US Geological Survey


Date of this Version



U.S. Government Works


Western North American Naturalist 78(3), © 2018, pp. 247–270


Theodore Dru Alison Cockerell was a naturalist at the University of Colorado from 1904 to 1947 and studied botany, zoology, and paleontology in North and South America, Asia, Australia, Africa, and Europe. In the latter part of his career, he studied the California islands and published many papers on their natural history, 16 of them in four years (1937–1940). He made important contributions to the natural history of the islands in four distinct ways: entomology of the islands, including identification of a number of new species of bees; discovery of fossil marine invertebrate faunas and recognition that the zoogeography of the taxa reflects the position of the islands relative to converging cool and warm currents; discovery of abundant land snails, both living and in fossil form, and recognition that the fossils are in close stratigraphic association with mammoth fossils; and island biogeography, with considerations of species dispersal mechanisms and endemism. Newly discovered letters and memos also reveal that Cockerell played a pivotal role in the establishment of Channel Islands National Monument.