Field of Science

Donald Baird and His Fieldwork in the Triassic-Jurassic of Nova Scotia

Sues, H.-D., Hook, R. W., and P. E. Olsen. 2013. Donald Baird and his discoveries of Carboniferous and early Mesozoic vertebrates in Nova Scotia. Atlantic Geology 49:90-103.

Abstract - Donald Baird (1926–2011), an influential and innovative vertebrate paleontologist with a scientific career spanning nearly 50 years, had an exceptional breadth of expertise in the study of late Paleozoic and Mesozoic vertebrates and their life traces. Beginning in 1956, Baird conducted fieldwork in the Carboniferous and Triassic-Jurassic of Nova Scotia, making a total of 21 trips in 30 years. His many scientific contributions include the discoveries of important assemblages of Carboniferous vertebrates as well as an unexpectedly diverse record of early Mesozoic tetrapods and their trackways in the province. Baird also encouraged and supported fieldwork by other vertebrate paleontologists as well as amateurs in Nova Scotia and elsewhere. His career-long commitment to the vertebrate paleontology of the province was instrumental in establishing it as an important source of fossils of Carboniferous and early Mesozoic continental vertebrates.


  1. Though he never did describe the Nova Scotian dinosaurs, correct? The possible ornithischian was finally described by Irmis et al. (2007), the sauropodomorph was described in Fedak's (2006) thesis as "Fendusaurus" (named cited online on Google Books), and I don't think the ?podokesaurid has been described at all. I wonder what kept Baird from doing this in his half century of work on the site.

  2. According to the article, preparation of the material was very time consuming and other projects kept him from finishing the work.

  3. One could easily make a list of the things that could keep a busy researcher, who also has other academic and personal responsibilities, from finishing every project they would have liked to. From personal experience I know that Don gave up an entire day of valuable research time to talk with and encourage a budding paleontogist that showed up uninvited to his lab.

  4. Very true. As your career progesses you will often find that your administrative duties greatly increase. In fact you will find that the most time you ever had for research was probably when you were a graduate student!


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