Paul Schultz Martin was born August 22, 1928 in Allentown, Pennsylvania. He received his B.A. in Zoology from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, in 1951. He then earned a Master's degree in Zoology in 1953, followed by a Ph.D. in Zoology in 1956, both from University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. His early career aspiration to focus on collecting and studying plant and fossil specimens from tropical rainforests was cut short when he contracted polio at age 23 while in Mexico. After receiving his Ph.D., he conducted postdoctoral research in Biogeography at Yale University from 1955-1956 and then at Universite de Montreal from 1956-1957. In 1957, he moved to Tucson to accept a position as a Research Associate with University of Arizona's Geochronology Laboratories, thus beginning his long association with Tumamoc Hill Desert Laboratory. He was named Assistant Professor in 1961 and Associate Professor in 1962. He held the position of Professor in the Department of Geosciences from 1968 until 1989 when he was named Emeritus Professor. He remained an active researcher and vital part of the Tumamoc Hill Desert Laboratory for more than 50 years.
Dr. Martin is well-known as a primary developer and leading expert on the subject of prehistoric overkill, a pattern of global extinction over the last 40,000 years which coincided with human colonization spreading out of Africa and Asia. His theories have been the subject of much debate since the 1960's and have helped rejuvenate interest in the study of prehistoric extinctions. His interest in the extinction chronology of late Pleistocene large animals has taken him to fossil sites all around the world including Chile, New Zealand and Australia. This fossil research led him to develop extinction models based on human activity as the main cause of the rapid extinctions of large animals such as the mammoth, mastodon and giant ground sloth. In addition, Dr. Martin conducted research about Pleistocene biotic changes in arid regions. He studied the biogeography of eastern Mexico, the Pleistocene fossil pollen record of Arizona, and the ability of fossil packrat middens to reveal important information about climatic changes. Dr. Martin is the author of numerous books and articles, including The Last 10,000 Years: A Fossil Pollen Study of the American Southwest, Pleistocene Extinctions: The Search for a Cause, and Twilight of the Mammoths. Before his retirement, he was also a highly regarded professor of Quaternary Biogeography for more than 30 years, well known for his gentle nature, memorable quotes, and enthusiasm for facilitating discovery and learning. His research gave him a unique, long range perspective on the mechanisms and impact of species extinction and environmental destruction. His dedication to ecological and social issues is reflected in his involvement with various efforts to protect endangered flora and fauna of the Southwest from potential human destruction.
From the description of The Paul S. Martin papers 1910-2006 (bulk 1963-2006). (University of Arizona). WorldCat record id: 641748446