GeoScienceWorld
Volume

A History of Geology and Medicine

Edited by C. J. Duffin, R. T. J. Moody and C. Gardner-Thorpe

Abstract

The historical links between geology and medicine are surprisingly numerous and diverse. This, the first ever volume dedicated to the subject, contains contributions from an international authorship of geologists, historians and medical professionals.

Rocks, minerals, fossils and earths have been used therapeutically since earliest times and details recorded on ancient papyri, clay tablets, medieval manuscripts and early published sources. Pumice was used to clean teeth, antimony to heal wounds, clays as antidotes to poison, gold to cure haemorrhoids and warts, and gem pastes to treat syphilis and the plague, while mineral springs preserved health. Geology was crucial in the development of public health. Medical men who made important contributions to geology include Steno, Worm, Parkinson, Bigsby, William Hunter, Jenner, John Hulke, Conan Doyle, Gorini and various Antarctic explorers.

A History of Geology and Medicine will be of particular interest to Earth scientists, medical personnel, historians of science and the general reader who has an interest in science.

  1. Page 1
  2. Page 7
    Abstract
    146 Church Hill Road, Sutton, Surrey SM3 8NF, UK (e-mail: cduffin@blueyonder.co.uk)

    Geopharmaceuticals have a recorded history of use by a wide range of cultures for over 3000 years. The history of geological simples is written in the leaves of a diversity of literary sources, an overview of which is attempted for the first time. Egyptian medical papyri, Assyrian and Babylonian clay tablets, Indian Puranas, plus ancient Chinese, classical Greek and Roman writings all preserve a folk tradition of therapeutic earths, rocks, minerals and fossils. Anglo-Saxon Laeceboc, medieval Islamic writings, and Western medieval bestiaries all contain scattered references to geological simples. A surge of appreciation for geopharmaceuticals took place with the onset of the Western medieval lapidary tradition, which influenced the writings of the early encyclopaedists and writers of herbals. With the advent of printing, many classical and newly translated Islamic texts were made more readily available, stimulating a burst of scholarship by early modern scientists of the Renaissance. Increasingly detailed illustrations were used to embellish the catalogues of Renaissance Wunderkammern. By the late eighteenth century, the use of geological materials was declining, and being replaced by a more empirical approach to pharmacology.

  3. Page 45
    Abstract
    Corresponding author (e-mail: linan@unizar.es)

    Fossils were credited with magico-medicinal properties in lapidary books written from the second century BCE onwards. The analysis of historical references to fossils in these ancient literary, geological, medical and magical texts has been named Cryptopalaeontology, a discipline that also includes discoveries of fossils at archaeological sites and the study of oral traditions.

    Theophrastus’ Perì líthôn (third century BCE), the four apocryphal Greek lapidaries (Líthica Orphéôs, Orphéôs Líthica Kêrygmata, Socrátous Dionísou perì líthôn and Damigeron–Evax: second century BCE), Pliny the Elder’s Historiae Naturae, Dioscorides’ De Materia Medica (first century CE), Isidore of Seville’s Etymologiarum (seventh century) and Alfonso X’s Libro de las Piedras (thirteenth century) all contain frequent references to fossils. In this context, these works might be considered the oldest treatises on fossils ever written.

    The talismanic use of most of these fossils against a wide range of diseases was based on sympathetic magic. Only a few (e.g. Lapis Gagates, amber and Lapis Bitumen) survive in recent pharmacopoeia.

  4. Page 65
    Abstract
    Corresponding author (e-mail: jcarras@unizar.es)

    The search for remedies to treat dental disease is as old as mankind; such is the importance of the stomatognathic system (mouth, jaws, teeth and related structures) in the evolution of man and society. This paper concentrates on the Kitab al-tasrif, a medical treatise completed in 1000 CE by the famous Arab physician, surgeon and pharmacologist Abulcasis (Abu al-Qasim al Zahrawi; 936–1013), from Córdoba (Andalusia, southern Spain). Volume (Maqal) XXI of this 30-volume-long work, is dedicated to mineral panaceas for diseases of the mouth and teeth. The remedies detailed by Abulcasis are compared with those in Dioscorides’ much earlier Materia Medica (first century CE), the later Hortus sanitatis (1496) by Johannes de Cuba and recent pharmacopoeias to trace and evaluate the evolutionary path of mineral-containing drugs and dental compounds, and to account for the survival of many of them in therapeutic compounds. Although effective, some of the old mineral remedies have a narrow therapeutic range and have no place in current pharmacology; however, many of them are still useful as astringents, haemostatics, antiseptics, teeth whiteners, remineralizers or caustics.

