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Léonard Ginsburg et la Paléontologie Portugaise. Hommage amical

Author(s): Telles Antunes, M.

Journal: Estudios Geologicos
ISSN 0367-0449

Volume: 67;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 171;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Léonard Ginsburg has been a distinguished palaeontologist. He was a gifted one: intelligence, high working capacity, experience, knowledge and critical sense. As critical sense is not always the best for some people, adversaries were not rare. He was both an accomplished researcher and a deep connoisseur of the collections under his responsibility, as well as someone with a broad knowledge of the science world. By the high number and value of his contributions, an homage that he deserved so much is but an act of justice. As far as I am concerned, Ginsburg was a Colleague and Friend since 1961 until the end, even after his research activities ceased. Of course, his contributions cannot be valued just from a personal viewpoint. We can recognize their value for, among many others, a Country as Portugal. After obtaining a scholarship to prepare my Ph.D., I drove to Paris loaded with vertebrate fossils from Angola and Portugal, not without a few incidents because, by sheer chance, I arrived just the day of the Algerian “putsch”. Here they are my beginnings in Paris that developed into an institutional and personal collaboration and friendship for half a century. I have been very well received by the Director of the Muséum’s Institut de Paléontologie, Professor Jean-Pierre Lehman. I was lodged at the building’s basement. Soon afterwards, an unknown man approached asking me if I was a young « Spaniard » that came in to study fossil vertebrates, as Mr. Lehman had told him. He was Léonard Ginsburg. Our collaboration begun. We dealt mainly with the Miocene mammalian faunas from Portugal, and especially from Lisbon, as well as some Eocene ones. Nevertheless we also studied some other groups as crocodilians and areas, mostly in France. Research was carried on at the Paris Museum, the concerned Portuguese institutions and on the field. Under a palaeontological viewpoint, a most important place concerns Carnivora and Rhinocerotidae, as well as palaeoecologic and stratigraphic consequences. Some new taxa were described. Studies on taphonomic matters were produced. New interpretations taking profit of the very favourable conditions presented by the Tagus basin in Portugal were most useful for marine-continental correlations. Results may in part be recognised through the list of briefly commented papers given in the French text. It comprises both the papers signed by him as co-author and other ones where smaller contributions are recorded. The two ones dated 2006 are perhaps his last papers. As Ginsburg was compelled to quit the Muséum, he lost indispensable means of work. Research had to cease. This undoubtedly accelerated his physical decadence. In my albeit modest opinion, Ginsburg largely deserves the recognition from the Institution that he served for so long in such a remarkable way and from all those with which he collaborated, or that profited from his help. Otherwise, we clearly can conclude that he gave (among many others) a most valuable contribution to the Palaeontology and Stratigraphy of the Portuguese Tertiary. This justified his election as a Foreign Corresponding Member of the Lisbon Academy of Sciences. As a memory of his work, his collaboration and friendship, I want to express here my deep gratitude and sympathy towards my dear Friend, Léonard. Our common Friend, Philippe Taquet, had the touching courtesy of communicating me the death of Ginsburg and to put a flower on my intention on his grave at burial. REQUIESCAT IN PACE!No disponible
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