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Saturday, November 5, 2016

Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History bestows it highest honors

Sir David Attenborough, May Berenbaum, Naomi Pierce, Neil Shubin and Geerat Vermeij
received the Yale Peabody Museum’s prestigious Verrill Medal in a ceremony at Yale University
NEW HAVEN - Sir David Frederick Attenborough, the "renowned British naturalist, broadcaster and documentary filmmaker,"  was among five "giants in the fields of natural history and natural science to receive the Addison Emery Verrill Medal, the highest honor bestowed by the curators of the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History", at a ceremony at the Yale Law School, according to a release.
"With the knowledge Attenborough could not attend the November ceremony, Peabody Director David Skelly traveled to London and presented the award to Attenborough on the occasion of his 90th birthday in May. The private ceremony was taped and kept under wraps until Friday when it was shared with the Law School audience."
Also in the release and presented unedited here:
Attenborough has devoted his life to celebrating and preserving wildlife and bringing it into countless homes worldwide via his nature documentaries. His celebrated Life series, beginning with Life on Earth in 1976 in conjunction with the BBC Natural History Unit, collectively form a comprehensive survey of animal and plant life on the planet. His practice of filming wildlife on location and at a respectful distance set the standard for the modern nature documentary. During his lifetime of achievement, he has received a myriad of honors. He was knighted in 1985, received the Order of Merit from Queen Elizabeth in 2002 and holds at least 31 honorary degrees from British universities, including Oxford and Cambridge.
Accepting medals in person were four eminent U.S. scientists: May Berenbaum ('75), Swanlund Chair and head of Entomology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Naomi Pierce ('76), Hessel Professor of Biology and curator of Lepidoptera, Harvard University; Neil Shubin, the Robert R. Bensley Professor of Organismal Biology and Anatomy, University of Chicago; and Geerat Vermeij (PhD '71), Distinguished Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences, University of California at Davis.
Created in 1959 to honor “signal practitioners in the arts of natural history and natural sciences,” the Verrill Medal is the highest honor bestowed by the curators of the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History. It is named for Addison Emery Verrill, Yale’s first professor of zoology and one of the Peabody’s first curators, who described more than 1,000 species across virtually every major taxonomic group during a long and illustrious career. Through his efforts, the Peabody’s zoological collections became one of the most renowned in the United States.
Since the award’s inception, there have been just 18 recipients. They include Ernst Mayr, George Gaylord Simpson, G. Ledyard Stebbins, G. Evelyn Hutchinson, John H. Ostrom, Peter Raven, E.O. Wilson and Alison Richard.

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