Title Thumbnail

Caves, Coprolites and Catastrophes

The Story of Pioneering Geologist and Fossil-Hunter William Buckland

Allan Chapman

288 pages
SPCK Group

‘An irresistible biography of one of Oxford’s most colourful characters.’ John Hedley Brooke

In 1824, William Buckland stood in front of the Royal Geological Society and told them about the bones he had been studying – the bones of an enormous, lizard-like creature, that he called Megalosaurus.

This was the first full account of a dinosaur.

During his life, Buckland would also demonstrate changes in the earth’s climate, champion health reform, wage war on slum landlords, and become infamous for eating everything he could, even a mummified human heart. Yet his name has been largely, and unjustly, forgotten.

In this brilliantly entertaining, colourful biography – the first to be written for over a century – Allan Chapman brings William Buckland back into the light and explores his fascinating life in full. From his pioneering of geology and agricultural science to becoming Dean of Westminster, Caves, Coprolites and Catastrophes reveals a giant of intellect whose achievements helped revolutionise the British scientific community.

Carefully balancing Buckland’s more eccentric escapades with his scientific prowess and the clash between science and religion in the 19th Century, Caves, Coprolites and Catastrophes is vivid, informative and thoroughly compelling.

A captivating story packed full of compelling insights into the world of Victorian science and its relationship with the Christian faith, Caves, Coprolites and Catastrophes is an unmissable biography of an exceptional scientist whose legacy extends down to this day.

Author Bio
Allan Chapman ============= Dr Allan Chapman is a historian of science at Oxford University, with special interests in the history of astronomy and of medicine and the relationship between science and Christianity. As well as University teaching, he lectures widely, has written a dozen books and numerous academic articles, and written and presented two TV series, Gods in the Sky and Great Scientists, besides taking part in many other history of science TVdocumentaries and in The Sky at Night with Sir Patrick Moore. He has received honorary doctorates and awards from the Universities of Central Lancashire, Salford, and Lancaster, and in 2015 was presented with the Jackson-Gwilt Medal by the Royal Astronomical Society. Among his books are Slaying the Dragons. Destroying Myths in the History of Science and Faith (Lion Hudson, 2013), Stargazers: Copernicus, Galileo, the Telescope,and the Church. The Astronomical Renaissance, 1500-1700 (Lion, 2014), and Physicians, Plagues, and Progress. The History of Western Medicine from Antiquity to Antibiotics (Lion, 2016). He is also the author of thescientific biographies England's Leonardo. Robert Hooke and the Seventeenth-Century Scientific Revolution (Institute of Physics, 2005), Mary Somerville and the World of Science (Canopus, 2004; Springer, 2015), and The Victorian Amateur Astronomer. Independent Astronomical Research in Britain, 1820-1920 (Wiley-Praxis, 1998; revised edn. Gracewing, 2017).