Graptolite Net


 Roman Koz這wski

(1889 - 1977)

 By Krystyna Po瘸ryska

Poland and the World Geology and Paleontology have suffered a heavy loss recently. Professor Roman Koz這wski, an outstanding Polish scientist, Doctor of Paleontology, a member of the Polish Academy of Sciences died on the 2nd of May, 1977.

Professor Koz這wski was a man of a great character and genuine interest in the field of his study, wholely and creatively involved in his work; his research work was his best companion and friend till the end of his life.

Born in W這c豉wek, where he completed the High School of Commerce. He studied in Switzerland and at Paris University under Professor's M. Boule guidance. In 1913 he left for Bolivia receiving a position of professor and director of Geological Sciences Department at the Mining School in Oruro.

There he published eight papers dealing with natural resources of Bolivia and geology and paleontology of Devonian and Carboniferous, mainly with brachiopods. In 1921 Professor Koz這wski returned to Europe. After obtaining his PhD in Natural Sciences at Paris University, he was appointed Head of the chair of Paleontology at the Polish Free University and soon at the University of Warsaw, where he concentrated all his creative activity on research. As a result he produced the greatest monument of his life - a study on graptolites. The specimens were collected in the Holy Cross Mountains. Graptolites very well preserved in chalcedone layers from the Cambrian/Ordovician boundary (Tremadocian). The belonged to the Dendroidea group. The specimens recovered by chemical treatment performed by the professor himself, were a revelation on the world's scale, as graptolites were formerly known only in a flattened form in slates. The three dimensional specimens made it possible to undertake specific anatomical studies. With his profound zoological background, Professor Koz這wski pointed out the inadequate systematic positions of graptolites, which he assigned to Hemichordata.

This discovery was a great achievement at that time. Like the monograph on graptolites each succesive research work of Professor Koz這wski was creative, innovative and contributed significantly to the development of science. Professor's Koz這wski investigations provided evidence to prove that paleontology supplies materials that can give specific morphological data, as in the case of zoology. Through his work he initiated a biological direction in paleontology.

In the tragic years of war he worked as curator in the Geological Institute as the building of the Department of Geology and Palaeontology of the University was completely destroyed. After the end of the war he created a new research centre, at the biginning at the University of Warsaw, later on at the Polish Academy of Sciences. The latter was called Institute of Paleozoology, connected with the Section of Biological Sciences. The number of reserches in the latter Centre reached 25 specialists representing different groups of fossil invertebrates.The method of etching fossils in acid was developed there on large scale. The chemical method revealed features which were impossible to be observed by use of other methods.

The scientific activities of the late Professor Roman Koz這wski were both rich and multichanneled. Not only the number of his publications is impressive, over 40, plus about a dozen of review articles - but, above all, their originality. Each of his publications is a genuine and creative work, containing relevant emprirical data. Four are representing fundamental monographs concerning brachiopods and graptolites. Other threw new light on such little known organism as Conularia, Hydroida, Scolecodonta, Chitinozoa, Polychaeta, Cephalopoda and some others, as well as some Paleozoic organisms of unknown position.

In appreciation of his merits Professor Koz這wski received the highest distinctions at home and abroad. He was awarded Doctor honoris causa degrees by a number of Universities and was a honorary member of 17 international scientific organizations, He was not only a great scientist but also a man deeply concerned with the need of the humanization of Science.


Published in: Pal鄤ntologische Zeitschrift 1977, v. 51, 3/4, 133-134.