[MARMAM] Dr. Natalie Goodall has passed away

Daniel Palacios daniel.palacios at oregonstate.edu
Mon Jun 8 10:31:02 PDT 2015

Dear colleagues,

The message below is being sent on behalf of Dr. Eduardo Secchi, President

Dear colleagues,

On behalf of the Latin American Society for Aquatic Mammalogy (SOLAMAC), I
inform you with great sadness that our dear Dr. Rae Natalie Prosser Goodall
passed away on the 25th of May.  Natalie was a great pioneer of marine
mammal science in South America, especially in the Tierra del Fuego region.
Natalie was born and obtained her formal education in the state of Ohio,
United States. Botany was her first passion. In the early 1960s, while
traveling in South America, she read the book "Uttermost Part of the Earth"
about Tierra del Fuego, by Lucas Bridges. That was when Natalie decided to
visit this remote, wild and very inhospitable place. During this visit,
Natalie met and married Thomas D. Goodall, great-nephew of the pioneer
Thomas Bridges, featured in the book.  They lived in the famous Estancia
(ranch) Harberton, a tourist attraction on the margins of the Beagle
Channel. Besides helping with the typical tasks on the ranch, Natalie
climbed hills and mountains and crossed plains to collect samples and
illustrate the local flora. She later used this material to produce
guidebooks and other publications illustrated with her own drawings.

To relax, Natalie used to walk along the beaches of the Beagle Channel with
her daughters. During these walks, in the early 1970s, she began collecting
dolphin and porpoise skulls. Although at that time marine mammals were not
part of her scientific interest, she collected and stored these bones
simply because she was fascinated by the variation of forms. Within a few
years, visiting scientists had identified the skulls and discovered that
some of them belonged to very little known species including some rare
beaked whales. Natalie began to devote more of her time to the study of
marine mammals, handicapped though she was by the difficulty of obtaining
reprints, which could take several months in those days when everything was
done by letter, especially if you were living in such a remote location as
Estancia Harberton.

Natalie realized the importance of scientific collections and it was not
long before hers had become one of the most important collections of marine
mammals in the world.  It includes rare species and may have more
Commerson’s dolphins than any other institution. The Acatushum (in Yamana
language) Museum of Marine Birds and Mammals officially opened in 2001 at
the Estancia Harberton. The museum was Natalie’s longtime dream.  She,
along with many other scientists from around the world, benefited from the
collection. Natalie herself published several tens of scientific articles.

In recognition of all her contributions to science, Natalie was awarded a
Doctorate in Science Honoris Causa from Kent State University (1997).  She
was considered an “ad honorem” research scientist both nationally by the
National Scientific and Technological Research Council of Argentina
(CONICET), and internationally in the United States, New Zealand and Chile
by a variety of organizations and institutions.  Her knowledge and
contributions to science were also recognized through awards, including the
Gold Medal from the Society of Woman Geographers (1996), induction to the
Ohio Women’s Hall of Fame (1996) and the* Faro del Fin del Mundo* award
from the government of Tierra del Fuego (1994). In 2010 Natalie was honored
by SOLAMAC with the first prize due to her scientific prominence in the

I had the honor and privilege of meeting Natalie in 1992 in a trip through
Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego as a backpacker. I told Natalie that was the
beginning of my own career in marine mammalogy. She kindly invited me to
visit the Estancia where she proudly showed me her impressive collection of
cetacean skulls and skeletons. I will never forget when she showed me the
lower jaw of the rare *Tasmacetus shepherdi* laid in a bed, just like a

She presented me with some of her papers and we chatted for hours while
drinking tea with delicious “calafate” muffins, a native wild cherry
harvested at the farm.  Since we first met, I visited Natalie many times
just as predicted by the local saying, “Who tries the calafate shall come
back”.  We became good friends and I will miss her very much.  Surely all
those who had the privilege to meet Natalie share this feeling of sadness.

We lose a friend and science loses a great scientist and dedicated
naturalist. Dr. Goodall leaves to science and humanity a legacy of
continental dimensions. And at least as important, Natalie leaves us with
her example of dedication, kindness and love for science, which must always
inspire us.

Natalie is survived by her husband Thomas, two daughters Abby and Anne and
six grandchildren.

Eduardo R. Secchi

President of SOLAMAC
Eduardo R. Secchi, Ph.D.
Laboratório de Ecologia e Conservação da Megafauna Marinha - EcoMega
Instituto de Oceanografia
Universidade Federal do Rio Grande/FURG, Cx.P. 474
Rio Grande - RS, Brasil   96203-900
e.mail: edu.secchi at furg.br
Tel: ++ 55 53 3233-6749
cel: ++53-9945-3990
CV: http:/ <http://lattes.cnpq.br/2134644742559817>
/lattes.cnpq.br/2134644742559817 <http://lattes.cnpq.br/2134644742559817>
President of the Latin American Society for Aquatic Mammals-SOLAMAC
Member of the Cetacean Specialist Group/SSC - IUCN
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