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Graptolite Net. Graptolites and Pterobrachs. Hemichordates.
Vladimir Beklemishev.
Oliver M. B. Bulman  (1902-1974)
Authority on Graptolites
Oliver Bulman
Professor Oliver M[eredith] B[oone] Bulman, F.R.S., [Sc.D., F.G.S.] the distinguished
palaeontologist, who was for many years the leading world authority on the
graptolites, has been died at the aged of 71.

 He was born in London on May 20, 1902, and was educated at the Battersea
Grammar School, Chelsea Polytechnic, and the Imperial College of Science and
Technology. After he had taken his degree, a Beit Scientist Research Fellowship
enabled him to embark upon three years of post-graduated work at the Imperial
College. His interests in those early years included such diverse branches of geology
as vertebrate anatomy and the heavy minerals of sandstones, but under the
influence of W.W. Watts, his researches became focused upon the Lower Palaeozoic
rocks of Shropshire, where he worked for some years in close association with C.J.
Stubblefield (later director of the Geological Survey) and W.F. Whittard (later
professor of geology at Bristol).

------In the course of this work he acquired an interest in the graptolites, and
after taking his PhD in 1926, he moved to Cambridge in order to study
these fossils intensively under the supervision of G.L. Elles. Thus began a life-long
devotion to the investigation of this peculiar group of extinct animals.

I------In 1928 he was awarded the Huxley Memorial Medal, and returned to
the Imperial College as a demonstrator, first in zoology,  a year later in geology. In
1931 he became university demonstrator in geology at Cambridge. By this time
publication of his Monograph of British Dendroid Graptolites was well under way,
and a year later came the first of his papers on The Graptolites prepared by Holm.
Based upon the magnificent preparation of Swedish specimens which Gerhard Holm
had left unpublished, this work began a new era in the understanding of these
difficult fossils. The papers which followed gained much in clarity from Bulman's very
effective use of black and white pendrawings, in which he displayed an artistic skill
no doubt inherited from his father, Henry H. Bulman, RBA.
Oliver Bulman
-----On the retirement of Henry Woods, he was appointed lecturer in palaeozoology
at Cambridge, and in the same year (1934) joined R.H. Rastall as an editor of the
Geological Magazine.

During the thirties, Schindewolf was editing his ambitious Handbuch der
Paläozoologie, and invited Bulman to contribute the section on Graptolithina. This
was published in 1938, but unfortunately, the greater part of the impressions was
destroyed in Germany during the war. The few available copies were much sought
after, and the book has become a rare collector's item in the literature of the
subject. It has now been replaced by similar monograph which he prepared for
Raymond C. Moore's Treatise on Invertebrate Paleontology, published in 1955 [2nd
edition 1970].

With the threat of war in sight, Bulman enrolled as a special constable, and later
transferred to the Observer Corps, in which his special abilities found a more
rewarding outlet. In spare moments during the war years, he collaborated with
W.G. Fearnsides in writing a volume for Penguin Books, entitled Geology in the
Service of Man, which appeared in 1944, and has been reprinted several times.

-----In 1940 he was elected a fellow of the Royal Society in 1945, a fellow of Sidney
Sussex College, and in the same year was appointed reader in palaeozoology. In
1953 he was awarded the Lyell Medal of the Geological Society of London.

-----On the retirement W.B.R. King in 1955, he was elected to the Woodwardian
Professorship of Geology. During the tenure of this office, he served as President of
the Geological Society from 1962 to 1964, delivering addresses on the Evolution
and Classification of the Graptoloidea and on The Lower Palaeozoic Plankton.

-----After 10 years as head of his department, he found that the weigth of
administrative work was absorbing an ever increasing proportion of his time and
energy, leaving little to spare for other activities such as research, which had always
been his prime interest. Finally, he decided the situation was becoming so
intolerable that in 1966 he resigned from the chair, three years before he was due
to retire. He retained  a room at the Sedgwick Museum, where he was able to
continue his distinguished researches in a much happier and relaxed frame of of

-----He married Marguerite, daughter of Professor W.G. Fearnsides, in 1938. They
had one son and three daughters.

Source of the text: Times, Feb. 20, 1974
Dendroid graptolites: Koremagraptus kozlowskii.
Bulman's drawing, showing the holotype of the
Ordovician dendroid graptolite
Bulman, named in honour of Professor
Roman Kozłowski.
From Bulman (1944), as a negative.
dr Piotr Mierzejewski
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