Paleonet: Art Boucot

Daley, Gwen Marie daleyg at
Wed Apr 12 13:25:28 GMT 2017

IIRC, I heard stories as a graduate student about his use of dynamite to recover fossils. I have never known it was a paleo-urban legend or not, but type localities of Paleozoic periods in the U.K. were frequently mentioned.

From: paleonet-bounces at [mailto:paleonet-bounces at] On Behalf Of Plotnick, Roy E
Sent: Wednesday, April 12, 2017 9:13 AM
To: paleonet at
Subject: Re: Paleonet: Art Boucot

I am currently writing a book about paleontology and paleontologists. In the chapter on field work, I wrote the following (updated this morning): of the most dedicated field-oriented invertebrate paleontologists, the late Arthur Boucot.  Art was a large guy known for collecting pretty much everything available at an outcrop; his propensity to do has given rise to the phrase "to Boucotize" an outcrop (Talent 1996). I have also heard that having one-hundred pounds of rocks on your back is "a Boucot."  Art's love and encouragement for field work is memorialized by his funding of the Paleontological Society Arthur James Boucot Research Grants, which encourages field-work based research by young scientists.
To add: Art was an ardent proponent of field work and a strong skeptic of many aspects of the "paleobiological revolution." He published a number of exhaustively researched and influential books on paleoecology and the fossil record and on Silurian and Devonian stratigraphy.  He developed the concept of the Evolutionary-Ecological Unit (EEU).  He was also a former President of the Paleontological Society.  We have lost one of the most colorful and important members of our field.

Talent, J. A. 1996. Arthur J. ('art') Boucot: Palaeontologic virtuoso and guru. Historical Biology 11( ):3-7.

- Roy


Roy E. Plotnick


Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences

University of Illinois at Chicago

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E-mail: plotnick at<mailto:plotnick at>

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"The scientific celebrities, forgetting their molluscs and glacial periods, gossiped about art, while devoting themselves to oysters and ices with characteristic energy.." -Little Women, Louisa  May Alcott
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