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古脊椎动物学报 ›› 2010, Vol. 48 ›› Issue (4): 281-284.

• 古脊椎动物学报 •    下一篇

周明镇先生自落基山脉至南雄盆地的学术马拉松

苗德岁,李传夔,王元青   

  • 出版日期:2010-12-15 发布日期:2010-12-15

MINCHEN CHOW’S ACADEMIC MARATHON FROM THE BIGHORN BASIN TO THE NANXIONG BASIN

MIAO De-Sui, LI Chuan-Kui, WANG Yuan-Qing   

  • Online:2010-12-15 Published:2010-12-15

摘要: 周明镇先生诞生于五四运动前夜,其一生与中国近代史息息相关。先生出身书香门第,家境殷实,自幼聪颖,受新式教育,虽经战乱,学业未辍。他1943年毕业于重庆大学地质系,1947年赴美留学,获硕士和博士,其博士论文研究的是瓣鳃类化石。在普林斯顿大学作博士后期间,师从著名古哺乳动物学家杰普森教授,研究古近纪哺乳动物化石,1950年夏季随师在怀俄明州做野外工作。次年返国,任教于山东大学,1952年调入古脊椎动物研究室,遂成为杨钟健先生的得力助手。 周先生在学术上是通识之才,他不仅是中国古近纪哺乳动物系统研究的创始人,而且积极推动了新近纪和第四纪哺乳动物的研究,在其学术生涯的后期,还开拓了中国中生代哺乳动物的研究。周先生是继杨老之后的中国古脊椎动物学的帅才,他高瞻远瞩、爱才、识才、育才、用才,辅助杨老建立了一支精悍的科研队伍。周先生思想敏锐,密切关注国外学术发展趋势,借助其外语上的优势,及时将国外的新理论、新方法引介给国内同行。他在文革后为中国古脊椎动物学重新走向世界起了承前启后的重要作用。周先生毕生关注和推动古生物学的图书和出版工作,并积极推进中国自然博物馆事业以及其他科普工作的发展。周先生在学术上取得的成就以及获得的荣誉,是令人称羡的,但他及其家庭所做出的牺牲也是令人叹息的。

Abstract: Russell and Zhai(1987:21) point out that,"Although Eocene and Oligocene localities were known in China south of the Gobi in the 1920's, very little augmentation of the collections occurred until approximately the 1960's, when increased field activity on the part of crews directed by Minchen Chow was responsible for much new material collected and described."Minchen Chow's own report of the late Eocene to early Oligocene mammals from Yunnan and Guangxi provinces began to appear in 1957(Chow,1957). In the following three years, Chow published more than half a dozen papers on Paleogene mammals from Yunnan, Henan, Jiangxi, and Xinjiang. These works set the stage for the discoveries mentioned above by Russell and Zhai. Paradoxically, this sudden surge of interest in Chinese Paleogene mammals was not accidental, given the fact that during the 1950s and early 1960s, the Chinese government promoted geological investigations and Chinese vertebrate paleontologists seized this opportunity to expand their scope of exploration and research. It is, however,a historical accident that Minchen Chow, the principal organizer and a major player in these increased research activities, learned his trade in the Bighorn Basin, Wyoming from Glenn Jepsen,a vertebrate paleontologist at Princeton University. Chow spent the summer of 1950 with Jepsen's Princeton field crew, where he familiarized himself with North American Paleogene mammalian faunas. Before that, Chow had focused on the Pennsylvanian freshwater bivalves of Pennsylvania, as his PhD dissertation at Lehigh University. Thus, the seeds of passion for mammalian paleontology were sowed in remote Wyoming, and the harvest began only a few years later across the Pacific.