A. S. Romer-G. G. Simpson Medal Archived 2010-07-16 at the
^ Directors of the Museum, Past and Present
^ McDowell, Samuel B.; Rowe, Timothy (22 June 1988). "Review:
Paleontology and Evolution by Robert L. Carroll". Journal
of Vertebrate Paleontology. 8 (2): 234–236.
doi:10.1080/02724634.1988.10011703. JSTOR 4523196.
Robert L. Carroll Home page
science.ca Profile : Robert L. Carroll
2004 A. S. Romer-G. G. Simpson Medal
ISNI: 0000 0001 2145 9417
BNF: cb15054360j (data)