Some Biogeographers, Evolutionists and Ecologists:
Chrono-Biographical Sketches

Blanford, William Thomas (England 1832-1905)
geology, zoology

Copyright Roger F. Vaughan. Used with permission.
William Blanford's studies as a geologist in the South Asian subcontinent over the middle third of his life extended practically to the region's geographical entirety. His first well known publication, however, described an expedition to Abyssinia he joined in the late 1860s; it came out in 1870 as Observations on the Geology and Zoology of Abyssinia. After retiring from the Geological Survey of India he returned home to England, where he became involved in the Fauna of British India project as editor, and from time to time wrote on the regional biogeography of South Asia. Blanford's main taxonomic specialty was nonmarine molluscs, but he also contributed studies on birds, mammals, and plants, alive and fossil. Early in his career he recognized ancient evidence for glaciation in India, one of the first workers to find such in a non-northerly locale.

Life Chronology

--born in London, England, on 7 October 1832.
--1846-1848: studies at a private school in Paris
--1852-1854: studies at the Royal School of Mines, London
--1855: obtains staff job in the Geological Survey of India
--1855-1860: geological surveying in various places in South Asia
--1862: promoted to deputy superintendent
--1862-1866: engaged in a geological survey of the Bombay Presidency
--1867-1868: studies geology in Abyssinia as part of a military operation
--1870: publishes his Observations on the Geology and Zoology of Abyssinia
--1870: visits Sikkim in the Himalayas, with H. J. Elwes
--1871-1872: member of a commission surveying the India-Persia boundary
--1872: returns to England
--1874: elected a fellow of the Royal Society of London; returns to Calcutta
--1874-1877: works on the geology of the desert portions of Sind
--1881: attends the International Geological Congress in Bologna, Italy
--1882: retires from the Geological Survey of India; returns to London
--1882: awarded the Wollaston medal by the Geological Society of London
--1884: chairs the geological section of the British Association for the Advancement meetings in Montreal
--1888-1890: president, Geological Society of London
--1888-1905: serves as editor (and contributor) to the Fauna of British India series
--1895-1905: treasurer, Geological Society of London
--1904: made a Companion of the Indian Empire
--dies at London, England, on 23 June 1905.

For Additional Information, See:

--Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Vol. 6 (2004).
--Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences 55, Suppl. 2 (2004): 117-137.
--Geological Magazine, New Ser., 5th Decade, Vol. 22 (1905): 1-15.
--Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Series B, Vol. 79(535) (1907): xxvii-xxxi.

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Copyright 2005 by Charles H. Smith. All rights reserved.

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