At its inception, the Paleontology Division recognized the need to acknowledge outstanding contributions to Canadian paleontology and responded by creating the Billings Medal. A committee of three Division members is appointed by the Division executive every two years to solicit and consider nominations for this award. A nominee's significant contribution may take the form of a single paper or monograph; a series of related papers or monographs; or a long term contribution to the paleontology of a specific taxonomic group, a specific time interval, a specific geographic area, or a specific discipline.


The Billings Medal is named in honour of Elkanah Billings (1820-1876), who is regarded as the father of paleontology in Canada. In 1856, Billings became the first paleontologist to be hired by the Geological Survey of Canada. Although echinoderms were his specialty, he studied and wrote on all invertebrate groups. Over the course of his lifetime, he erected sixty-one new genera and 1065 new species. His bibliography comprises over 200 titles. A summary of Billings' work is found in a paper by T.H. Clark (1971):

 Elkanah Billings (1820-1876) - Canada's first paleontologist. Geological Association of Canada, Proceedings, v. 23, pp. 11-14).


For more details and the names of past recipients, click here.



The Paleontology Division has recently introduced a new award, the Pikaia Award. The Pikaia Award is awarded in recognition of a recent contribution to research on any aspect of Canadian paleontology, or by a Canadian to paleontology, that is judged to constitute an outstanding accomplishment in the field. The outstanding accomplishment may be a single paper or monograph or a series of closely related papers. The award will normally go to an individual who is no more than 15 years past their last degree.

The Pikaia award is named after Pikaia, an early cephalochordate known from the Burgess Shale. It is awarded biennially in even-numbered years.

For more details and the names of recipients, click here.

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