Famous professional and amateur scientists
Roy Chapman Andrews (1884-1960) was a US fossil hunter and director of the American Museum of Natural History. Andrews led four expeditions to Mongolia's Gobi desert between 1922 and 1925. Many important finds were made on these expeditions, including Protoceratops bones and eggs (the first dinosaur eggs found!), and the new dinosaurs Oviraptor, Pinacosaurus, Saurornithoides, and Velociraptor.
Mary Anning (1799-1847) was an early British fossil hunter who began finding fossils as a child, and supported herself and her family by finding and selling fossils. She lived on the southern coast of England, in Lyme Regis. Anning found the first fossilized plesiosaur and Ichthyosaurus. She found many important fossils, including Pterodactylus, sharks, and many other reptiles and fish.
Barnum Brown (1873-1963) was a great US dinosaur hunter and assistant curator of the American Museum of Natural History. Brown discovered many dinosaurs, including the first T. rex specimens. He named: Anchiceratops (1914), Ankylosaurus (1908), Corythosaurus (1914), Hypacrosaurus (1913), Kritosaurus (1910), Leptoceratops (1914), Prosaurolophus (1916), Saurolophus (1912), and the family Ankylosauridae (1908). He co-named Pachycephalosaurus (1943) and Dromaeosaurus (with E. M. Schlaikjer, 1922).
William Buckland (1784-1856) was a British fossil hunter, clergyman, and Oxford don (a Reader in Geology and Mineralogy) who discovered Megalosaurus in 1819 and named it in 1824. It was the first dinosaur ever described scientifically and the first theropod dinosaur discovered (theropods were the meat-eating dinosaurs). Buckland always collected his fossils in a large blue bag, which he carried around most of the time.
Charles Robert Darwin (February 12, 1809-April 19, 1882) was an English naturalist who revolutionized scientific thought with the theory of evolution and natural selection. After studying at Cambridge University, Darwin served as naturalist on the ship HMS Beagle (captained by Robert Fitzroy) during its five-year voyage around the world traveling west ( December 27, 1831-October 2, 1836). On this trip, Darwin studied a tremendous variety of plant and animal life. Darwin's book called "On the Origin of the Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle of Life" was published in November 24, 1859 (and sold out in one day). This world-shaking book outlined the gradual change in a species from generation to generation through natural selection. Alfred Lord Wallace independently proposed the theory of evolution the same time as Darwin. In 1871, Darwin published "The Descent of Man," which focused on the origins of people. The theory of evolution has been debated since it was proposed, but most scientists accept evolution and natural selection as the method of species formation and the foundation of biology.
Darwin began writing 'Origin of Species' here on the Isle of Wight whilst staying at two hotels in Sandown Bay.
William Henry Fitton
William Fitton (1780-1861) was an Irish geologist, educated in Trinity College, Dublin. Although trained as a medical practitioner he moved to Edinburgh in 1808 where he became increasingly interested in the natural sciences, especially geology. The following year he moved to London, studying medicine and chemistry. In 1811 he provided a description of his work on the geology of Dublin to the Geological Society of London. After marriage in 1820 he finally settled in London and focused on his geological interests. 12 years of work from 1824 to 1836 were incorporated in a memoir on the geology below the Chalk - finally establishing the age of the Wealden rocks in the south-west coast of the Island as of Cretaceous age. In 1843 he published his work on the Greensand.
Professor Edward Forbes
Edward Forbes (1815-1854) was born in Douglas on the Isle of Man. As a child he quickly developed an interest in natural history, and collected fossils, plants, shells, minerals and insects. Like Darwin he was appointed a ship's naturalist, sailing on HM surveying ship Beacon in the Mediterranean from 1841 to 1842. At the end of 1842 he became curator of the museum of the Geological Society of London, and then in 1844 he became palaeontologist for the Geological Survey of Great Britain. In 1853 he became president of the Geological Society of London and in 1854 became professor of natural history at the University of Edinburgh. He jointly published material on the geology of the southern coast of the Isle of Wight with Captain Ibbetson, and also worked on the geology of the Island's north coast. After he died his works on the north coast were published in 1856 under the editorship of Godwin-Austen 'On the Tertiary Fluviomarine Formation of the Isle of Wight (Geol. Survey)'.
