Synopsis

This brief biography summarizes the life of Scots-born Robert Kidston (1852–1924), who was arguably the best and most influential palaeobotanist of his day. In over 180 scientific papers he laid the foundations for a modern understanding of the taxonomy and palaeobiology of Devonian and Carboniferous plants. His expertise was critical to the research and curation of the Geological Survey and British Museum (Natural History) and excavations of Glasgow's Fossil Grove introduced the great Carboniferous forests into the public imagination. Despite their age, his meticulously documented collections of slides (deposited in the Botany collection University of Glasgow) and hand specimens and notebooks (deposited in the collections of the British Geological Survey, Nottingham) provide a wealth of important scientific data with modern applications in plant taxonomy, biostratigraphy and palaeoclimatic reconstruction.

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