  5. Page 81
    Abstract
    146 Church Hill Road, Sutton, Surrey SM3 8NF, UK (e-mail: cduffin@blueyonder.co.uk)

    The gem electuary was reputedly the brainchild of Maswijah al-Marindi or Mesuë the Younger, who died in AD 1015, but the recipe was first published in the 1470s. Combining finely comminuted sapphires, chalcedony emeralds, garnets and amber together with pearls, red coral, ivory and musk along with a range of herbal ingredients, an exotic and highly expensive paste, usually bound together with sugar or honey, was produced. The list of ingredients evolved slightly, especially in light of the availability of some of the herbal materials. The electuary was used, both as an individual medicine and in combination with additional preparations, right through to the mid-eighteenth century. Most popular during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, it was prescribed for the treatment of melancholia, nightmares, plague, syphilis, palsy, cramp, breast cancer, headache, erysipelas, fevers, tuberculous adenitis (scrofula) and a range of gynaecological conditions, as well as being employed as an alexipharmic and cardiac tonic. Usually taken internally, it was also applied topically with the apparent added benefit of being a rubefacient and fragrant cosmetic.

  6. Page 113
    Abstract
    20 Formosa Street, London W9 2QA (e-mail: arthur.macgregor@btinternet.com)

    For over two millennia, clays with perceived medicinal or alexipharmic properties have been recovered in bulk, processed into small troches or pastilles and stamped with a device or ‘seal’ as an indicator of their origin; this practice lent them their commonly applied name – terra sigillata or sealed earth. The first records are confined to the Mediterranean and Aegean regions, but early in the post-medieval period other sources in central and northern Europe came to be exploited. The history of this process of expansion is traced, the principal products of the major sources are identified by their respective seals, and some assessment is made of the validity of claims made for the effectiveness of such clays.

  7. Page 137
    Abstract
    4A Randolph Crescent, Edinburgh EH3 7TH, UK (e-mail: ianrolfe@waitrose.com)

    The Paper Museum comprises c. 10 000 drawings and prints, most of which are in the Royal Library at Windsor Castle. When viewed in their seventeenth-century context, 25 of these drawings depict ‘geological’ material that also served as materia medica: earths, calculi, bezoars, toadstones, corals, calcifying alga, fungus stone, lodestone, eagle-stones, Bologna stone, amber, amulets, figured stones and gems. Some of these are listed in the official 1639 pharmacopoeia of Rome. Eleven of these drawings are reproduced here, nine of them for the first time. A single drawing may depict up to 25 specimens, many of which were in the collections of members of the Academy of the Lynxes (Lincei) or collectors known to them. The archives of Cassiano dal Pozzo (1588–1657) confirm the Lincei’s interest both in Paracelsian chemistry and in materia medica. Cassiano owned copies of two fifteenth- and sixteenth-century manuscripts listing more than 34 minerals with their therapeutic uses. The Lincei also published a sixteenth-century manuscript containing 26 ‘minerals suitable for medical use’: De materia medica Novae Hispaniae, by Francisco Hernández (1651), whose work in materia medica has been lauded as ‘the most original … in the entire Renaissance’.

