Charles Lyell (1797-1875)

Founder of modern geology and the great early 19th century exponent of Hutton's scientific gradualism. Trained as a lawyer, he lived off an inheritance and on profits from his famous Principles of Geology. He defined the epochs of the Cenozoic and made key advances in stratigraphy, sedimentology, and paleontology. His original views on earth history held species to be immutable and specially created at the beginning of each geological era. This non-progressive view of organic succession was opposed to Owen's theistic views and taken up by Huxley. A close friend and mentor of Darwin, he admitted evolution after the Origin but never fully accepted natural selection despite having been consulted on the theory as early as 1844. With Hooker, he worked out the professional compromise leading to the joint Darwin-Wallace publication that introduced the selection theory in 1858.


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