Reverend William Fox
The Reverend William D. Fox (1813-1881) was born in Cumberland. He moved to the Isle of Wight in 1862 to take up the post of curate at the Parish church of St Mary the Virgin in Brixton (Brighstone) on the Isle of Wight. He became a prolific collector of dinosaur remains and other fossils, most notably from Brighstone and Brook Bays. Although lacking formal scientific training he was remarkably astute and discussed his findings with eminent palaeontologists of the day, including John Hulke, Sir Richard Owen and others. His lodgings at Myrtle Cottage, Brighstone were near enough to the coast for him to spend a considerable time away from his clerical duties, a fact that did not go un-noticed amongst his peers and superiors in the church. He is credited with finding a number of new dinosaurs, some of which are named after him, including Polacanthus foxii, Hypsilophodon foxii, Eucamerotus foxii, Iguanodon foxii and Calamosaurus foxii (formerly Calamospondylus), he is also credited with finding Aristosuchus. Fox's collection was acquired by the British Museum (Natural History) after his death.
Thomas Hawkins, FGS (1810-1889) was a prolific collector of fossils, including large marine vertebrates. His main interest lay in the Jurassic plesiosaurs and icthyosaurs of Lyme Regis on the Dorset Coast, and from inland quarries at Street in Somerset. Much of his early collection was sold to the Natural History Museum. Hawkins was a theatrical character and produced a number of texts during the 1830s to 1850s, two of which are Memoirs of Icthyosaurii and Plesiosaurii (1835) and The Book of the Great Sea Dragons (1840). Hawkins visited the neighbouring Isle of Wight on a number of occasions and is buried in Ventnor Cemetery.
Robert Hooke (1635-1703) was one of the foremost English scientists of the 17th Century. He was born in Freshwater at the western end of the Isle of Wight, on July 18th 1635 and died in London on 3rd March, 1703. He became the Royal Society's Curator of Experiments in 1662 and the Chief Surveyor of London. His Discourse of Earthquakes contained deductions about ground movement and plate tectonics based on observations made near his home on the Island. These included the idea that there must have been vertical movement of the land to raise beds containing fossil sea-shells 60 feet into the air (probably from walking near Headon Hill) and that southern England must have passed through a "torrid zone" (or warm marine environment) in order to support the growth of the large ammonites he had seen. Hooke's memorial at Freshwater describes him as "physicist, scientist, architect and inventor". After publicly arguing with Sir Isaac Newton many of Hooke's records were destroyed. His tremendous contribution to science has only recently been more widely acknowledged. He is credited with pioneering modern experimental technique.
Reginald Walter Hooley (1866-1923) was a collector of dinosaur remains from the Isle of Wight. Living and working in Southampton he was well placed to collect from the Island. As an amateur he was unusual in that he produced a number of scientific papers. He is credited with naming the ornithopod dinosaur Iguanodon atherfieldensis ("Iguanodon from Atherfield"), and described a new pterosaur Ornithodesmus latidens. As a collector he excavated partial skeletons of Iguanodon, pterosaur and crocodile. Part of his collection was donated to the Winchester Museum where he had been an honorary curator, but many specimens were passed to the Natural History Museum.
Thomas Henry Huxley (1825-1895) was a British scientist and friend of Charles Darwin. He was the first scientist to notice the similarity between birds and dinosaurs. He named: Acanthopholis (1865), the family Archaeopteryglidae (1871), Euskelosaurus (1866), Hypsilophodon (1869), and the family Megalosauridae (1869).
