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William Buckland, 1784-1856: scientific institutions, vertebrate palaeontology and quaternary geology

By Patrick J. Boylan


The thesis establishes a biographical framework for this and future studies of William Buckland, the first professor of geology in the University of Oxford, and eventually Dean of Westminster. This shows the way in which he progressed from a modest provincial background by way of the patronage system of Georgian England, to become an important figure in both the scientific and public life of\ud Regency and early Victorian Britain, and also examines the very wide range of Buckland's scientific activity in many areas and his active involvement in many scientific organisations.\ud His work with three scientific institutions is examined in detail: the\ud University of Oxford, the Geological Society of London and the British Association for the Advancement of Science. In Oxford, the success of his work led to the establishment of a regius chair in geology specially for him, and through this he both established geology as an important scientific discipline within the University and developed teaching techniques that are still the norm in the teaching of geology today. Buckland 's most important contributions to the Geological Society of London were his two periods as President, during the first of which he steered the Society to Chartered status, and in the second of which he held the Society together through the very divisive Devonian and glacial controversies. Within the British Association, Buckland 's presidency for the first full meeting held at Oxford in 1832 was particularly influential in terms of establishing both the objectives and the structure of Annual Meetings. \ud Buckland's work on vertebrate palaeontology is next considered, and a full review of the fauna of his classic fossil hyaena den locality of Kirkdale Cave which established Buckland's international reputation, is included as a "case study". In human palaeontology, Buckland began by expecting that human fossils would be found, but drew back in the absence of secure evidence. His extensive work with Mesozoic vertebrates included the recognition of both land dinosaurs and the first Mesozoic mammals, as well as fossil coprolites. Especially important was his emphasis on the environmental evidence that can be deducted from fossils, and as a consequence he was an important pioneer in both palaeoecology and taphonomy.\ud Finally, Bucklarid 's work in the field of Quaternary geology is reviewed in detail. His early "diluvialism" is shown to be well-founded in terms of the abundant anomalous field evidence in the areas of England and Scotland studied by Buckland, and he finally found a valid actualistic solution to these anomalies in the glacial theory.\ud Buckland had a central role in the advocacy of the glacial theory in Britain, and his extensive fieldwork of the Autumn of 1840 is described and re-evaluated as a second "case study"

Publisher: University of Leicester
Year: 1984
OAI identifier: oai:lra.le.ac.uk:2381/7525

