Barbara Jaffe Stahl, an evolutionary biologist and educator, died on Jan. 16 from metastatic breast cancer. She was 73.
Since her first childhood visits to the American Museum of Natural History in New York, Stahl had a passion for vertebrates. She received a bachelor’s degree in zoology from Wellesley College, then earned a master’s degree in biology from Radcliffe College and a Ph.D. from Harvard University.
Stahl began teaching biology and anatomy at Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire in 1954. Over the next half century, she would guide the careers of thousands of future physicians, dentists and veterinarians.
Stahl was an internationally renowned paleoichthyologist, researcher and author who made several important contributions to the study of vertebrate evolution and paleontology. Her book, “Vertebrate History: Problems in Evolution,” remained in print for more than two decades. She also spent 12 years traveling around the world, studying the fossils of prehistoric fish in order to write her volume in “The Handbook of Paleoichthyology” series, which is considered a standard in the field.
In 2003, a species of extinct chimaeroid fish was named Callorhinchus stahli in her honor.