Frank C. Whitmore Jr., a paleontologist who worked for the U.S. Geological Survey for 40 years, died March 18 at his home in Silver Spring. He was 96.

He had congestive heart failure, said his daughter Susan Whitmore.

Dr. Whitmore moved to the Washington region in the mid-1940s. He joined the Geological Survey in 1944 and served in the military geology branch, providing the Defense Department with intelligence reports on the geological makeup of Pacific islands, Japan and Korea. He later was a paleontologist in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History until retiring in 1984.

Frank Clifford Whitmore Jr. was a native of Cambridge, Mass., and a 1938 vertebrate paleontology graduate of Amherst College in Massachusetts.

He received a master’s degree in paleontology and stratigraphy (a branch of geology) from Pennsylvania State University in 1939 and a doctorate in vertebrate paleontology from Harvard University in 1943.

From 1972 until the mid-1990s, Dr. Whitmore served on a National Geographic Society committee that helped distribute funding for research and exploration projects.

His wife of 71 years, Martha Kremers Whitmore, died in 2011. Survivors include four children, John Whitmore of Ann Arbor, Mich., Geoffrey Whitmore of Richmond, Katherine Whitmore of Colfax, Calif., and Susan Whitmore of Silver Spring; a sister; a brother; five grandsons; and six great-grandchildren.

— T. Rees Shapiro