George Gaylord Simpson (June 16, 1902 – October 6, 1984) was an American paleontologist. Simpson was perhaps the most influential paleontologist of the twentieth century, and a major participant in the modern synthesis, contributing Tempo and Mode in Evolution (1944), The Meaning of Evolution (1949) and The Major Features of Evolution (1953). He was an expert on extinctmammals and their intercontinental migrations. Simpson was extraordinarily knowledgeable about Mesozoic fossil mammals and fossil mammals of North and South America. He anticipated such concepts as punctuated equilibrium (in Tempo and Mode) and dispelled the myth that the evolution of the horse was a linear process culminating in the modern Equus caballus. He coined the word hypodigm in 1940, and published extensively on the taxonomy of fossil and extant mammals. Simpson was influentially, and incorrectly, opposed to Alfred Wegener's theory of continental drift, but accepted the theory of plate tectonics (and continental drift) when the evidence became conclusive.
^Léo F. Laporte, ed. (1987). Simple Curiosity: Letters from George Gaylord Simpson to His Family, 1921-1970. University of California Press. p. 16. ISBN 9780520057920. By his early teens, Simpson had given up being a Christian, although he had not formally declared himself an atheist. At college he began the gradual development of what might best be called positivistic agnosticism: a belief that the world could be known and explained by ordinary empirical observation without recourse to supernatural forces. Ultimate causation, he considered unknowable.
Aronson, J. (2002). "'Molecules and monkeys': George Gaylord Simpson and the challenge of molecular evolution". History & Philosophy of the Life Sciences. 24 (3–4): 441–465. doi:10.1080/03919710210001714503. PMID15045833.
Gershenowitz, H. (1978). "George Gaylord Simpson and Lamarck". Indian Journal of History of Science. 13 (1): 56–61. PMID11615952.
Laporte, L. O. F. (1994). "Simpson on species". Journal of the History of Biology. 27 (1): 141–159. doi:10.1007/BF01058629. PMID11639257. S2CID 34975382.
Olson, E. C. (1991). "George Gaylord Simpson: June 16, 1902-October 6, 1984". Biographical Memoirs of the National Academy of Sciences. 60: 331–353. PMID11616139.
Laporte, Léo F. (1991). "George Gaylord Simpson as mentor and apologist for paleoanthropology". American Journal of Physical Anthropology. 84 (1): 1–16. doi:10.1002/ajpa.1330840102. PMID2018099.
Laporte, L. F. (1983). "Simpson's Tempo and Mode in Evolution revisited". Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society. 127 (6): 365–417. PMID11611330.
Wikiquote has quotations related to George Gaylord Simpson.
George Gaylord Simpson — full and comprehensive biography by L. F. Laporte
George Gaylord Simpson Archived August 24, 2009, at the Wayback Machine — biographical sketch from The Stephen Jay Gould Archive
George Gaylord Simpson — a short biography from the PBS Evolution website
George Gaylord Simpson Papers, American Philosophical Society.