  8. Page 157
    Abstract
    146 Church Hill Road, Sutton, Surrey SM3 8NF, UK (e-mail: cduffin@blueyonder.co.uk)

    Pumice has been used as an abrasive with medical applications for over 2000 years. Introduced into traditional Chinese medicine in the mid-eighteenth century, it has been employed as part of a decoction (tea) in combination with a range of herbs and other geopharmaceuticals (including amber, cinnabar, mica and the bones of fossil vertebrates) in the treatment of gall bladder cancer, urinary conditions, dry and hacking coughs, and anxiety disorders. Pumice has had a relatively stable literary history in Western medicine. ‘Spuma maris’ (sea foam) has been a source of some confusion in classical literature, a situation exacerbated by some medieval revisionist texts. In a medical context, the term most commonly refers to pumice. Pumice has been employed since classical times in preparations acting as dentifrices, cleansers for ulcers (particularly of the skin and cornea), cicatrizing agents to help wounds scar efficiently, an active ingredient in eye ointments and powders in both farriery and human medicine, sneeze-inducing powders, and abrasives for removing body hair and assisting in the production of fine powders of resistant pharmaceutical ingredients.

  9. Page 171
    Abstract
    Tillington, Ridgway Road, Pyrford, Woking, Surrey GU22 8PR, UK (e-mail: r.console@btinternet.com)

    Following extensive bibliographical research, a chronological history of the pharmaceutical use of gold is outlined through four periods: antiquity, the Middle Ages, early modern times and the seventeenth century. At the time of its highest popularity as a medicine, gold was usually acquired and employed in the form of fine filings or thin leaves of standard size. The most complex and famous medicine containing gold was Aurea Alexandrina, created in the late Middle Ages and later copied into many books. A complete list of its ingredients in Latin and English is included in the present paper. As in Aurea Alexandrina, gold was very often accompanied in a formula by other precious components like silver, gems and pearls. In addition to being an important ingredient in many medicines, gold was also used for making surgical instruments and for coating pills that otherwise had a bad taste or smell. The medicinal use of gold, even when it was very fashionable, was not unanimously regarded as effective and many authors clearly expressed either enthusiasm or scepticism about this matter.

  10. Page 193
    Abstract
    Faculdade de Letras da Universidade de Lisboa, Departamento de História Antiga, Alameda da Universidade, 1600-214, Lisboa and Museu Nacional de Arqueologia, Praça do Império, 1400 Lisboa, Portugal (e-mail: msameirobarroso@netcabo.pt)

    Bezoars were introduced into Western medicine by Arabian doctors during the twelfth century. They were used as antidotes to arsenic, the poison used most commonly in European courts. The use of bezoars was widespread during the sixteenth century, and their value was ten times more than their weight in gold. These were rare and expensive items and many kings owned one or more specimens, some of which were mounted as pieces of jewelry. Sixteenth and seventeenth century physicians wrote extensively about them, describing their properties and use. ‘Oriental bezoars’ (mostly from Asian porcupines) were introduced at this time.

    Difficulty in obtaining bezoars led to the production of numerous dangerous counterfeits containing highly toxic substances including cinnabar, quicksilver and antimony. Possibly for these reasons, their use declined at the end of the seventeenth century and from 1800 onwards, they were no longer used. In strict mineralogical terms, bezoars are not actually stones. However, the Flemish mineralogist and physician, Anselm Boetius de Boodt (1550–1632) included them in his work Gemmarum et Lapidum Historia (History of Gems and Stones, 1609) and their study is an important chapter in the history of toxicology.

  11. Page 209
    Abstract
    146 Church Hill Road, Sutton, Surrey SM3 8NF, UK (e-mail: cduffin@blueyonder.co.uk)

    The transition from the late seventeenth to the early eighteenth century represented an interesting time in the development of the Materia Medica, with the traditional ‘Galenical’ approach being progressively replaced by the ‘Chymical’ approach, a necessary precursor to modern pharmacology. Four surviving complete and partial Materia Medica cabinets belonging to Sir Hans Sloane, John Vigani, John Addenbrooke and William Heberden form the focus for a consideration of changing practices in the medicinal use of geological materials over this period. The working and teaching cabinets contain both processed and unprocessed specimens of geological simples. Of these, some were waning in popularity (e.g. nephrite jade, Irish slate, pyrite and garnets, jet and cannel coal), others were hardly ever used (e.g. belemnites, echinoid spines, Goa Stone, hematite and aetites), whilst others still continued to be popular, either in raw or processed form (e.g. amber, cinnabar, selenite and Terra Sigillata). The collections, considered in the context of contemporary literature, provide a unique insight into this dynamic period in the history of pharmacy.

