He was but nineteen years of age, yet he had now determined to devote his life to science.
In 1858 he returned to America and entered the Lawrence Scientific School of Harvard University, studying engineering, but the great Louis Agassiz, always seeking promising young pupils to instruct, soon discovered Hyatt and drew him into his own laboratory of natural history, where in an inspiring atmosphere of research and study he was to form close and life-long friendships with his fellow students Clarke, Morse, Packard, Putnam, Scudder, Shaler, and Verrill. With them in 1860 he formed the Agassiz Society which met at frequent intervals to discuss zoological questions. Professor Agassiz himself attending the meetings, and in the summer of 1861 with Shaler and Verrill as companions he went to Anticosti Island in the Gulf or St. Lawrence, collecting fossils and marine animals.
Louis Agassiz's lucid exposition of von Baer's law and his own additions thereto, and his high praise of the philosophy of Oken, produced a profound effect upon young Hyatt's mind, and he is said to have learned Agassiz's "Essay on Classification" by heart. One of the most graphic of Louis Agassiz's lectures was upon the coiling and final uncoiling of the shells of fossil ammonoids in which he compared the twisted forms found in the Cretaceous just before the extinction of the group, to the writhing contortions of a death struggle. Listening to this lecture, Hyatt became so inspired that he determined then and there to devote