The James L. Patton papers currently consist of 35mm slides from the years 1966-1999 as well as thumbnail albums and digital
copies accompanying the slides. These slides contain the photographs from field work done in North America, Mexico, Venezuela,
Vietnam, Argentina, Peru, Brazil, Iran, and the Galapagos. James L. Patton is an active researcher at the Museum of Vertebrate
Zoology and continues to do fieldwork, publish, and grow his collection.
James Lloyd Patton (born in 1941 in St. Louis, Missouri) is an active evolutionary biologist and prominent mammalogist whose
work has spanned six decades and 15 countries. He is an emeritus curator of mammals at the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology and
emeritus professor of Integrative Biology at U. C. Berkeley. He has worked at the MVZ and U. C. Berkeley since 1969 when he
left the University of Arizona (where he earned his B.A., M.S., and PhD). Dr. Patton is considered one of the most prolific
collectors of mammals in the MVZ’s history and has made immense and pioneering contributions in the fields of evolutionary
cytogenetics and systematics of rodents, especially pocket mice (Perognathus/Chaetodipus) and pocket gophers (Thomomys), the
diversification of rainforest faunas, and the impact of climate change on North American mammals. Dr. Patton even has an entire
genus of rodents named after him, Pattonomys. He is the author of nearly 200 scientific publications, and has mentored and
collaborated with nearly 50 graduate students and post-doctoral scholars over his lengthy career.
Throughout his career, Dr. Patton has collected extensively in the western United States and in 14 other countries around
the world, including Mexico, Ecuador (Galapagos Islands), Peru, Venezuela, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Taiwan, Vietnam, Iran,
and Cameroon (often with his wife Carol Porter Patton). His work largely focused on the Western United States until the 1990s
when he began focusing on South American mammalogy. Amazingly, he has also been shipwrecked 5 times while out in the field!
Among numerous other honors, Dr. Patton was the recipient of the C. Hart Merriam Award for Distinguished Research in Mammalogy
(1983) and the Joseph Grinnell Award for Excellence in Education in Mammalogy (1998), both from the American Society of Mammalogists.
His colleagues and students have referred to Dr. Patton as “the heart of the [MVZ],” a “curator’s curator” and the “trifecta
of research, teaching, and curating,” which aptly sums up his ongoing legacy.
Lacey, Eileen A. and Phil Myers (eds.). 2005. Mammalian diversification: from chromosomes to phylogeography (a celebration
of the career of James L. Patton), University of California Publications in Zoology, vol. 133. University of California Press,
Copyright restrictions may apply. All requests to publish, quote, or reproduce must be submitted to the Museum of Vertebrate
Zoology Archives in writing for approval. Please contact the Museum Archivist for further information.