Mary Dawson

In 1962, the director of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, PA told Mary Dawson, "No woman will ever be a curator here." He sure was wrong! Since 1972, Dr. Mary Dawson has been the curator of Vertebrate Paleontology at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History and the chair of the Division of Earth Sciences. The museum is home to the fourth largest collection in North America. The collection is still growing strong. The museum is building a new dinosaur hall called Dinosaurs in Their World. Construction began in the Spring of 2005.

Dr. Dawson grew up in Michigan, graduated from Michigan State University, and got her Ph.D. from the University of Kansas. Dr. Dawson's love of animals began when she was a child on the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Her research focuses on the beginnings of rodents, rabbits, and hares. She and her research team, working in the Arctic in the 1970s and '80s, discovered the first fossils of Tertiary land animals that documented a northerly migration route between North America and Europe. That is the theory of plate tectonics

Dr. Dawson has won many awards for her work. In 2002, she became the first American woman to receive the A.S. Romer-G.G. Simpson Medal, the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology's highest honor.

Dr. Dawson is proud of the work she does at the museum. She believes, the museum's "real goal is to encourage their (children's) interest in science."

Image courtesy of Carnegie Museum of Natural History
Photo by Melinda McNaugher

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by Indraneel, fourth grade, 2005