Kielan-Jaworowska, Zofia 1925-

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Kielan-Jaworowska, Zofia 1925-


Born April 25, 1925, in Sokolow, Poland; daughter of Franciszek (a bookkeeper) and Maria (a bookkeeper) Kielan; married Zbigniew Jaworowoski (a professor of radio-biology), May 8, 1958; children: Mariusz Arno. Ethnicity: "Polish." Education: University of Warsaw, M.Phil., 1949, Ph.D., 1953.


Home—Konstancin, Poland. Office—Institute of Paleobiology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Twarda 51/55, Warsaw PL-00-818, Poland.


Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw, senior scientist at Institute of Paleobiology, 1952-60, director, 1961-82, head of laboratory, 1983-86, professor of paleontology, 1961-95, professor emeritus, 1995—. University of Oslo, professor, 1987-95. Wartime service: Clandestine Home Army of Poland, scout and medic, 1939-45; received Cross of the Warsaw Uprising.


Academia Europaea, Polish Academy of Sciences, Polish Copernicus Society of Naturalists (honorary member), Society of Vertebrate Paleontology (United States; honorary member), Linnean Society (London, England; honorary member), Norwegian Academy of Sciences (foreign member).


D.H.C., University of Camerino, 1989; Prize of Foundation for Polish Science, 2005, for Mammals from the Age of Dinosaurs: Origins, Evolution, and Structure.


Hunting for Dinosaurs, MIT Press (Cambridge, MA), 1969.

Przygody w skamiennialym świecie (popular science), Nasza Ksiegarnia (Warsaw, Poland), 1973.

(Editor, with K.A. Lillegraven and W.A. Clemens, and contributor) Mesozoic Mammals: The First Two-thirds of Mammalian History, University of California Press (Berkeley, CA), 1979.

(With P.P. Gambaryan) Postcranial Anatomy and Habits of Asian Multituberculate Mammals, Scandinavian University Press (Oslo, Norway), 1994.

(With Richard L. Cifelli and Zhe-Xi Luo) Mammals from the Age of Dinosaurs: Origins, Evolution, and Structure, Columbia University Press (New York, NY), 2004.

Author of more than 200 scientific papers. Chief editor, Acta Palaeontologica Polonica.


Zofia Kielan-Jaworowska told CA: "I am a scientist, not a writer and, like all scientists, I publish results of my work in monographs and papers in scientific journals. Being a paleontologist, I wish to share my knowledge on the evolution of life with a wider audience. That is how I started writing. My mother tongue is Polish, and I have written most of my popular articles and books in Polish, but one of my popular books was translated into English and published as Hunting for Dinosaurs. My scientific papers and books are written in English.

"For almost fifty years I have worked on early mammals that lived during the Mesozoic era, which means the time when dinosaurs ruled the earth. In my writings I try to explain why mammals for two-thirds of their history (220-65 millions of years ago) have been small, nocturnal animals. The nocturnal environment caused the development of senses (hearing, smell, and vision) which in turn influenced the enlargement of the brain and the development of intelligence. Many important structures of our brain developed in this ancient epoch. When dinosaurs became extinct sixty-five million years ago, some groups of mammals started to occupy the day niches and to increase in size. One among them—the primates, to which we belong—adapted themselves for living in trees, which caused further development of senses, the sense of equilibrium, stereoscopic vision, and also the opposable thumb and the acquisition of the upright posture for vertical climbing.

"The climate changes about six to five million years ago in the Mediterranean basin and Africa increased the development of savannas. About that time our ancestors, predisposed to walking upright, left the arboreal environment and began to live in open areas. All this shows how our origin and evolution depended on a changing environment, in particular the climate, and that with a different pace and type of such changes, man could have made his appearances several million years later, or earlier, or in some conditions might not have appeared at all. This perspective shows us in a less anthropocentric and a more humble light than some non-scientific speculations do."



Zofia Kielan-Jaworowska Home Page, (February 26, 2007).

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Kielan-Jaworowska, Zofia 1925-

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