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A Short but Fruitful Partnership

By Maryland Today Staff

Leo Hickey

Leo HickeyDoctoral student Nathan Jud was honored to report his findings on a 120 million-year-old fossil with its discoverer, internationally known paleobotanist Leo Hickey. But their partnership was cut short.

In just their second meeting to outline their paper, Hickey revealed he had melanoma, and the prognosis wasn’t good.

“He told me, ‘I want to do this with you. It’s very important that it gets published, but I may or may not make it until the end,’” Jud says.

Hickey, renowned for melding geological and botanical approaches to evolution, worked until he died last February, making notes from his hospital bed. Jud, meanwhile, took his words to heart and poured his energy into his research and the paper.

“I feel fortunate he was around as long as he was,” says Jud.

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