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Jenny Clack
Born Jennifer Alice Clack
(1947-11-03)3 November 1947
Died 26 March 2020(2020-03-26) (aged 72)
Nationality English
Fields Zoology
Palaeontology
Evolutionary biology
Institutions
Alma mater Newcastle University (BSc, PhD)
University of Leicester
University of Cambridge (MA)
Known for Gaining Ground: the Origin and Early Evolution of Tetrapods (2002)

Jennifer Alice Clack FRS (née Agnew; 3 November 1947 – 26 March 2020) was an English palaeontologist. She is curator at the Cambridge University Museum of Zoology, and Professor of Vertebrate Palaeontology at Cambridge University. Her career is devoted to studying the early evolution of tetrapods.

Lobe-finned fish in the Devonian evolved into tetrapods in a series of transitional fossils. Clack adopted the term "fishapod" to describe these animals. They then colonized the freshwater swamps of the Carboniferous period.

Life

Clack attended Bolton School, one of the oldest schools in Lancashire. She received a BSc in Zoology from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne in 1970. and a PhD in 1984. She also holds a Graduate Certificate in Museum Studies from the University of Leicester and an M.A. and D.Sc. from the University of Cambridge.

In 2006, Clack was awarded a personal chair by the University of Cambridge, taking the title Professor of Vertebrate Palaeontology. In 2008 she was awarded the Daniel Giraud Elliot Medal from the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. She was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2009.

The fairly complete fossil of Acanthostega she discovered in Greenland in 1987 is a transitional, water-bound primitive tetrapod.

In April 2012 she was featured in an episode of the BBC television series Beautiful Minds, a set of documentaries about scientists who have made important discoveries.

Clack died on 26 March 2020 at the age of 72.


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