Archimedes, a genotype
authored by David Dale Owen

In 1837, David Dale Owen of New Harmony, Indiana, conducted the first official geological survey of the state of Indiana and published his results, including the earliest use of the name Archimedes for a type of fossil.

Owen is regarded as the father of the Indiana Geological Survey, and in celebration of its 150th anniversary, the Survey republished Owen's Report:

David Dale Owen, A Geological Reconnoisance and Survey of the State of Indiana in 1837 and 1838, with Introduction and commentary by Henry H. Gray, Department of Natural Resources, Geological Survey Bulletin 61, Bloomington, Indiana, 1987.

On page 18 of the 1987 publication, Owen writes,
In the bed of Oil creek, then, on the road from Troy to Fredonia, the coal sandstone may be found resting on a reddish stratum of a somewhat arenaceous limestone, the uppermost member of this sub-carboniferous group, and characterized by a fossil, described by Lesueur under the name of Archimides, on account of its screw-like form. [Printings of Owen's report other than the one quoted here have the usual spelling, A-r-c-h-i-m-e-d-e-s.]
Two things are especially notable about this origin; first, that Lesueur (also a New Harmony scientist) had already used the name Archimedes but had not published it; second, that this description was sufficient to establish a new genus. One might say that the name and priority did not become official until 1953 publication:

W. H. Easton and Helen Duncan, "Archimedes and Its Genotype," Journal of Paleontology 27 (1953) 737-741.

"Considerable discussion has transpired," Easton and Duncan write, "as to what generic name should be used for organisms commonly referred to as Archimedes ... most interested paleontologists known to us desire that Archimedes be recognized as the valid name of the genus under consideration and that A. wortheni be fixed as the genotype." Easton and Duncan then explain that the description, "screw-like," is sufficient to characterize the genus.

The first image seen on this page shows a specimen of Archimedes wortheni, named in honor of Amos Worthen, who was on the staff of David Dale Owen's 1848-49 Survey of Wisconsin and Minnesota and became the state geologist of Illinois.

Next, you see images of two additional species in the genus Archimedes..

To the right, you see the Archimedes water-screw. This prototype for the name given by Lesueur and Owen to the fossil genus Archimedes was invented by Archimedes about 2250 years ago.

Twentieth century research has led to the conclusion that Archimedes was the most advanced mathematician of antiquity and one of the great mathematicians of all time.

David Dale Owen, geologist
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