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Metasequoia Leaf, Ravenscrag Fm (Paleocene), Grasslands NP..JPG

The Billings Medal

The Paleontology Division recognized the need to acknowledge outstanding contributions to Canadian paleontology and responded by creating the Billings Medal. A committee of three Division members is appointed by the Division executive biennially in odd-numbered years to solicit and consider nominations for this award. A nominee's significant contribution may take the form of a single paper or monograph; a series of related papers or monographs; or a long term contribution to the paleontology of a specific taxonomic group, a specific time interval, a specific geographic area, or a specific discipline.

The Billings Medal is named in honour of Elkanah Billings (1820-1876), who is regarded as the father of paleontology in Canada. In 1856, Billings became the first paleontologist to be hired by the Geological Survey of Canada. Although echinoderms were his specialty, he studied and wrote on all invertebrate groups. Over the course of his lifetime, he erected sixty-one new genera and 1065 new species. His bibliography comprises over 200 titles. A summary of Billings' work is found in a paper by T.H. Clark (1971): Elkanah Billings (1820-1876) - Canada's first paleontologist. Geological Association of Canada, Proceedings, v. 23, pp. 11-14).

Recent awardees

2023 - M. Gabriela Mángano (University of Saskatchewan)

2019 - Jisuo Jin (University of Western Ontario)

2017 - George Pemberton (University of Alberta)

2015 - Paul Smith (University of British Columbia)

2013 - Godfrey Nowlan (Geological Survey of Canada)


The Billings Medal, established by the Paleontology Division (PD) of the Geological
Association of Canada, is awarded to an individual in recognition of an outstanding long-term contribution to any aspect of Canadian paleontology or by a Canadian to paleontology.

It is named in honour of Elkanah Billings, the first paleontologist hired by the Geological Survey of Canada. The Billings Medal is awarded every three years. The next winner shall be recognized at the 2023 Canadian Paleontology Conference.

Paleontology is a broad profession that includes a diversity of fields, including university
professors, museum professionals, preparators, consultants, government geologists, etc. The PD recognizes that ‘excellence’ may be defined differently for each field. Five ‘Areas of Excellence’ have been identified - Academic Contributions; Teaching and Mentoring; Service to the Paleontology Community; Field, Laboratory and Collections Contributions; and Public Outreach and Education. Nominators should demonstrate their nominee has demonstrated excellence in at least two of the areas. The Areas of Excellence are listed in the nomination package, and it is encouraged that nominators and references refer to them in their nomination letters.

The nominee does not have to be a PD member. However, at least one nominator per
application must be an active PD member. Unsuccessful nominations remain in the pool for one additional selection process and may be updated by the nominators as required. Please see ‘Nomination Checklist’ on page 4 below for a list of required nomination materials.

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