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Keith Young

SCOTT, GAYLE (1894–1948). Gayle (Scotty) Scott, geologist, was born on October 1, 1894, on a farm near Lamkin, Texas, to George M. and Ezora (Jennings) Scott. He attended school in Comanche County and matriculated at Texas Christian University in 1913. World War I interrupted his education, and his first degree was conferred in absentia, while he was in military training. As an artillery officer in the Twenty-sixth (Yankee) Division he saw action at Château-Thierry and elsewhere in France, and was cited in general orders three times for courage and effectiveness. After the war he returned to Texas Christian University, where he received a master's degree in 1920 and was invited to join the faculty. Having improved his French in Europe, he took his doctorate in 1925 at the University of Grenoble. Under professors Leon Moret and Wilfred Killan, he wrote a dissertation about the Cretaceous ammonites and stratigraphy of Texas. Scott was president of the Society of Economic Paleontologists and Mineralogists in 1939. He served as editor for the American Association of Petroleum Geologists from 1944 to 1947 and was appointed distinguished lecturer of that association in 1944. He was also a member of the Geological Society of America, the Société Géologique de France, the American Society for the Advancement of Sciences, and the Texas Academy of Science.

He was an effective teacher who believed that paleontologists should also be trained in biology. He published primarily in the subject of Cretaceous stratigraphy and Cretaceous ammonites but was also versed in Cretaceous foraminifers. During the late 1920s and early 1930s he was involved in an argument on the age of the Midway Group of Texas. The controversy involved a dispute over the age of a specific level of sedentary beds, referred to as "Midway," on the Coastal Plain. Scott's thesis, as stated in his dissertation, was radical in that it suggested that the Midway beds were deposited during the final stage of the Cretaceous period. Previously geologists had maintained that the Midway Group fell under the early stages of the Tertiary period, the epoch following the Cretaceous. Hence, Scott's formulations not only placed the Midway Group further back in the geologic past but effectively defined the limits of the Cretaceous period in Texas and, by extension, in the western hemisphere. Although he received much criticism for his ideas on the age of this group at the time, his correlations were later proved correct. In 1927 Scott married Mary Beth Waits, the daughter of the president of Texas Christian University. They had only one child, a daughter, who died at the age of five. Scott participated in community affairs and was an elder of the University Christian Church. He was a fan of intercollegiate athletics and president of the Southwest Conference from 1947 until his death. He died of a brain tumor on May 2, 1948, at the age of fifty-four.


Frank E. Lozo, Jr., "Gayle Scott (1894–1948)," Bulletin of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists 32 (1948).

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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Keith Young, "SCOTT, GAYLE," accessed July 07, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fsc45.

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on February 25, 2019. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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