  12. Page 235
    Abstract
    History of Medicine and of Psychiatry, University of Studies of Milan and University of Milano-Bicocca, Via dei Pellegrini n. 8/4, 20122 Milano, Italy (e-mail: massimo.aliverti@fastwebnet.it)

    The use of rocks and stones for the treatment of ill people is present in the folk medicine of many European regions. Lithoiatric practices have a long history which started with the peoples living in prehistoric times and continued in the various civilizations that followed one another over the centuries in Europe right up to the present era. Rocks and stones (pertaining to mountains or hills, caverns or canals, streams or other damp places) have been variously used by mankind in therapeutic procedures in magic or religious settings, giving considerable prestige to some places where such practices were exercised. The present work deals with the symbolism of rocks in human cultures, also with reference to mythology. This essay takes into account many places of worship and the popular traditions connected to them, giving special attention to those that are in Italy.

  13. Page 243
    Abstract
    Department of Earth Sciences, Royal Holloway, University of London, Egham, Surrey TW20 0EX UK (e-mail: mather@jjgeology.eclipse.co.uk)

    The managed exploitation of thermal and mineral waters began at British spas in the middle of the 16th century when the first scientific treatises were written. The peak in popularity was reached in the 18th century, after which usage declined. Britain’s spa heritage is well preserved at some sites and 14 of these are selected for detailed discussion. These heritage spas are divided into three groups on the basis of their hydrogeology. In the first group, spa locations are both controlled and constrained by the hydrogeological conditions. Flows are reliable and the waters are generally highly mineralized as a result of long groundwater flow paths and residence times. In the second group, hydrogeology is of secondary importance and locations owe more to chance and the endeavours of local entrepreneurs. The waters are vulnerable to contamination and flows are often unreliable. The third group exists only because of human disturbance to natural groundwater flow paths. Of the hundreds of mineral springs in Britain, many of which were promoted as spas, most fell into the second group and have disappeared; these are remembered only by a street sign or a trickle of water.

  14. Page 261
    Abstract
    Corresponding author (e-mail: nsro@bgs.ac.uk)

    Knowledge of the healing properties of some groundwater sources has been passed down through the generations. A complex array of hydrogeological environments yields a rich and diverse range of chemical compositions, and cures for a variety of ailments were available from some spring waters. Many were sourced with associated religious overtones. It is likely that exposure to clean cold water alleviates the symptoms of leprosy and probable also that it relieves rheumatic pain. However, the only demonstrable medicinal properties of groundwater are its purging effects wherever MgSO4 or Epsom salts prevailed. Clean and potable groundwater is certainly a key to human health and some of the minerals dissolved within it are essential to the human body, although many of these minerals become toxic if present in excess. The modern fashion for bottled groundwater, often perceived to be associated with health-giving and medicinal properties, for the most part, merely offer a safe form of drinking water.

  15. Page 269
    Abstract
    Corresponding author (e-mail: cgardnerthorpe@me.com)

    The occupational hazards of miners include acute trauma and death from rock falls, water inundation, explosions and the long-term effects of progressive pulmonary disease. One of the most evocative of records of the dust-laden atmosphere in which coalminers work is Sunday Stone. Specimens of Sunday Stone are preserved in the Great North Museum, the ‘Hancock’, managed by Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Sunday Stone is the name given to calcareous deposits that formed inside wooden pipes carrying wastewater from the collieries of Durham and Northumberland. Sunday Stone is composed of alternating light and dark bands, each double-band representing one 24-hour period. Water seeping into the working mines became laden with coal dust and dissolved mineral salts. The daily dark band corresponded to the working day (the ‘fore’ and ‘back’ shifts) with its heavy dust-laden atmosphere. The broader light-coloured band was laid down on Sundays during coalface downtime. Sunday Stone today comprises an enduring metaphor of the mining industry, and specimens remain as a silent but permanent witness to the conditions in which millions of underground coalminers have worked and often work today. In these banded patterns one sees the progressive struggle to improve mine safety and ventilation and the evolution of industrial preventive medicine.

