Aleksei Borisiak

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Borisiak, Aleksei Alekseevich


Born July 22 (Aug. 3), 1872, in Romny; died Feb. 25, 1944, in Moscow. Soviet paleontologist and geologist, academician of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (1929; corresponding member, 1921).

In 1896, Borisiak graduated from the Mining Institute in St. Petersburg and worked on the Geological Committee, whose paleontological division he headed until 1932. He was a professor and headed the subdepartment of historical geology of the Leningrad Mining Institute (1911–30). He was the founder and director of the subdepartment of paleontology at Moscow State University from 1939 to 1942. In addition, Borisiak founded and directed the Paleontological Institute of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (1930–44). Borisiak was the head of the Soviet school of vertebrate paleontology, which he developed in the spirit of the research of V. O. Kovalevskii. Borisiak’s basic works are dedicated to the study of facies, questions of general paleontology, the study of Jurassic mollusks, and the paleontology of vertebrates, especially mammals (members of the order Perissodactyla, such as rhinoceroses and horses, and members of the order Proboscidea). Borisiak took the theory of geosynclinals which he had extended and used it as the foundation of an understanding of the peculiarities of the tectonic structure of the earth’s crust in the consecutive stages of its development. He considered the earth’s history as a single orderly process of the development of physical-geographical conditions and organic life. Borisiak studied the geological structure of the Donets Basin and the Crimea. He was awarded the State Prize of the USSR in 1943.


Kurs paleóntologa, parts 1–3. Moscow-St. Petersburg, 1905–19.
Kurs istoricheskoi geologii, 4th ed. Leningrad-Moscow, 1935.
Osnovnye problemy evoliutsionnoi paleóntologa. Moscow-Leningrad, 1947.


Pamiatiakademika A. A. Borisiaka. Moscow-Leningrad, 1949. (Collection of articles.)
A. A. Borisiak. Moscow-Leningrad, 1947.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.