Curator 1975–2010, Fossil Fishes Collection
“In no small part, the quality of these resources reflects Mark’s efforts to build and maintain a world-class assemblage of fossil material.”
- Cynthia Paszkowski, Curator, University of Alberta Museum of Zoology, Ornithology and Amphibian & Reptile Collections
Dr. Mark Wilson served as the Curator of Fossil Fishes in the University of Alberta Laboratory for Vertebrate Paleontology for 35 years. The Fossil Fishes Collection is recognized by the Department of Biological Sciences as an invaluable resource used for research, the training of undergraduate and graduate students, and support for outstanding programs in animal biology, evolutionary biology and paleontology.
The collecting activities of Dr. Wilson and his students in the Northwest and Nunavut Territories helped to create one of the world’s largest collections of jawless fishes and early fishes with jaws. Their collecting activities also contributed many discoveries to science including new species, families, orders of fishes, the earliest known fossil vertebrate stomach, the only known vertebrates with more than two paired fins, and one of the earliest articulated sharks.
Dr. Wilson initiated a model, replica and casting service that has made renowned fossils housed at the University of Alberta available to other museums and university collections around the world. Dr. Wilson also helped spearhead a very active global vertebrate fossil loan service. To date, Dr. Wilson has published 136 scientific articles, many of which use exclusively University of Alberta fossil specimens.
In addition to his curatorial, research and teaching responsibilities, Dr. Wilson served as chair of both the University of Alberta Museums Curators and Policy & Planning Committees. Now, as a professor emeritus, Dr. Wilson continues as a strong advocate for the importance of university museum collections.
Adapted from nomination by John Bruner, Research Assistant, and support letters by Cynthia Paszkowski, Curator, University of Alberta Museum of Zoology (Ornithology and Amphibian & Reptile Collections) and Alison Murray, Curator, University of Alberta Museum of Zoology (Ichthyology) and Laboratory for Vertebrate Paleontology (Fossil Fishes).