Each spring, the Paleontological Research Institution is proud to recognize a nonprofessional for outstanding contributions to the field of paleontology. It is with great pleasure that PRI presents its 2010 Katherine Palmer Award to Jim DuFoe.

Paula Mikkelsen and John Pojeta with award-winner, Jim DuFoe

2010 Katherine Palmer Award recipient Jim DuFoe, with Paula Mikkelsen (left) and John Pojeta (right) of Paleontological Research Institution, at the 2010 Fossil Expo of the Mid-America Paleontological Society.

Jim DuFoe of Rockton, Illinois, is an avid collector, particularly of the Ordovician rocks of northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin. He is particularly interested in mollusks, and has provided valuable specimens over the years to museums and researchers alike. Jim has reportedly split "tons" of Middle Ordovician dolomite, particularly in a quarry just west of Beloit, Wisconsin, that is owned b a friend who allows him access to collect. He has an especially good eye for finding unusual fossils such as chitons - multivalved mollusks also known as polyplacophorans or "coat-of-mail shells." Over the past 15 years, he has worked closely with Dr. John Pojeta, Jr. of the U.S. Geological Survey, who nominated Jim for this award and named a chiton species after Jim in 2003. John writes,

"Internal and external molds of disarticulated chitons are difficult to identify because they often look like fragments of larger shells. I'm convinced that a major reason why early chitons are so poorly known is because even professional paleontologists do not recognize the disarticulated valves. In addition to the disarticulated valves of chitons, Jim DuFoe has found several partial and completely articulated spiny chitons, which dramatically increased the known disparity of the polyplacophorans. The spiny chiton Echinochiton dufoei has eight valves surrounded by hollow spines and between the valves and the spines are right and left vertical rows of calcareous scues; in effect, it has three calcareous rows of anteriorposterior plates.

Jim enjoys working with profesional paleontologists, especially when the specimens he has collected result in publications and presentations at academic meetings. So far, five publications from 2003-2008 have been published with or by John Pojeta alone on the basis of Jim's chiton collections. Jim has also been active with local colleges and museums and has organized fossil and mineral collections at Beloit College and the Milwaukee Public Museum where he is a Research Associate. Jim has also donated specimens to the Burpee Museum of Natural History, in Rockford, Illinois.

The Katherine Palmer Award is named for PRI's second director, Katherine van Winkle Palmer, who held avocational paleontologists in high regard and collaborated with many during her long career. PRI has presented this award almost every year sine 1993. We are especially grateful to the Mid-America Paleontological Society for providing us with a very special venue at which to present this award over much of that time.

Publications resulting from Jim DuFoe collections:

2003 -- Pojeta, J., Jr., D. J. Eernisse, R. D. Hoare, and M. D. Henderson.  Echinochiton dufoei, a new spiny Ordovician chiton. Journal of Paleontology, 77: 646-654.

2006 -- Hoare, R. D., and J. Pojeta, Jr. Ordovician Polyplacophora (Mollusca) from North American. Paleontological Society Memoir 64, 27 pp.

2006 -- Pojeta, J., Jr., and J. DuFoe. Echinochiton dufoei: new reconstruction. Annual Meetings, American Malacological Society and Western Society of Malacologists, Absracts and Program, p. 78.

2006 -- DuFoe, J., J. Catalani, and J. Pojeta, Jr. Ordovician chitons and cephalopods from Wisconsin. Annual Meetings, American Malacological Society and Western Society of Malacologists, Abstracts and Program, p. 30.