Henry Fairfield Osborn graduated at Princeton in 1877 and pursued his interest in the biological sciences and paleontology through additional study at several New York City medical schools and with Thomas Henry Huxley in Britain. Returning to the United States, Osborn accepted a position at Princeton, teaching natural sciences from 1881 until 1891, when he moved to Columbia University to organize the Biology Department there, and in 1891, he also helped to organize the Department of Vertebrate Paleontology at the American Museum of Natural History. Osborn's close association with the American Museum continued for over 45 years, and included a long tenure as its President, 1908-1933. During these years the museum's collections expanded enormously and it became one of the preeminent research institutions for natural history in the world. Apart from his own research, Osborn is perhaps best remembered for the sponsorship of the five immensely successful Central Asiatic Expeditions during the 1920's and 30's led by Roy Chapman Andrews.
William Berryman Scott (1858-1947), a fellow Princetonian, was among the more important American vertebrate paleontologists of the late 19th and early 20th century. Like Osborn, Scott traveled to Europe after his graduation to continue his education, landing at Heidelberg, where he took specialized course work in embryology and paleontology, and also like Osborn, Scott returned to his alma mater to teach, working at Princeton for the remainder of his career.