  16. Page 279
    Abstract
    Edinburgh Geological Society, c/o British Geological Survey, West Mains Road, Edinburgh EH9 3LA, UK (e-mail: bpb@edinburghgeolsoc.org)

    Public health, the protection of the health of populations through community engagement, is a modern specialty originating in post-Industrial Revolution Britain, while environmental geochemistry is of even more recent origin. The influence of geology on health was first recognized in Classical times, although it was later supplanted by the miasma theory of disease. During the Renaissance, medical teaching began to concentrate more on diagnosis and treatment of the sick individual and less on preserving the health of populations. The concept of geology as a determinant of health re-emerged with the growth of scientific knowledge during the Enlightenment period of the eighteenth century. The nineteenth century saw the first identification of trace element deficiency disease and the publication of a textbook of public health which described geological influences on health. Over the next 100 years both public health and environmental geochemistry became established on a firm footing, although as separate disciplines. Recently the public health focus has been on lifestyle choices, but environmental geochemistry remains a potentially powerful partner in the fight to protect health, and there is much scope to enhance collaborative working. The legacy of the pioneers of both public health and geology must not be forgotten.

  17. Page 289
    Abstract
    Department of Culture and Society/History of Ideas, Aarhus University, Jens Chr. Skous Vej 7, Building 1465-1467, DK-8000 Aarhus C, Denmark (e-mail: idejbt@hum.au.dk)

    This paper concerns the Danish anatomist Nicolaus Steno’s years in the service of the Medici Court and argues that his studies of the Earth in Canis cacharia dissectum caput from 1667 and De Solido intra solidum contento dissertationis prodromus from 1669 must be interpreted within this context and in relation to the epistemological approach of the historia-genre present in many early modern medical textbooks. The use of historia enabled Steno to produce knowledge that was both useful as a Medicean instrument of power and allowed him to produce a truthful geological thesis without referral to Aristotelian causes. Traditionally, Steno’s geological work has been interpreted teleologically, as a break from contemporary natural philosophy and as an example of a foresight which would not be appreciated properly until several hundred years after his death. Challenging the untenable presentist interpretation, this paper argues that Steno’s work on the transformation of the Earth must be understood as inherently connected to the Medici court and their experimental academy – the Accademia del Cimento.

  18. Page 307
    Abstract
    Gram Museum of Palaeontology (Museum Sønderjylland), Lergravsvej 2, DK-6510 Gram, Denmark (e-mail: ellahoch@mail.dk)

    Ole Worm, Professor of Medicine at Copenhagen University 1624–1654, collected natural objects and artefacts with a view to letting students learn through observation and the touch of real things. Among the objects were fossils. Through Worm’s correspondence from 1607 to 1654, his growing understanding of petrifaction and petrifactions (fossilization and fossils) and its circumstantial background in the Nordic Renaissance has been investigated. Worm studied medicine with anatomy, botany and (iatro)chemistry at European universities. He began as Professor Pædagogicus and practising physician in Copenhagen in 1613 and he pursued interests in botany and in Nordic philology supported by King Christian IV. Objects for demonstrative instruction were obtained through his correspondents and were arranged systematically in Worm’s museum. The first fossils were identified chemically as petrified mollusc shells and wood, but without attention to species and original environment. With limited zoological knowledge and little field experience, but well trained in anatomical observation and description, and well read, Worm developed his understanding of fossils. He compared sharks’ teeth and glossopetrae, adding evidence to former comparisons. Christian orthodoxy was a barrier to geological and evolutionary thinking. Worm rejected superstition and prepared the way for the scientific comprehension of fossils in the Nordic cultural sphere.

  19. Page 329
    Abstract
    The Coach House, 1a College Road, Exeter EX1 1TE, UK (e-mail: cgardnerthorpe@me.com)

    In the early days of the development of a more formal approach to academic geology many natural philosophers, now better known as scientists, were men (rarely women) with inquisitive minds who encapsulated the field of what we now call the sciences. Thus medical practitioners, clergymen and others were enquiring into the natural world. One such was James Parkinson who was a doctor, geologist and keen moral philosopher. The area of Hoxton in East London where he lived his whole life has been redeveloped since then. Some of James’s interests are discussed here and the multiple interrelationships of medicine and geology within his family are illustrated.

