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January 01, 2007


Franz Martin Hilgendorf (1839–1904) arrived in Japan in March, 1873 and stayed in Tokyo until October 1876 as a ‘foreign employee’ (a Westerner employed in the modernization of Japan). In the beginning of the Meiji Era, the Japanese Government invited many Westerners to introduce facets of Western civilization. Hilgendorf's doctoral dissertation at Tübingen University (1863) dealt with molluscan evolutionary lineages of Miocene age from Steinheim, Germany. Hilgendorf's ideas already included the concept that fossils had evolved. Charles Darwin (1809–1881) himself had mentioned Hilgendorf's findings in the sixth edition of his Origin of Species, published in 1872. Hilgendorf lectured on evolution at the Tokyo Medical School (the former University of Tokyo) well before the American, Edward Sylvester Morse (1838–1925), whom it was thought had introduced Darwinian theory to Japan in 1877. The priority of Hilgendorf is proved by contemporary notes taken by the famous Japanese novelist, Mori Ougai (1862–1922), who had attended Hilgendorf's lectures whilst a student.

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Geological Society, London, Special Publications

Four Centuries of Geological Travel: The Search for Knowledge on Foot, Bicycle, Sledge and Camel

P. N. Wyse Jackson
P. N. Wyse Jackson
Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland
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Geological Society of London
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Publication date:
January 01, 2007




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