Franz Hilgendorf (1839–1904): introducer of evolutionary theory to Japan around 1873
M. Yajima, 2007. "Franz Hilgendorf (1839–1904): introducer of evolutionary theory to Japan around 1873", Four Centuries of Geological Travel: The Search for Knowledge on Foot, Bicycle, Sledge and Camel, P. N. Wyse Jackson
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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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In the last four centuries geologists have traversed the globe, searching for economically important materials or simply to satisfy their intellectual curiosity. Geologists have often been at the vanguard of scientific exploration.
The microscopist Robert Hooke explored the Isle of Wight, and Charles Darwin the Cape Verde islands and parts of South America. The volcanic wonders of Italy and central France attracted native and foreign visitors including Lyell and Murchison. The Tyrrell brothers faced great hardship in northern Canada, as did the actor and mineralogist Charles Lewis Giesecke in Greenland. The development of Sydney, Australia depended on finding limestone for building. French geologists relied on camels in the Sahara, and Grenville Cole trusted his tricycle to carry him across Europe.
Four Centuries of Geological Travel: The Search for Knowledge on Foot, Bicycle, Sledge and Camel focuses on the complexities of geological exploration and will be of particular interest to Earth scientists, historians of science and to the general reader interested in science.