  20. Page 339
    Abstract
    Honorary Research Fellow, School of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol, Wills Memorial Building, Queen’s Road, Bristol BS8 1RJ (e-mail: cherry.lewis@bristol.ac.uk)

    This paper presents a new look at how the apothecary surgeon, James Parkinson (1755–1824), integrated his geological understanding with his religious ideas. It is only through the intellectual questions raised by the emerging science of geology that we are able to examine his religious beliefs as these were not apparently challenged by, and consequently not discussed in, any of his other published works on politics, medicine or chemistry. Although Parkinson held ‘conventional’ Christian beliefs prevailing at the time, he did not permit these to stand in the way of the geological evidence; his later private views regarding how the Creation story came about were never fully revealed in his publications. By accepting that a ‘system of successive creations’ had occurred, which circumvented certain aspects of the biblical account of Creation, he adapted his faith to accommodate the indisputable facts of geology, concurring with then modern views about how the Earth had formed.

  21. Page 349
    Abstract
    Yunnan Key Laboratory for Palaeobiology, Yunnan University, Kunming, Yunnan Province, 650091, People’s Republic of China (e-mail: J.Liston@nms.ac.uk)

    Today William Hunter is remembered mainly for his pioneering work in obstetrics and for our understanding of the lymphatic system, but his interests were wide-ranging, encompassing artworks (the first to collect Chardin), archaeological, numismatic and bibliographical items. As a key figure in the Enlightenment, he was one of the few in the mid-eighteenth century to advocate the concept of extinction as recorded in the fossil record. Of some 400 fossil specimens, written records attest to the presence of over 50 fossil vertebrates in his collection, including fish from ‘Monte’ Bolca as well as specimens reflecting his comparative anatomical writings on the mastodon and ‘Irish elk’. This paper will explore the significance of the presence of these specimens in this particular eighteenth century collector’s collection, using his writings and library as tools to shed light on the mind of this classic Scottish Enlightenment figure.

  22. Page 375
    Abstract
    797 Goodrich Avenue, Saint Paul, MN 55105, USA (e-mail: wilso004@umn.edu)

    In the years from 1817 to 1825 when Dr John Bigsby was stationed in Canada with the British Army, he studied the geology from the lower St Lawrence Valley to the centre of the continent. In sedimentary strata of the Great Lakes, he collected a wealth of fossils, many of unusual size. He described the mineralogy of the Canadian Shield, recognizing the igneous origin of the basalt precipices of the north shore of Lake Superior. In 1819 when the International Boundary Commission was surveying the western end of Lake Erie, the whole staff fell ill with malarial fevers and some died. Bigsby was appointed in 1820 as medical officer to the Commission. He accompanied the British survey team from 1820 to 1823 to provide medical care. In his leisure time he collected fossils from the shores of the Great Lakes. In 1823 Bigsby travelled by canoe with the surveyors completing the survey from Lake Superior to Lake of the Woods. During the journey he observed the great volcanic formations of that region. Bigsby returned to England in 1825, resigning from the British Army in 1830. He entered private medical practice but maintained a life-long interest in geology, particularly fossils.

  23. Page 395
    Abstract
    West Carnliath, Strathtay, by Pitlochry, Perthshire PH9 0PG, UK (e-mail: r.g.hull@hotmail.co.uk)

    Five eighteenth-century medical men, like many of their contemporaries, achieved renown for their medical skills and research abilities. They lived during an exciting period marked by the questioning of many traditional beliefs. Coeval scientific achievements increased knowledge of the challenging natural world around them. Outside medicine, John Wall (1708–1776) established the fashionable spa of Malvern, known for the purity of its water, and co-founded the prestigious Worcester Porcelain Company. Erasmus Darwin (1731–1802) had a remarkably inventive mind ranging over many interests, including canal construction, steering equipment for carriages and a copying machine for documents. Edward Jenner (1749–1823) was interested in bird migration, and researched the brood parasitism of the cuckoo. His vaccination of cowpox to prevent smallpox eventually led to the elimination of the disease in 1980. Caleb Parry (1755–1822) practised medicine in Bath and was admired for his knowledge and integrity. He was interested in sheep and produced high-quality merino wool. Since boyhood he had hunted for fossils with his friend, Edward Jenner. John MacCulloch (1773–1835) produced the first geological map of Scotland, published posthumously in 1836. A prolific writer, his book on the Western Isles (1819) is considered a classic.

