Friday, June 25, 2010

Peter C. Kaisen: our scow's namesake

The 2010 scow is named after Peter C. Kaisen (seen here in 1912 second from the left on the scow Mary Jane), a paleontology technician at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) from 1898 to 1936. In 1897, he was a section boss on Union Pacific Railway working in Aurora, Wyoming, USA. At this time the AMNH was working on the now famous Como Bluff dinosaur quarry, he left the railroad and joined the AMNH crew at the Bone Cabin Quarry in the spring of 1898. He worked there constantly until the fall of 1899 when he moved to New York City. He was one of Barnum Brown's "right hand man" and worked extensively with him in the field. He was part of the scow expeditions on the Red Deer River, Alberta from 1910-1913 and also worked with Brown in 1914 in Alberta. He collected, prepared, and mounted a great many specimens for the AMNH, mostly dinosaurian and a large number of these from Alberta. He worked with Roy Chapman Andrews and the AMNH team in Mongolia in 1923. His last fieldwork was done in 1932. He died on March 18, 1936.
Kaisen's work and legacy is largely eclipsed by that of Brown. He was a fellow technician and kept good and interesting fieldnotes (Brown wrote very few, if any) and for that reason the 2010 scow is named in honor of him, another unsung hero of vertebrate paleontology.
I picked the nameplates for the scow tonight and show one held in place. AB2421971 is the scows registration number- required by law, certainly nothing Brown had to deal with in 1910!

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