E is for Tilly Edinger – Paleoneurologist
Tilly Edinger (1897 – 1967) created the subdiscipline of paleontology called paleoneurology. Paleoneurology is the study of the brains of fossil organisms by observing the shape of the inside of the braincase.
Dr Edinger earned her Ph.D. in zoology in 1921 studying the brain of Nothosaurus a marine reptile from the University of Frankfurt. She later moved to the Senckenberg Museum and wrote her seminal book Die Fossilen Gehirne (Fossil Brains), by which she founded the discipline of paleoneurology.
Dr. Edinger’s position was threatened when the Nazi Party rose to power in 1933. In 1940, she moved to the United States to work at the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University.
She was highly regarded in the discipline of vertebrate paleontology and was elected president of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology in 1963.
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