John Mitchell (paleontologist)

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John Mitchell (born March 9, 1848 in Baillieston near Glasgow , † January 14, 1928 in Waverley , Sydney ) was an Australian paleontologist and teacher.


Mitchell was the son of a mining contractor and manager and came to Australia with his parents in 1849, where he grew up in Newcastle, New South Wales . He attended a teachers' college and was a teacher at Newcastle and Balranald . There he collected beetles and butterflies and when he was transferred to Bowning near Yass in 1883 he began collecting fossils. In 1884 he became a member of the Linnean Society of New South Wales and published from 1886 in their journal (Proceedings).

From 1888 he was in Narellan and began to collect fossil insects and plants from the Triassic Wianamatta Group of the Sydney Basin . There he discovered the first Australian copies of the 1890 Shell Schaler genus of Leaia , by Robert Etheridge Leaia mitchelli called ( Leaia mitchelli = Hemicycloleaia mitchelli (Etheridge, 1892)).

In 1898 he became a science teacher at Newcastle Technical College, where he lectured on geology, botany, chemistry and testing of ores. He continued his palaeontological research and reported in 1909 on the discovery of clam shells of the genus Estheria in the coal field of Newcastle (found by him in 1890). They were also the subject of his last published work in 1927. He worked administratively for the government in the assessment of training in polytechnics and in this context attended technical schools in Europe in 1910. In 1913 he retired.

He published mainly on trilobites (Silurian from New South Wales, partly with Etheridge and in 1918 an overview of trilobites of Carboniferous in Australia) and brachiopods (Paleozoic Atrypida in New South Wales, with William Sutherland Dun 1920). A number of first descriptions of trilobites come from him.

The fossil insect Bellmontia mitchelli (Tillyard 1919) from the Newcastle coalfield (from Permian ) was named after him and the Bellmont site by Robin John Tillyard (and was originally found by Mitchell). Tillyard assigned it to the new order Paramecoptera introduced by him (no longer in use today), EF Riek in 1953 to the beaked flies (Mecoptera).

Etheridge also named the clam shell Mimoleaia mitchelli after him in 1892.

He is buried in Newcastle.

In 1870 he married Sarah Ashton, with whom he had three sons and three daughters.


  • The Carboniferous trilobites of Australia. Proceedings of The Linnean Society of New South Wales, Volume 43, 1918, pp. 437-494
  • Descriptions of two new trilobites, and note on Griffithides convexicaudatus Mitchell. Proceedings of The Linnean Society of New South Wales, Volume 47, 1922, pp. 535-540
  • New trilobites from Bowning, with notes on Encrinurus and Cordania gardneri. Proceedings of The Linnean Society of New South Wales, Volume 49, 1924, pp. 46-54
  • Descriptions of new species of Leaia. Proceedings of The Linnean Society of New South Wales, Volume 50, 1925, pp. 438-447, Pl. 41-43
  • The fossil Estheriae of Australia. Part i. Proceedings of The Linnean Society of New South Wales, Vol. 52, 1927, pp. 105-112, Pl. 2-4

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Jump up ↑ Tegan Vanderlaan, Malte Ebach, A review of the Carboniferous and Permian trilobites of Australia, Zootaxa 3926, 2015, 001-056
  2. ^ Tillyard, A fossil insect wing belonging to the new order Paramecoptera, ancestral to the Trichoptera and Lepidoptera from the Upper Coal-Measures of Newcastle, NSW. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales, Vol. 44, 1919, pp. 231-256, Belmontia Mitchelli, Fossilworks
  3. Riek, Fossil mecopteroid insects from the Upper Permian of New South Wales. Records of the Australian Museum, Volume 23, 1953, pp. 55-87