WHAT makes a great palaeontologist? Is it dedication to, and success in fieldwork? Or is it making major new fossil discoveries that fundamentally change our understanding of the history of life on Earth? Or is it a career path characterized by the highest quality of fundamental palaeontological research, including the painstaking but critically important identification and description of new species, and carrying out detailed anatomical and stratigraphical studies? Or is it a record of proposing and developing imaginative and influential new hypotheses that overturn and/or revolutionize previous ideas, thereby influencing researchers for decades to come? Or is it a solid track record of training and mentoring new generations of palaeontologists to achieve successful and influential careers of their own? Or is it the ability to inspire and educate diverse scientific and non-scientific audiences, thus raising the profile of palaeontology for the media, policy makers, and general public? Without doubt, a truly great palaeontologist would be someone who combines all of these qualities. Such people are of course vanishingly rare, but among them must surely be counted Professor Mike Archer...
- Mike Archer