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Valentine, James W. 1926–

Valentine, James W. 1926–


Born November 10, 1926, in Los Angeles, CA; son of Adelbert C. (a carpenter) and Isabel (a homemaker) Valentine; married Diane Mondragon, 1987; children: three. Education: Phillips University, B.A., 1951; University of California, Los Angeles, M.A., 1954, Ph.D., 1958. Hobbies and other interests: Collecting the writings of Charles Darwin (all issues in all languages).


Home—Goleta, CA. Office—Department of Geology, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA 93106. E-mail—[email protected]


University of Missouri—Columbia, assistant professor, 1958-62, associate professor of geology, 1962-64; University of California, Davis, associate professor, 1964-68, professor of geology, 1968-78; University of California, Santa Barbara, professor of geological sciences, beginning 1978, currently professor emeritus. Military service: U.S. Naval Reserve, active duty, 1944-45.


National Academy of Science, American Academy of Arts and Sciences (fellow), American Association for the Advancement of Science (fellow), American Society of Naturalists, Geological Society of America (fellow), Ecological Society of America, Paleontological Society (president, 1974-75), Society for Paleontology and Mineralogy, Palaeontological Association, Society for the Study of Evolution, California Academy of Sciences (fellow).


Fulbright scholar in Australia, 1962-63; Guggenheim fellow, 1969-70.


(With Robert F. Meade) Californian Pleistocene Paleotemperatures, University of California Press (Berkeley, CA), 1961.

Paleoecologic Molluscan Geography of the Californian Pleistocene, University of California Press (Berkeley, CA), 1961.

(With Robert R. Rowland) Pleistocene Invertebrates from Northwestern Baja California de Norte, Mexico, California Academy of Sciences (San Francisco, CA), 1969.

Evolutionary Paleoecology of the Marine Biosphere, Prentice-Hall (Englewood Cliffs, NJ), 1973.

(With Theodore Dobzhansky, G.L. Stebbins, and F.J. Ayala) Evolution, W.H. Freeman (New York, NY), 1977.

(With Francisco J. Ayala) Evolving: The Theory and Processes of Organic Evolution, Benjamin-Cummings (Menlo Park, CA), 1979.

(Editor) Phanerozoic Diversity Patterns: Profiles in Macroevolution, Princeton University Press (Princeton, NJ), 1985.

Evolutionary Paleobiology: In Honor of James W. Valentine, University of Chicago Press (Chicago, IL), 1996.

On the Origin of Phyla, University of Chicago Press (Chicago, IL), 2004.

Contributor of more than two hundred articles to scientific journals. Associate editor of Paleobiology, Geological Society of America Bulletin, and Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology.


In his 2004 book On the Origin of Phyla, paleobiologist James W. Valentine looks at the Cambrian radiation: the era in the history of life on Earth that marked the development of all major body forms still used by organisms on the planet. In doing so, he draws on the work of the late Harvard paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould, who wrote in Wonderful Life (1989) about the diversity of body types preserved in the Burgess Shale fossils. "Gould considered many of the Burgess Shale animals to represent extinct phyla or body plans, and he argued that their large number was a measure of the impact of the Cambrian explosion," stated Derek E.G. Briggs in American Scientist. "Just 15 years later, Valentine's book demonstrates that there has been a sea change in the focus on phyla, from considering them as a measure of separation to exploring relationships between them—something that is impossible to do, almost by definition, on the basis of morphological data, but has become a realistic goal in the age of molecular sequencing." "Valentine paints his view of the evolution of the phyla, with an emphasis on the work of morphologists and paleontologists (a portion of which he contributed)," declared R. Andrew Cameron in Science. "He fleshes out a scenario of variation and extinction." "On the Origin of Phyla is a remarkable achievement," Briggs concluded, "a timely synthesis of the current state of this exciting field, which provides a marker against which future progress will be measured."

James W. Valentine told CA: "Traditionally, microevolution deals with processes that produce and regulate heritable change within lineages that can lead to the origin of new species. Macroevolution deals with the origin of novel branches of the tree of life, and with the processes involved as these branches wax or wane through geological time."



Jablonski, David, Douglas H. Erwin, and Jere H. Lipps, editors, Evolutionary Paleobiology, University of Chicago Press (Chicago, IL), 1996.


American Scientist, May-June, 2005, Derek E.G. Briggs, "Decoding the Cambrian Radiation."

Science, September 12, 1986, M.J. Benton, review of Phanerozoic Diversity Patterns: Profiles in Macroevolution, p. 1207; July 30, 2004, R. Andrew Cameron, "Hunting for Origins," p. 613.

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