In his autobiography, Trinkaus expressed that he considered himself privileged to have had a successful career as an embryologist, pursuing his passion for scientific observation and discovery throughout his life, meeting other wonderful scientists, and travelling the world. He loved to trace his intellectual genealogy back to the great nineteenth century comparative anatomist, Georges Cuvier, claiming “Like many, if I stand taller, it is not only because I stand on the toes of my competitors, but principally because I stand on the shoulders of giants, my renowned scientific ancestors” (Trinkaus 2003, 260).
Trinkaus’s work was recognized in 1995, when he was awarded the first Edwin G. Conklin Medal by the Society for Developmental Biology for his excellent research contributions to the field of developmental biology. In May 1988, the MBL hosted “Trinkfest,” a Festschrift, or retirement party, on the year of his seventieth birthday, which coincided with the centennial celebration of the MBL. However, Trinkaus continued to visit the MBL and conduct research well into his 80s. Trinkaus died on 8 February 2003.