Antonio Stoppani

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Antonio Stoppani.

Antonio Stoppani (24 August 1824 – 1 January 1891) was an Italian Catholic priest, geologist and palaeontologist.


Born in Lecco, Stoppani became professor of geology in the Royal Technical Institute of Milan, and was distinguished for his researches on the Triassic and Liassic formations of northern Italy.

Among his works were:

  • Paleontologie Lombarde (1858-1881)
  • Les petrifaction d'Esino (1858-1860)
  • Géologie et paleontologie des conches a Avicula Contorta en Lombardie (1860-1865)
  • Corso di geologia (3 vols, 1871-1873)
  • L'Era Neozoica (1881)

In this last work the author discussed the glaciation of the Italian Alps and the history of Italy during the Pleistocene age.

Stoppani was very important as a popularizer of science. His most popular work, Il Bel Paese (1876), presents - by means of 32 didactical/scientific conversations in front of a fireplace - ideas and concepts of the natural sciences, with a language that was accessible to the average 19th-century reader, and particularly deals with geology and the beauties of the Italian landscape.

He was the great-uncle of Maria Montessori.[1]


In 1873 Stoppani acknowledged the increasing power and impact of humanity on the Earth's systems and referred to the 'anthropozoic era'.[2] This suggestion was ignored and considered unscientific at that time, but was revived in the 1990s by Paul Crutzen when he suggested the new geological epoch anthropocene. Stoppani was here far ahead of his own time.


  1. ^ "Highlights from 'Communications 2007/1'". Association Montessori Internationale. Retrieved May 2, 2013. 
  2. ^ Crutzen, P. J. (2002). "Geology of mankind". Nature 415 (6867): 23. doi:10.1038/415023a. PMID 11780095.