The George Gaylord Simpson Prize
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The George Gaylord Simpson Prize at the Yale Peabody Museum

An Annual Award for a Paper on Evolution and the Fossil Record

Yale University graduate students and recent PhD graduates are invited to submit one first-authored paper concerning evolution and the fossil record by to Bonnie Mahmood in the Director’s Office of the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History. So long as the paper explicitly addresses the fossil record, the range of questions addressed is open and could include contributions to the philosophy and history of science, theory and methods of phylogenetic inference, biogeography, paleontology, divergence time estimation, biodiversity studies, developmental biology, functional morphology, or conservation biology. Submissions must be either published or in press in a refereed journal. Graduate students in residence in a department at Yale, or past graduates no more than five years after PhD, are eligible. Former winners are not eligible, but papers can be submitted more than once.

A completed submission form must be included with every submitted paper.


Submission Form


2021 Winner:


Jack Shaw

Jack O. Shaw, Derek E.G. Briggs, Pincelli M. Hull; Fossilization potential of marine assemblages and environments. Geology 2021; 49(3): 258–262. doi:


Only a small percentage of all life that ever existed is preserved in the rock record. Some animals and environments are particularly unlikely to fossilize—e.g., soft-bodied organisms—biasing inferences about macroevolution and macroecology. We compared 20,000 modern marine assemblages with fossil occurrence data to yield a global assessment of "fossilization potential", the percentage of organisms likely to leave fossil evidence.


Past winners


For information contact:

Bonnie Mahmood
Senior Administrative Assistant
Peabody Museum of Natural History
Yale University
P.O. Box 208118
New Haven, CT 06520-8118 USA


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