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William Perceval Hunter (1812–1878), forgotten English student of dinosaurs-to-be and of Wealden rocks

By
H. S. Torrens
H. S. Torrens
Lowermill Cottage
,
Madeley, Crewe, CW3 9EU
,
UK
(e-mail: gga10@keele.ac.uk)
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Published:
January 01, 2010

Abstract

This paper examines the tragic life of William Perceval (wrongly Percival) Hunter (1812–1878), who was active right across natural history in the period 1828–1841. He was a nephew of the ‘father of American Geology’, William Maclure, but, despite this, has been completely forgotten. He produced a number of books and papers, some of which discussed what were to become dinosaurs in 1842, and the Wealden, and adjoining rocks, which had produced so many of them. Hunter was, notably, one of the first to draw attention to the Isle of Wight as a favoured fossil locality for these, among the many other natural history topics he covered. His problems were initially his itinerancy, then his failure to complete projects, coupled with their publication privately, obscurely and abroad. But the major problem comes from his forgotten end; first, in a Scottish medical ‘confinement’ from 1841 and, finally, within a major asylum there, until 1878. This left him unable to complete his projects and with an indelible mark on any reputation he might have acquired.

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Geological Society, London, Special Publications

Dinosaurs and Other Extinct Saurians: A Historical Perspective

R. T. J. Moody
R. T. J. Moody
Kingston University, UK
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;
E. Buffetaut
E. Buffetaut
CNRS, Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris, France
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;
D. Naish
D. Naish
University of Portsmouth, UK
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;
D. M. Martill
D. M. Martill
University of Portsmouth, UK
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Geological Society of London
Volume
343
ISBN electronic:
9781862395916
Publication date:
January 01, 2010

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