George Carlos Wheeler (1897-1991) was an entomologist specializing in the morphology and taxonomy of ants, especially ant larvae. He received the A.B. from the William M. Rice Institute in Texas in 1918, working under Julian Sorell Huxley and Hermann J. Muller. He continued his education at the Bussey Institution of Harvard University, studying entomology under William Morton Wheeler and Charles Thomas Brues. He received the M.S. in 1920 and the Ph.D. in 1921. From 1921 to 1926 he was an instructor and Assistant Professor of zoology at Syracuse University. In 1926, he joined the faculty of the University of North Dakota and remained there for the rest of his career, as Professor of biology from 1926 to 1965, Head of the Department of Biology from 1926 to 1963, and University Professor from 1965 to 1967. After his retirement in 1967, he was appointed University Emeritus Professor of Biology of the University of North Dakota, as well as a Research Associate of the Desert Research Institute of the University of Nevada.
Wheeler was encouraged to visit the Tropics by his advisor, William Morton Wheeler. Thus he spent the summer of 1924 studying ants at the Barro Colorado Island research station in the Panama Canal. During his long career, Wheeler concentrated his research on the morphology and taxonomy of ant larvae and on the ants of North Dakota and the desert. With his wife, Jeanette Norris Wheeler, he published numerous descriptions and monographs, including The Ants of North Dakota in 1963, The Ants of Deep Canyon in 1973, and The Ants of Nevada in 1986.
The Canal Zone Biological Area (CZBA) was established in 1923 on Barro Colorado Island in the Panama Canal as a reserve for scientific study of the tropics. Originally designed as a consortium of universities and government agencies by Thomas Barbour, William Morton Wheeler, James Zetek, and others, CZBA was transferred to the Smithsonian Institution in 1946 and in 1966 was renamed the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute.