Malcolm McKenna

Malcolm Carnegie McKenna (1930–2008) was an American paleontologist and author on the subject.[1]

Malcolm C. McKenna
Malcolm C. McKenna.jpg
Born(1931-07-21)July 21, 1931
Pomona, California
DiedMarch 3, 2008(2008-03-03) (aged 76)
Boulder, Colorado
Alma mater
Known forClassification of mammals
ChildrenDouglas, Andrew, Katharine, and Bruce
Scientific career
Doctoral advisorDonald E. Savage


McKenna began his paleontology career at the Webb School of California (grades 9-12) in Claremont, California, under noted paleontologist and teacher, Raymond Alf. He attended the California Institute of Technology and Pomona College, then graduated in paleontology at the University of California, Berkeley, where he also earned his Ph.D.[1]

He was the curator of vertebrate paleontology at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. Through most of his four decades at the museum, he held a professorship in geosciences at Columbia University.[1] From 1975 to 1976 he served as president of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology.[2]

With Susan K. Bell, he co-authored the 1997 book Classification of Mammals Above the Species Level, a comprehensive work genealogy of Mammalia, including the systematics, relationships, and occurrences of all Mammal taxa, living and extinct, down through the rank of genus.[3] In 1992 he was awarded the Paleontological Society Medal and the Romer-Simpson Medal in 2000, the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology’s highest honor.[1]


McKenna was born in Pomona, California, the son of Bernice and Donald McKenna, a founding trustee of Claremont McKenna College in Southern California.

He was a resident of Englewood, New Jersey, while he was at the American Museum of Natural History. His wife, Priscilla, had served as President of the City Council for many years.[4] A great-grandparent was a cousin of the steel magnate Andrew Carnegie.[1]

Since 2013, McKenna has been listed on the Advisory Council of the National Center for Science Education.[5]

McKenna's son, Bruce, is a screenwriter whose work has included the television miniseries The Pacific.[6]

McKenna's daughter, Katharine L. McKenna, is an artist living in Woodstock, NY.

Malcolm Carnegie McKenna died on March 3, 2008, in Boulder, Colorado.[7]


  1. ^ a b c d e Wilford, John Noble (10 March 2008). "Malcolm McKenna, 77, Fossil Seeker, Dies". The New York Times.
  2. ^ "Past Presidents of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology". Society of Vertebrate Paleontology.
  3. ^ McKenna, Malcolm C.; Bell, Susan K.; Simpson, George Gaylord (1997). Classification of Mammals Above the Species Level. Columbia University Press. ISBN 978-0-231-11012-9.
  4. ^ Elliott, Ann Brimacombe (2000). Charming the Bones: A Portrait of Margaret Matthew Colbert. Kent State University Press. p. 80. ISBN 0-87338-648-5. The McKennas were not strictly Leonians. They lived in the next town, Englewood. Malcolm McKenna was a colleague of Ned's, a paleontologist at the American Museum. His wife, Priscilla, played the harpsichord professionally in New York and some years later became mayor of Englewood.
  5. ^ "Advisory Council". National Center for Science Education. Archived from the original on 2013-08-10. Retrieved 2018-10-30.
  6. ^ Rohan, Virginia (March 14, 2010). "Englewood native's work on HBO's The Pacific started in 2002". The Record (Bergen County). Retrieved July 22, 2011. Born 48 years ago today at Englewood Hospital, McKenna always gravitated to history. His late father, Malcolm, was an eminent paleontologist based at New York's American Museum of Natural History. (His mom, Priscilla, who now lives in Boulder, Colo., is a former Englewood City Council president.)
  7. ^ "Malcolm Carnegie McKenna". Jackson Hole Star Tribune. March 8, 2008. Archived from the original on July 31, 2017. Retrieved March 10, 2008.

External linksEdit