Room 1
Human Prehistory: An Exhibition


Sir Charles LyellT. H. Huxley

Sir Charles Lyell (1797-1875) was a British geologist. In his Principles of Geology (3 volumes, 1830-33), Lyell conclusively showed that the earth was very old and had changed its form slowly, mainly from conditions such as erosion. Lyell was able to date the ages of rocks by using fossils embedded in the stone as time indicators. Charles Darwin made use of Lyell's data on fossils for his theory of evolution. Lyell himself had believed that the various species of plants and animals had remained unchanged since they were created. When confronted with Darwin's findings, he admitted "I now realize I have been looking down the wrong road." He became one of Darwin's strongest supporters. Lyell was born in Scotland. He studied geology at Oxford University and traveled on several geological expeditions in Europe and North America.

But the first and one of the strongest supporters of Darwin's theory was Thomas Henry Huxley (1825-1895). A British anatomist and physical anthropologist, Huxley became the foremost advocate of the Darwinian theory and he was often called 'Darwin's bulldog'. In his book Evidence as to Man's Place in Nature (1863) offered proof for Darwin's thesis of natural selection. He was Professor of the Royal College of Surgeons and President of the Royal Society.

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D. I. Loizos, 1996-2003