Suggested articles



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  43. 1826 Remarks tending to explain the Gêologiical History of the Earth.
  44. 1826 The Geological Deluge, as interpreted by Baron Cuvier and Professor Buckland, inconsistent with the testimony of Moses and the Phenomena of Nature.
  45. 1828 A Geological Survey of the Yorkshire Coast. (2nd Edition).
  46. 1828 An Account of the Tracks and Footmarks of Animals found impressed in Sandstone in the Quarry of Corncockle Muir,
  47. 1828 On the fossil remains of two new Species of Mastodon, and of other vertebrated animals, found on the left bank of the Irawadi.
  48. (1829). 1828B Notes sur les traces de Tortues observées dans les Grés rouges.
  49. 1829 On a Recent Formation of freshwater limestone in Forfarshire, and on some Recent deposits of Freshwater Marl.
  50. (1829). 1829D Appendix to Mr De la Beche's paper, on the Geology of Nice.
  51. 1830 Charles Babbage, Reflections on the Decline of Science in England.
  52. 1830 Reflections on the Decline of Science in England and on some of its causes.
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  60. 1838 A Letter to Professor Buckland, concerning the Origin of the World.
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  65. 1839 Observations on the Parallel Roads of Glen Roy, and of other parts of Lochaber in Scotland, with an . attempt .to prove that they are of marine origin.
  66. 1840 Substance of a Notice, by Professor Agassiz,
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  68. (1903). 1842 Notes on the Effects produced by the Ancient Glaciers of Caernarvonshire, and on the Boulders transported by Floating Ice.
  69. 1844 Report of the Committee appointed in 1842 for registering the Shocks of Earthquakes.
  70. 1844A On Artesian
  71. 1846 Notes on the topography and geology of the Cuchullin Hills in Skye, and on the traces of ancient glaciers which they present.
  72. 1847 Extract of a letter from Mr E. Vivian of Torquay, respecting the phenon:ena of Kent's Cavern.
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  77. 1871 TheGeology of
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  92. (1968). A History of the Early Discoveries of Liassic Ichthyosaurs
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  133. (1979). Geological controversy and its historiography: the prehistory cf the Geological Society of London.
  134. (1977). Geology and hematite deposits of South Cumbria.
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  140. I 1829 On the Excavation of Valleys, as illustrated by the volcanic rocks of France.
  141. I 1842 . Anniversary Address of the President, 18 February 1842.
  142. (1981). Ichthyosaurs: a history of fossil 'sea-dragons'.
  143. (1970). Ignaz Venetz.
  144. (1981). including "Drift" deposits, from Buck/and's Reliquiae Diluvianae, 1823, Plate 27. Grampian and Tayside Regions, which runs down the middle of the R. North Esk in this area (see also Fettercairn, Grampian Region, Kincardine and Deeside District,
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  146. (1976). Joseph Pentland: a forgotten pioneer in the osteology of fossil marine reptiles.
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  148. (1978). lgnaz Veneti, Begründer der Eiszeit-Theorie,.
  149. (1981). Life HThtory of a Fossil. An Introduction to Taphonomy and Paleoecology.
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  151. M et al 1877
  152. (1901). Mary Anning (1799-1847).
  153. (1901). McK 1890A The Life and Letters of Adam Sedgwick.
  154. (1968). Men and Dinosaurs. The Search in Field and Laboratory. (London and Toronto).
  155. (1952). Natural History .and the.Emergence.of Geology in.the Scottish Universities.
  156. (1902). On Kent's Cavern with reference to Buckland and his detractors..
  157. On the Boulder Formation or drift and associated freshwater deposits composing the mud cliffs of eastern Norfolk.
  158. On the Fossil Remains of two New Species of Mastodon, and of other vertebrated Animals, found on the left Bank of the Irawadi.
  159. On the Geology of Weymouth, and the Adjacent Parts of the
  160. (1913). Paviland Cave, an Aurignacian Station in Wales.
  161. (1942). Paviland Cave, the "Red Lady", the Deluge, and
  162. r5YJ 1823 On some Fossil Bones discovered in Caverns in the Lime-stone Quarries of Oreston.
  163. (1910). Recollections of a Long Life.
  164. (1901). Reminiscences of
  165. (1981). Retrospect: the British Association and its Historians.
  166. (1980). Richard Griffith - His Life and Character
  167. Sci (for 1849): .67-68. 1851 [Dean of Westminster ts Address to First Annual.
  168. (1978). Science in Culture: the Early Victorian Period.
  169. (1980). Sir Archibald Ceikie (1835-1924), Geologist, Romantic Aesthete, and Historian of Geology: The Problem of Whig
  170. (1978). Social Change and Scientific Organisation: the Royal Institution,
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  172. (1977). Superimposed drumlins.
  173. (1804). System of Mineralogy cornprehendin or mm and econom mineralogy. (J vols.).
  174. T 1858 Memoir of the Very Rev. William Buckland,
  175. (1967). The curious world of Frank Buckland.
  176. (1975). The Earliest Discoverers of Dinosaurs.
  177. (1945). The Early Digs in Kent's Hole, Torquay, and Mrs Cazalet.
  178. (1976). The emergence of a visual language for geological science 1760-1840.
  179. (1922). The English "Eskers" - their structure and distribution.
  180. (1979). The Founding of the Gxford Readership
  181. (1947). The Geology of the Country around Weymouth, Swanage,
  182. (1910). The geologyof the neighbourhood of Edinburgh.
  183. (1975). The geomorphology and glacial deposits. o.f the area around Aberdeen..
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  186. (1968). The Gladstone Diaries.
  187. (1977). The Glen Roy Wational Nature Reserve (Reading). 1979A The 11th11 of the Loch Lomóh Advaiie in Glen Roy and vicinity.
  188. (1983). The Great Chain of Hitoiy. William Buckland and the English School of Geology (1814-1849).
  189. (1956). The Heart of a King: an incident at Nuneham 1856.
  190. (1975). The Idols of the Theatre: The B.A.A.S. and its Early Critics.
  191. (1940). The Journal of Gideon Mantell, Surgeon and geologist covering the years 1818-1852.
  192. (1978). The Letters and Diaries of
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  194. (1971). The location and origin of glacial ineitwater phenomena of the Eastern Cheviot.
  195. (1972). The Origins of the British Association for the Advancement of Science.
  196. (1932). the Pioneers of Geology. Trans. Cardiff Naturalists'
  197. (1966). The Pleistocene Deposits of Holderness, East Yorkshire.
  198. (1959). The Principle of Uniformity in Geology, Biology and Theology.
  199. (1932). The Quaternary beaches of Gower.
  200. (1957). The Quaternary Era.
  201. (1982). The sand and gravel resources of the country around Callander and Dunbiane, Central Region.
  202. (1972). The Spotted Hyena. A Study of Predation and Social Behavior.
  203. (1900). The Story of My Life.
  204. (1975). The taphonomy and paleoecology of PbPleistecene vertebrate assemblages east of Lake Rudolph,
  205. (1968). The tour of the British Isles made by Louis Agassiz in 1840.
  206. (1969). The Uniformitarian - Catastrophist Debate.
  207. the year 1818, and transmitted
  208. W 1821 Notice of the discovery of a new Fossil Animal forming a link between the Ichthyosaurus and the Crocodile.
  209. W 1828 Valuable collection in Geology and Mineralogy.
  210. (1938). Westminster Abbey: Its Worship and Ornaments.
  211. (1981). Whigs and savants: reflections on the reform movement in

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