skip all navigation
skip banner links
skip primary navigation

Memoir 44—Contributions to Paleozoic paleontology and stratigraphy in honor of Rousseau H. Flower

Compiled by D. L. Wolberg, 1988, 415 pp., 192 figs.

This volume celebrates a life in science by bringing together 25 contributions by 37 authors from around the world. It covers a variety of Paleozoic invertebrates, stratigraphy, and paleo-geography. The memoir contains 100 line drawings and 92 halftone illustrations, most of them full-page composites.

Rousseau H. Flower (1913–1988) was one of the most productive paleontologists of the 20th century, and certainly one of the most colorful. A premier monographer, Flower described more than 100 new genera and 400 new species. Although best known for his work on Paleozoic cephalopods, Flower also made substantial contributions to the study of corals, wrote a paper on early vertebrates, and even worked with modern insects. Through a steady flow of scientific correspondence maintained for over half a century, he influenced several generations of paleontologists.

 Rousseau H. Flower trained as an entomologist. He always retained a fondness for dragonflies and orthopterans, but in the mid-1930s he cut his wisdom teeth on the Devonian cephalopods of eastern North America. He never looked back. As he maintained a constant drive to find out all about nautiloids, early Paleozoic stratigraphy became a natural second subject. It was the study of the environment in which nautiloids developed, diversified and waned, but it developed a life of its own in regional and intercontinental correlations, culminating in 1976. Neglected nautiloid associates were described. Almost in passing, he contributed seven papers on fossil corals and one each on several other groups of fossil invertebrates.

In his main field, the Nautiloidea, the most striking characteristic of Flower's work was the wide and even coverage of the group. He never lost sight of the fact that fossils represent once-living organisms, and has been one of the few to document evidence of life activities. One of his drawings has edified generations of students memorably: the delightful presentation of the problems of an orthoconic nautiloid without a counterbalance weight at the apex of its shell, contrasted with the satisfaction of small and large individuals with correctly weighted shells.

From the first, Flower was interested in stratigraphy, not just what appeared but in what order it appeared. He studied not just external morphology or cut specimens, but also thin sections, and made them well too. He recorded everything that indicated, or might be indicative of, natural structures. His photomicrographs were on the whole good, and he relied on retouching only in the early days. With the hindsight of scanning electron microscopy and a huge volume of work on Nautilus we can now see what many of the structures he illustrated were there to do, and we can turn the pages of almost any of his works to get answers to questions. With such questions answered, Flower proceeded to why. But there, the present burst of interest in structure and function in recent shelled cephalopods not having started, he had to fall back on imagination, and his ideas were sometimes more stimulating than ultimately acceptable. It is still mainly to his own work we look to see where he was right or not.

Articles presented in this memoir are: Rousseau Hayner Flower by D. L. Wolberg, Bibliography of Rousseau H. Flower by D. L. Wolberg and A. Gil, Nautiloids and their descendants: cephalopod classification of 1986 by M. Wade, Whiterock cephalopod fauna from the Ibex area, Millard County, western Utah by A. Gil, Nautiloids of the Lourdes Formation, Port au Port Peninsula, western Newfoundland by B. Stait, Paleoecology of Treptoceras duseri from Late Ordovician of southwestern Ohio by R. C. Frey, Jaw and crop preserved in an orthoconic nautiloid cephalopod from the Bear Gulch Limestone by N. H. Landman and R. A. Davis, The Paper Nautilus by C. H. Holland, Nuia and its environmental significance by R. J. Ross, Jr., J. E. Valusek, and N. P. James, Ordovician conodonts from the Bliss Sandstone in its type area, west Texas by J. E. Repetski, Fossil sponges from the Silurian-Devonian Roberts Mountains Formation in northeastern Nevada by J. K. Rigby and R. J. Stuart, The Ordovician genus Favistina Flower and a related colonial coral from New South Wales, Australia by B. D. Webby, Rugose corals from the Frasnian Sly Gap and Contadero Formations of the San Andres Mountains, south-central NM by J. E. Sorauf, A new genus of Plectambonitacea from Malaysia by G. A. Cooper, Concentration of the inarticulate brachiopod Craniops near the top of the Ludlow Series in the central Welsh Borderland by C. H. Holland, A new genus of Patellacea from the Middle Ordovician of Utah: the oldest known example of the superfamily by E. L. Yochelson, The origin and Paleozoic diversification of solemyoid pelecypods by J. Pojeta, Jr., Middle Ordovician palaeocopid and podocopid ostracodes from the Ibex area, Millard County, western Utah by J. M. Berdan, Late Cambrian trilobites from Tarutao Island, Thailand by J. Shergold, C. Burrett, T. Akerman, and B. Stait, Hypostomes of post-Cambrian trilobites by H. B. Whittington, Paleontology of the type section, Fort Garry Member, Red River Formation, southern Manitoba by R. J. Elias, G. S. Nowlan, and T. E. Bolton, A marine invertebrate faunule from the Tawil Sandstone of Saudi Arabia and its biogeographic-paleogeographic consequences by A. J. Boucot, D. M. Rohr, and R. B. Blodgett, Devonian, Carboniferous, and Permian stratigraphy of the Burbank Hills in western Millard County, Utah by L. F. Hintze, Deepkill and Schaghticoke Shales: Shelf-margin remnants? by W. B. N. Berry, Ordovician changes of sea level by Chen Jun-Yuan, and Late Ordovician events and the terminal Ordovician extinction by P. M. Sheehan.

$32.50 Buy Now