osborn-coverThe Origin and Evolution of Life, 1918
By Henry Fairfield Osborn

Henry Fairfield Osborn founded the Department of Vertebrate Paleontology at the American Museum of Natural History
(AMNH) in New York City and was instrumental in founding the Department of Zoology at Columbia University.1  
His career at the American Museum began in 1891, and from 1908 until 1933 he served as museum president.2  During his tenure
as museum president he was responsible for sending out a number of fossil collecting parties which amassed what is probably the
greatest collection of fossil vertebrates in the world.  Osborn was a prolific author and his The Origin and Evolution of Life was
considered to be one of Osborn's three great treatises, the others being The Age of Mammals, and Men of the Old Stone Age.2 

The Origin and Evolution of Life
not only covers the "origin and evolution of life," but in the early chapters considers such
topics as physics, physiochemical dynamics of organisms, geochemistry, geophysics, and astronomy.  The latter half of the book
focuses on prehistoric vertebrates and the evolution thereof.

Osborn includes many black and white (no color) illustrations in his book, often combining a photograph of a skeleton with a life
restoration, as shown below.


The Origin and Evolution of Life contains copies of many of Charles R. Knight's paintings.  Most of the pen and
ink illustrations are by Richard Deckert (e.g., the duckbills, above).

Below is one of several Knight illustrations contained in the book.  It is another variant of Knight's Mosasaur chasing
the prehistoric fish Portheus (see Czerkas and Glut). 


1Colbert, E. H., Men and Dinosaurs: The Search in Field and Laboratory (1968).
2 Decamp, L. S., and C. C. DeCamp, The Day of the Dinosaur ((1968).