The foundations of paleontology at UCMP (cont.)

(page 2 of 5)

Geological Survey group photo
The California Geological Survey, December 1863 (from left): Chester Averill, assistant; William M. Gabb, paleontologist; William Ashburner, field assistant; Josiah D. Whitney, State Geologist; Charles F. Hoffmann, topographer; Clarence King, geologist; and William H. Brewer, botanist. (Bancroft Library)
 

Because of Trask's earlier work, Whitney's GSC (right) has been incorrectly called the Second Geological Survey, but it was actually the first and only GSC to this day. Whitney, a true scientist, insisted that good science underpins applied science, the chief reason for the GSC. Whitney hired William H. Brewer (party chief), James T. Gardiner (mining engineer), Richard Cotter (packer) and Clarence King (geologist), to carry out geologic, geographic and natural history field work (next page). Fossils were collected throughout and beyond the state, and the collections of others were studied. W.M. Gabb and F.B. Meek were hired to study the fossils.

  The first two publications from the GSC described Paleozoic, Mesozoic and Tertiary fossils. These fine books (next page) disappointed the State Legislature. Whitney annoyed the Legislature with his neglect of applied science and his blunt style, especially his famous words: "It is not the business of a geological surveying corps to act…as a prospecting party." and "We have escaped perils by flood and field, have evaded the friendly embrace of the grizzly, and now find ourselves in the jaws of the Legislature." By 1867, Whitney could get no more money and the Survey became

Back Front page Next