Captain Levett Landon Boscawen Ibbetson
Captain Ibbetson (1799-1869), English explorer, soldier, geologist and inventor, was an early experimentor in photography. He found the head of a large Hybodus shark skull on the Isle of Wight - this was sent to Sir Philip Malpas de Grey Egerton and it was discussed in the 1845 Proceedings of the Geological Society. Together with Edwin Lankester he wrote a book 'Notes on the geology and chemical composition of the various strata in the Isle of Wight' published about 1852. He worked with Professor Edward Forbes to publish a description of the Lower Greensand geology between Atherfield Point and Blackgang on the Isle of Wight.
Gideon Algernon Mantell (1790-1852) was born in Lewes, Sussex of humble origins. As a teenager he became interested in the fossils of the South Downs. After qualifying as a midwife he returned to Lewes and eventually bought a practice there. He continued to collect marine fossils from the rocks around his practice, and then older fossil bones and plants from Whiteman's Green. Fossil bones from marine vertebrates had been found by Mary Anning in Dorset, but Mantell realized that his fossil bones were much larger. When his wife (also called Mary) supposedly found a fossil tooth in 1822, he was able to determine that the creature was a large plant-eater (in this case an ornithischian dinosaur), however he waited until 1825 to publish his identification of the animal (Iguanodon). Had he published earlier, he would have named the first dinosaur (however he was beaten to this by William Buckland who named Megalosaurus in 1824). Mantell wrote a number of papers on the dinosaurs of the Isle of Wight, and a guide to the Geology of the Island. A number of fossils have been named after him, including Iguanodon mantelli and Lepidotes manteli.
Professor John Milne
John Milne, DSc, FRS (1850-1913) became Professor of Mining, Geology and Seismology at the Imperial University of Japan before returning to England in 1895. He set up an earthquake observatory at Shide Hill House, Newport (the capital town of the Isle of Wight); it rapidly became a centre for an extensive global network of seismic stations. Other seismic recording stations based on Milne's horizontal pendulum design were set up; a further two (in Newport and Ryde) were established by co-workers. Milne's house at Shide was visited by a number of eminent international scientists and royalty. Many of his records were passed on to the National Seismological Archive. Milne is buried in Newport.
Sir Richard Owen (1804-1892) was a pioneering British comparative anatomist who coined the term dinosauria (from the Greek "deinos" meaning terrible, and "sauros" meaning lizard), recognizing them as a suborder of large, extinct reptiles in 1842. He proposed this new name in a 1842 article published in the "Report of the British Association for the Advancement of Science." Owen also named and described the following dinosaurs: Anthodon (1876), Bothriospondylus (1875), Cardiodon (1841), Cetiosaurus (1841 - but Owen incorrectly thought that it was a kind of crocodile and not a dinosaur), Chondrosteosaurus (1876), Cimoliornis (1846), Cladeidon (1841), Coloborhynchus (1874), Dacentrurus (1875), Dinodocus (1884), Echinodon (1861), Massospondylus (1854), Nuthetes (1854), Polacanthus (1867), and Scelidosaurus (1859).
Thomas Webster (1772-1844) started his early years in Kirkwall, Orkney before studying architecture, land surveying and perspective at Aberdeen University. After a short spell as a private tutor in Dublin he moved to London where he studied at the Royal Academy. After 1800 he worked for the Royal Institution, designing the Lecture Theatre, and spent the first years of the 1800's landscape painting. In 1809 he joined the Geological Society, working for them as curator, librarian and draughstman from 1812 to 1827. His work on the geology of the Isle of Wight and Dorset started in 1811 - in 1816 his work was published in Sir Henry Englefield's "The Picturesque Beauties of the Isle of Wight". His map work formed part of the famous Smith map of England in 1815 and Greenhough's in 1819. A number of paintings of coastal geology by him have been acquired and are awaiting display at Dinosaur Isle.
| || |
Collections HomepageRecent Finds and Research Museum SpecimensFossil Guide and
Collecting GuidelinesGeological HistoryFamous professional and amateur scientistsLaboratoryDinosaur Isle
Publications ListLGAP and RIGsType and Figured
|Dinosaur Isle, |
Isle of Wight
Tel: +44 (0)1983 404344
| || || |