Elaine Anderson

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Elaine Anderson
Elaine Anderson, Denver Museum.jpg
Born(1936-01-08)January 8, 1936
DiedMarch 26, 2002(2002-03-26) (aged 66)
Denver, Colorado
ResidenceDenver, Colorado, United States
Alma materUniversity of Colorado
Scientific career
FieldsVertebrate paleontology, Mammalogy, Zooarchaeology, Conservation biology
InstitutionsSmithsonian Institution, Idaho Museum of Natural History, Colorado State University, Denver Museum of Nature & Science
Doctoral advisorBjörn Kurtén

Elaine Anderson (January 8, 1936 – March 26, 2002) was an American paleontologist. She is best known for her work on vertebrate paleontology.


Elaine Anderson was born in Salida, Colorado in January 8, 1936.[1] She was the only child of John and Edith Anderson. She was raised in Denver, Colorado.[2]

Anderson graduated from the University of Colorado in 1960. She completed her Master's thesis in 1965. For her Ph.D., she opted to go to Finland, becoming the first Fulbright Scholar to do so. She studied under the Finnish paleontologist Björn Kurtén, then one of the most distinguished authorities on studies on prehistoric mammals. Anderson returned to the United States after completing her Ph.D. and worked as a scientific consultant at the Pleistocene Hall at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution. She also worked briefly at the Idaho Museum of Natural History (then known as the Idaho State University Museum of Natural History) and the Maryland Academy of Sciences. She had to leave her latter job in order to return to Denver and care for her ailing mother.[2]

After her mother's death, she stayed in her childhood home, often being visited by other paleontologists, mammalogists and naturalists who were passing through. A frequent visitor of the Denver Museum of Nature & Science (formerly known as the Denver Museum of Natural History), she formally became a member of the staff in 1984. She was elected a Research Associate in 1994. She was also an adjunct professor of Biology at the Colorado State University.[2]

She died in March 26, 2002 in Denver.[1][2]

Contributions to science[edit]

Anderson specialized in vertebrate paleontology and mammals. Her particular interest in the members of Carnivora earned her the affectionate nickname of "The Carnivore Lady". She was an Associate Editor of the journal Mammalian Species, published by the American Society of Mammalogists from 1995 until her death. She was also involved in the field of zooarcheology, long before the term was even coined. She was also active in the conservation efforts on North American mammalian fauna.[2]

She was a member of the American Quaternary Association and was elected an Honorary Member of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology in 2000.[2]

She is best known for her work Pleistocene Mammals of North America, written in collaboration with Björn Kurtén in 1980.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Blaine W. Schubert; Jim I. Mead; Russell W. Graham (2003). Ice Age cave faunas of North America. Indiana University Press. p. v. ISBN 978-0-253-34268-3.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Russell Wm. Graham; H. Gregory McDonald (2002). "In Memoriam: Elaine Anderson, 1936-2002" (PDF). Mammoth Trumpet. 17 (3): 8–9. ISSN 8755-6898. Retrieved May 18, 2011.
  3. ^ S. David Webb; Russell W. graham; Anthony D. Barnosky; Christopher J. Bell; Richard Franz; Elizabeth A. Hadly; Ernest L. Lundelius Jr.; H. Gregory McDonald; Robert A. Martin; Holmes A. Semken Jr.; David W. Steadman (2002). Vertebrate Paleontology (PDF). Developments in Quaternary Science. Developments in Quaternary Sciences. 17. p. 533. doi:10.1016/S1571-0866(03)01025-X. ISBN 9780444514707. ISSN 1571-0866. Retrieved May 18, 2011.