  24. Page 409
    Abstract
    Department of Earth Sciences, Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD, UK (e-mail: s.wills@nhm.ac.uk)

    John Whitaker Hulke was one of the early pioneers of vertebrate palaeontology whose work is now somewhat forgotten. At various times he was President of the Geological Society, President of the Royal College of Surgeons, President of the Clinical Society and President of the Pathological Society. He was also a Fellow of the Royal Society and Consulting Surgeon at Moorfields Eye Hospital. His initial research into dinosaurs was based around specimens collected by Mr Mansel Pleydell of Blandford in Dorset. He also developed a close friendship with the Reverend William Fox on the Isle of Wight and for a time Hulke had almost exclusive access to this collection. The sauropod Ornithopsis hulkei was named in his honour by his friend Harry Govier Seeley in 1870. Hulke described and named a number of dinosaurs including Eucamerotus, Cumnoria (= Iguanodon) prestwichii and Lexovisaurus (= Omosaurus) durobrivensis, amongst others. Hulke attempted the first complete skeletal reconstruction of the small ornithopod dinosaur Hypsilophodon foxii. He is also credited with the first detailed description of Polacanthus foxii. His personal collection was donated to the British Museum by his widow Julia and is now stored in the Natural History Museum, London.

  25. Page 429
    Abstract
    Corresponding author (e-mail: david.martill@port.ac.uk)

    Pterodactyls or pterosaurs, well-known flying reptiles of the Mesozoic, were already compared with dragons and vampires well before the discovery of the spectacularly large species from North America with wing spans of over 6 m. First described in 1784, they were not recognized as flying reptiles until 1801, when Baron Cuvier described a specimen that a few years later he called Ptero Dactyle which later became Pterodactylus. The name Pterodactylus is technically invalid – it is a junior synonym of Ornithocephalus Soemmerring 1812 – but it has stuck in the psyche of both palaeontologists and public alike. By the end of the nineteenth century numerous workers had compared pterosaurs with demons, dragons and vampires and life restorations had appeared in books, magazines and as gargoyles on the external architecture of the Natural History Museum, London. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, famously the creator of Sherlock Holmes, was a polymath, with interests in science, sport, politics, travel, the occult and of course writing. He trained as, and became, a physician, with an eventually thriving general practice in Southsea, Hampshire from 1882 to 1890. In 1912, first as a series in Sunday magazines in the USA and in Strand Magazine in the UK, and shortly after as a hardback, he published The Lost World, an adventure story about the exploration of a South American tableland with prehistoric creatures that had persisted to the present. Although dinosaurs existed in this anachronistic fictional ecosystem, the ‘star’ animals were pterodactyls. Here we discuss the notoriety of pterodactyls generated by The Lost World, and hold Conan Doyle responsible for the widespread popularity of these iconic prehistoric reptiles right up to the present day.

  26. Page 445
    Abstract
    Corresponding author (e-mail: daniela.angetter@oeaw.ac.at)

    The propaedeutic character of academic studies at philosophical faculties of the Habsburg Monarchy during the ‘Vormärz’-period, 1815–1848, prevented research-oriented scientific training at the universities. In 1849 the minister of education Leo Thun-Hohenstein initiated a comprehensive educational reform. The crucial improvement in the system of higher education was that the old Austrian philosophical faculties were transformed into genuine research faculties, thus facilitating scientific studies on a more progressive level. Before this fundamental reform, natural science subjects were offered only at the medical faculty at which the substantial scientific subjects, for example chemistry and natural history, were taught. Pioneers in Austrian geology therefore earned a medical degree before they changed to geology, a science in which they had to be autodidacts. Among these ‘pioneers’ were the famous bohemian balneologist Franz Ambros Reuss (1761–1830), his son August Emanuel Reuss (1811–1873), professor of mineralogy at the Universities of Prague (1849–1863) and Vienna (1863–1873), and Carl Ferdinand Peters (1825–1881), the first professor of mineralogy and geology at Graz University (1864–1881). Members of the succeeding generation include Conrad Clemens Clar (1844–1904) and Theodor Posewitz (1851–1917). These were all outstanding individuals with unique skills and expertise, successfully combining medical and earth sciences in their everyday lives.

