Scientist of the Day - St. George Mivart
St. George Mivart (yes, St. George was his first name), an English naturalist, was born Nov. 30, 1827. Mivart was an outspoken critic of Darwin’s evolution by natural selection, and he was also critical, as a Catholic, of certain doctrines of the Catholic Church. But as a natural historian, he was less radical, and he published several books on particular families of animals and birds, for which he had the good sense or good fortune to team up with the Dutch illustrator, Johann Gerrard Keulemans, who was not only a painter but a lithographer as well. Dogs, Jackals, Wolves, and Foxes: A Monograph of the Canidae, was published in 1890, with 45 plates of canine carnivores, some of them forbidding, like the Esquimaux dog (see second image above), others just cute, like the African fennec (first image) and the fox (third image).
In 1896, Mivart published Monograph on the Loridae; lories or lorikeets are parrot-like birds that live in Indonesia, Australia, New Guinea, and Polynesia. We see here plates of the green-streaked lory (fourth image), the chattering lory (fifth image), and the Tahitian lory with the ultramarine lorikeet (sixth image).
Because of his excommunication, Mivart was buried without sacraments. His friends, however, petitioned the Cardinal, claiming Mivart was mentally ill in his last years, and finally, in 1904, Mivart was restored to the Church and buried with ecclesiastical rites in the Catholic cemetery. He has not, however, been restored to the good graces of Darwinians. His two books opposing natural selection are also in our History of Science Collection.
Dr. William B. Ashworth, Jr., Consultant for the History of Science, Linda Hall Library and Associate Professor, Department of History, University of Missouri-Kansas City. Comments or corrections are welcome; please direct to email@example.com.