Martin Lister

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MARTIN LISTER (c. 1638-1712), English naturalist and physician, was born at Radclive, near Buckingham. He was nephew of Sir Matthew Lister, physician to Anne, queen of James I., and to Charles I. He was educated at St John's College, Cambridge, 1655, graduated in 1658/9, and was elected a fellow in 1660. He became F.R.S. in 1671. He practised medicine at York until 1683, when he removed to London. In 1684 he received the degree of M.D. at Oxford, and in 1687 became F.R.C.P. He contributed numerous, articles on natural history, medicine and antiquities to the Philosophical Transactions. His principal works were Historiae animalium Angliae tres tractatus (1678); Historiae Conchyliorum (1685-1692), and Conchyliorum Bivalvium (1696). As a conchologist he was held in high esteem, but while he recognized the similarity of fossil mollusca to living forms, he regarded them as inorganic imitations produced in the rocks. In 1683 he communicated to the Royal Society (Phil. Trans., 1684), An ingenious proposal for a new sort of maps of countries; together with tables of sands and clays, such as are chiefly found in the north parts of England. In this essay he suggested the preparation of a soil or mineral map of the country, and thereby is justly credited with being the first to realize the importance of a geological survey. He died at Epsom on the 2nd of February 1712.

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