Coincidence has a strange, and sometimes unfortunate, way of materialising in life. It was only recently that I published a couple of posts as an introduction to the Oxford Clay and it is no surprise that the name of Alan Dawn was mentioned more than a few times. Sadly, if you didn’t know, Alan passed away on October 31st after a short illness. He was 87.
Alan was an amazing man and truly one of the great amateur paleontologists of his or, indeed, any generation. Although he worked on and prepared Pleistocene mammals, his legacy is his work on the marine reptile fauna from the local clay quarries in and around Peterborough.
As an avocational paleontologist and preparator myself I can truly admire his dedication and achievements and his contribution to our understanding and perception of the Oxford Clay fauna simply cannot be underestimated.
I could write a few other things about Alan’s life but his friend Jeff Liston has done a much better job at it than I could and has written a nice tribute page at his website here.
Alan lost his wife Pauline only recently and will be greatly missed by family and friends alike and we all send them our sympathy and condolences.
One of the true greats of recent times in British paleontology and is a sad loss to all of us who knew him.