Zofia Kielan

1925 - 2015
Zofia Kielan

Zofia Kielan-Jaworowska is the discoverer of many mysteries of
long-extinct species, including those that were our distant
ancestors. In recognition of her merits, many scientists named
newly discovered fossil using either her name or her surname. Her
most tremendous scientific success was a paleontological
expedition to Mongolia. Zofia Kielan-Jaworowska had excellent
knowledge and scientific intuition.

She was born in 1925 in the central region of Poland called Mazowsze. Her family moved to
Warsaw when she was 10. World War II broke when Zofia Kielan (after marriage known as
Kielan-Jaworowska) was supposed to enter grammar school. The occupiers closed the
schools, but many children, including Zofia, enrolled in clandestine classes. In 1943, Zofia
passed her final exams in one of the schools located in Żoliborz. She immediately began
studying zoology at the secret lectures at Warsaw University. During the Warsaw Uprising,
she belonged to the Gray Ranks, the underground paramilitary Polish Scouting Association.
She helped in the fight for independence as a nurse, keeping a zoology book in her backpack.
After the fall of the uprising, she managed to get out of the capital. When she returned
home after the liberation, her parents’ apartment was completely destroyed and
uninhabitable. The Museum of Zoology, where she served her apprenticeship during the
war, became her home. With unlimited access to exhibits and books, she decided to
dedicate her life to paleontology, specifically to extinct vertebrates.


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