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The Great Naturalists

Robert Huxley


The story of the development of ideas about natural history as seen through the lives of nearly forty great naturalists

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From Classical times to the 19th century, the great quest to discover and define the intoxicating diversity of the natural world attracted a host of intrepid thinkers and explorers. Aristotle and Linnaeus set out to classify nature; Joseph Banks and von Humboldt made perilous journeys to collect and record it. Antony van Leeuwenhoek discovered bacteria with a homemade microscope and James Hutton revealed the immense age of the Earth. Mary Anning hunted fossils; others insects, birds and plants. Georges Cuvier pondered extinction, and Charles Darwin proclaimed the origin of species.

With their radical thinking and commitment to close observation, these pioneers laid foundations for the specialist scientists of today. Here thirty-nine of them are brought vividly to life by an array of experts, with illustrations from the unmatched archive of the Natural History Museum, London.

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Product Information

Book Details

Format: Paperback

Edition Type: New Format

Size: 19.8 x 12.9 cm

Extent: 272 pp

Illustrations: 22

Publication date: 1 August 2019

ISBN: 9780500294796

About the Author

Robert Huxley is a retired Principle Curator and Research Associate at the Natural History Museum, London, where he was responsible for the botanical collections including the 17th and 18th century collections of Sir Hans Sloane. Robert now lives in Liverpool where he is a museums and heritage consultant and writer on the history of natural history and collections. He is a member of the editorial boards of the Journal of Natural Science Collections and the Journal of the History of Collections.