Liston, Jeff (2013) From obstetrics to oryctology: inside the mind of William Hunter (1718–1783). In: A History of Geology and Medicine. Geological Society, London, Special Publications (375). Geological Society, London, pp. 349-373. ISBN 2041-4927

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Today William Hunter is remembered mainly for his pioneering work in obstetrics and for our understanding of the lymphatic system, but his interests were wide-ranging, encompassing artworks (the first to collect Chardin), archaeological, numismatic and bibliographical items. As a key figure in the Enlightenment, he was one of the few in the mid-eighteenth century to advocate the concept of extinction as recorded in the fossil record. Of some 400 fossil specimens, written records attest to the presence of over 50 fossil vertebrates in his collection, including fish from ‘Monte’ Bolca as well as specimens reflecting his comparative anatomical writings on the mastodon and ‘Irish elk’. This paper will explore the significance of the presence of these specimens in this particular eighteenth century collector’s collection, using his writings and library as tools to shed light on the mind of this classic Scottish Enlightenment figure.

Item Type: Book Section
Subjects: A General Works > AS Academies and learned societies (General)
C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CC Archaeology
D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
Q Science > QL Zoology
Theme: Understanding the natural world
Department: Natural Sciences
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Ross Anderson
Date Deposited: 17 Sep 2018 14:18
Last Modified: 20 Nov 2018 15:16

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