Mignon Talbot (August 16, 1869 – July 18, 1950) was an American paleontologist. Talbot recovered and named the only known fossils of the dinosaur Podokesaurus holyokensis, which were found near Mount Holyoke College in 1910, and published a scientific description of the specimen in 1911. In 1909 she became the first woman elected to be a member of the Paleontological Society. In the state of New York, she contributed to the Helderbergian crinoids and studied the faunas of Stafford limestone.
Born in Iowa City, Talbot received a Ph.D. in geology from Yale University in 1904, the first woman to do so. There she was a student of Charles Schuchert. She was named a professor of geology and geography at Mount Holyoke College in 1904. In 1908, Talbot became professor and chairman of the Geology department. In 1929, she became the chairman of both Geology and Geography departments. During her thirty-one years at Mount Holyoke College, she amassed a large collection of invertebrate fossils and Triassic footprints and minerals. Unfortunately, the museum burned down in 1917 and almost all the specimens were destroyed, including the one extant partial skeleton of Podokesaurus. Talbot retired in 1935 and is said to have remained passionate about her profession.
Talbot attended Ohio State University from 1888 to 1892, where she studied geology with Edward Orton and received her undergraduate degree. She received her doctorate degree in paleontology from Yale University in 1904 with a dissertation on Helderbergian crinoids of New York State.
Research and findings
fossil found and described by Talbot, the first non-bird dinosaur named by a woman
Talbot is the only known discoverer of fossils of the dinosaur Podokesaurus holyokensis, which she found near Mount Holyoke college where she was a professor. The location was by the Connecticut River between two outcroppings of mountains in a bed of sandstone. During a meeting at the Paleontological Society in December 1910, the dinosaur was first labelled as a herbivore by Talbot. As her research continued she subsequently identified the creature as theropod, in collaboration with Yale University professor Richard Swan Lull. A colleague of Lull, Friedrich von Huene, moved Podokesaurus holyokensis to a new family based on genus. The specimen was formally described in June 1911 by Talbot, who thereby became the first woman to discover and name a non-bird dinosaur.
Many of her research notes are considered historical artifacts. Talbot's contributions to geology were later reproduced in a collection decided upon by various scholars.
Born into the upper-middle class with her maternal grandfather being a doctor and her father being the superintendent of a school for deaf children, she had the opportunities to pursue a post-secondary education and further a career in academia. She was one of three children, her sister being Dr. Ellen Bliss Talbot, a professor of philosophy at the same college -- Mount Holyoke College -- as Mignon, and a brother, Herbert S. Talbot. Throughout her years of university, she was a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority and Phi Beta Kappa. After her successful career as a paleontologist and professor, she retired in Stevens House, South Hadley.
- ^ [http://www.ajsonline.org/content/s4-31/186/469.full.pdf+html Talbot, Mignon (1911). “Podokesaurus holyokensis, a new dinosaur from the Triassic of the Connecticut Valley,” American Journal of Science, 4th series, vol. 31, no. 186, pp. 469-479, 1 pl.
- ^ a b c d e Elder, Eleanor S. (August 25, 2016). "Women in Early Geology". Journal of Geological Education. 30 (5): 287–293. doi:10.5408/0022-1368-30.5.287.
- ^ Mount Holyoke College. Mignon Talbot Biography Verified January 6, 2011.
- ^ a b Doezema, Marianne (2002). Changing Prospects: The View from Mount Holyoke. United States of America: Cornell University Press. p. 9. ISBN 9780801441196.
- ^ Ogilvie, Marilyn; Harvey, Joy, eds. (2000). "Talbot, Mignon". The biographical dictionary of women in science : pioneering lives from ancient times to the mid-20th century. New York: Routledge. pp. 1263–1264. ISBN 9780415920407.
- ^ a b c Aldrich, Michele; Leviton, Alan E. (2016). "Mignon Talbot (1869-1950), Geologist". Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs. Geological Society of America. doi:10.1130/abs/2016am-277071.
- ^ Moody, Richard (2010). Dinosaurs and Other Extinct Saurians: A Historical Prospective. Geological Society of London. pp. 125–126. ISBN 9781862393110.
- ^ Turner, S., Burek, C. & Moody, R.T., 2010, "Forgotten women in an extinct Saurian 'mans' World", In: Moody, R.T., Buffetaut, E., Martill, D. & Naish, D. Eds. Dinosaurs and Other Extinct Saurians: A Historical Perspective. The Geological Society, London, Special Publication, 343: 111-153
- ^ Talbot, Mignon (2012). Revision of the New York Helderbergian Crinoids. United States of America: Nabu Press. ISBN 9781286816172.
- ^ "MIGNON TALBOT, 80, GEOLOGIST 31 YEARS; Professor Emeritus at Mount Holyoke College Dies--Made Discovery of Small Dinosaur". The New York Times. July 20, 1950. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved December 30, 2018.