Osborn, Henry Fairfield

Osborn, Henry Fairfield

Osborn, Henry Fairfield, 1857-1935, American paleontologist and geologist, b. Fairfield, Conn. He was professor of comparative anatomy (1883-90) at Princeton, and professor of biology (1891-96) and of zoology (1896-1910) at Columbia, where he was also dean of the faculty of pure science (1892-95). From 1891 he was associated with the American Museum of Natural History and formed one of the world's foremost collections of vertebrate fossils. Under his presidency (1908-33) the museum's scientific staff, facilities, and endowments were greatly expanded. He joined the U.S. Geological Survey as vertebrate paleontologist in 1900 and became (1924) senior geologist. His voluminous writings include general works on evolution and over 500 technical papers on paleontology.
Henry Fairfield Osborn, Jr (15 January 188716 September 1969), son of the American geologist Henry Fairfield Osborn and cousin of Frederick Osborn, was a conservationist. He was long time president of the New York Zoological Society.

In 1948 Fairfield Osborn's seminal book, 'Our Plundered Planet' was published. (UK edition Faber and Faber, London, 1948) The book was a devastating critique of mankind's (mis)stewardship of Planet Earth.

The inside cover of the book jacket states "This book - which has aroused quite extraordinary interest in America - demonstrates brilliantly and unsparingly that we are following a course which one day may render our good earth as dead as the moon. It contains unmistakable evidence that a continued defiance of nature threatens even the survival of mankind."

"Faifield Osborn (President of the New York Zoological Society) has written out of his conviction that unless public opinion is aroused, and the proper conservation of the natural and human resources of evety country regarded as a moral duty, then the earth's fertility cannot continue to sustain her risingpopulation. No nation in the long history of civilisation has been more violently destructive of itslife-supporting resources than the United Staes of America - that "country of the great illusion", the country that "can feed the world"! But the problem is worldwide. Fundamental to the troubles not only of nations like China and India, but of all nations, is the misuse of the land by their people; in parts of Russia, in the British Commonwealth, in South America, Mexico, the process is taking place which has made the deserts of Central Asia and Mesopotamia.

External links

  • http://www.wku.edu/~smithch/chronob/OSBO1887.htm

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