Some Biogeographers, Evolutionists and Ecologists:
Blyth, Edward (England 1810-1873)
|from Wikipedia.org |In his day Blyth was considered one of the leading
zoologists in India, and a prominent figure overall in his field. He did
a bit of everything: editing, translating, report-writing, taxonomic studies,
field notes, technical articles, essays, popular works, etc. From time
to time he touched on biogeographic subjects, as
in 1871 when he contributed a short work to Nature in which
he suggested a new formulation of world zoogeographical regions. All of
this is largely forgotten today, and instead he is best known for his
early (1835) recognition of some of the principles of natural selection--made
not only long before Darwin and Wallace went to print, but even before
the former first came up with the concept. Blyth, however, did not see
the ramifications of the principle (nor did anyone else), and did little
to develop his thoughts any further. Later he became one of the first
to embrace Darwinism, and was a vocal supporter for the remainder of his
--born in London, England, on 23 December 1810.
--1832: buys a druggist's business, in Lower Tooting, London
--1835: publishes "An
Attempt to Classify the 'Varieties' of Animals" in the Annals
and Magazine of Natural History
--1836: publishes an edition of White's The Natural History and Antiquities
--1837: his druggist's business fails; moves to Brixton, Surrey
--1838: appointed curator (possibly honorary), Ornithological Society
--1840: translates and edits the zoological sections of Cuvier'sThe
--1841-1862: museum curator, Asiatic Society of Bengal, Calcutta;
publishes prolifically for that body
--1847: censured by the Asiatic Society as a result of his difficult behavior
--1855: begins extensive correspondence with Charles Darwin
--1857: suffers extreme psychological trauma from the death of his wife
--1862: leaves Calcutta and returns to England; formally retires the next
--1865: made an honorary member of the Asiatic Society of Bengal
--1866: falters mentally; is for a time placed in asylum
--1866-1873: contributes articles to Land and Water and The
--dies at London, England, on 27 December 1873.
--1875: his Catalogue of Mammals and Birds of Burma is published
--Dictionary of Scientific Biography, Vol.
--Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Vol. 6 (2004).
--Archives of Natural History, Vol. 22(1) (1995): 91-95.
--Journal of the History of Biology, Vol. 30(2) (1997): 145-178.
--Darwin and the Mysterious Mr. X: New Light on the Evolutionists
Copyright 2005 by Charles H. Smith. All rights
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