  27. Page 455
    Abstract
    The Shrubbery, Bedford Rd, Horrabridge, Yelverton, Devon, PL20 7QH, UK (e-mail: hguly@aol.com)

    Although the Heroic Age of Antarctic exploration is best remembered for races to the South Pole, the majority of expeditions at the time had scientific aims with geology as one of the important sciences to be studied. Almost all the expeditions carried a doctor, who was usually expected to contribute to the science of the expedition and was often appointed more for his non-medical skills than his medical ones. On the Scotia expedition, Dr J. Harvey Pirie was appointed as doctor, bacteriologist and geologist, and on the Discovery expedition, Dr Reginald Koettlitz was appointed as botanist, but had earlier spent three years as geologist in the Arctic. Ernest Gourdon, the geologist on both French expeditions, was a medical student at the time (although some sources speak of him a being medically qualified) and he obtained doctorates in both geology and medicine for his work in the Antarctic. Perhaps the most important geological discovery of the era was made by Dr Edward Wilson who was a zoologist and artist rather than a geologist, but had a wide interest in natural history. This paper describes these doctors and their contribution to geology on these expeditions.

  28. Page 463
    Abstract
    Corresponding author (e-mail: porroale@med.unibs.it)

    In 1746 the case of a young woman vomiting stones, nails, glasses and other foreign bodies came to the notice of the general scientific and religious communities. The Bishop of Cremona, Alessandro Maria Litta (1671–1754), deemed that a scientific–medical approach was necessary. Paolo Valcarenghi (d. 1780), one of the most famous of Cremona’s physicians, was charged with this task. Many physicians, both local and from the wider area of Northern Italy, became actively involved in the discussion: Martino Ghisi (1715–1794), who was the first to describe diphtheria on a scientific basis; Carlo Francesco Cogrossi (1682–1769, Professor of Practical Medicine at Padua University), who is noted for his parasitic theory of contagion; Carlo Gandini (1705–1788), who introduced some typical traditional Chinese Medicine practices into Italian medicine; and Francesco Roncalli Parolino (1692–1769), who recorded the case in his work entitled Europae medicina a sapientibus illustrata et a comite Francisco Roncalli Parolino observationibus adaucta (1747), a foundational work in the reconstruction of medical praxis in Europe. Their work is amongst the earliest texts from the Italian Peninsula to deny the natural formation of stones in the stomach, with the debate between the religious and scientific communities resulting in the acceptance of the medical explanation.

  29. Page 469
    Abstract
    Corresponding author (e-mail: walton2002@libero.it)

    Paolo Gorini (1813–1881), an Italian mathematician, is considered one of the fathers of experimental geology, and his work contributed to the evolution of medicine and hygiene. In 1844, he studied food conservation and worked out a method for conserving corpses and anatomical specimens, approved by the Medical School of Pavia. His geological studies mainly concerned mineralisation. At that time several researchers, including Jean Nicolas Gannal (1791–1852), Girolamo Segato (1792–1836), Ludovico Brunetti (1813–1899) and Efisio Marini (1835–1900), experimented on the scientific conservation of corpses. Later (1851), Gorini studied the formation of mountains and suggested experiments and demonstrations to produce volcanoes artificially. These studies were fundamental to realizing the early methods of corpse cremation in order to solve the problem of hygiene in cities and cemeteries. Gorini also supervised the construction of the first crematorium (Woking, UK). Gorini conserved the corpse of the Italian politician Giuseppe Mazzini (1805–1872). Gorini’s theories were not scientifically confirmed, but his attempt to understand the Universe and the origin of life and evolution by means of a single law is interesting as an early model for the emerging positivism of that time.

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