Richard Lydekker

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Richard Lydekker
Richard Lydekker.jpg
Born (1849-07-25)July 25, 1849
London, England
Died April 16, 1915(1915-04-16)
Harpenden, England
Nationality English
Institutions Trinity College, Cambridge
Natural History Museum
Notable awards Lyell Medal (1902)

Richard Lydekker (25 July 1849 – 16 April 1915) was an English naturalist, geologist and writer of numerous books on natural history.[1]


Map showing Lydekker's line in relation to those of Wallace and Weber, as well as the probable extent of land at the time of the Last Glacial Maximum, when the sea level was more than 110 m lower than today.

Richard Lydekker was born at Tavistock Square in London. His father was Gerard Wolfe Lydekker, a barrister-at-law with Dutch ancestry. The family moved to Harpenden Lodge soon after Richard's birth.[2] and educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he took a first-class in the Natural Science tripos (1872).[3] In 1874 he joined the Geological Survey of India and made studies of the vertebrate palaeontology of northern India (especially Kashmir). He remained in this post until the death of his father in 1881. His main work in India was on the Siwalik palaeofauna; it was published in Palaeontologia Indica. He was responsible for the cataloguing of the fossil mammals, reptiles and birds in the Natural History Museum (10 vols., 1891).[4]

He was influential in the science of biogeography. In 1895 he delineated the biogeographical boundary through Indonesia, known as Lydekker's Line, that separates Wallacea on the west from Australia-New Guinea on the east.[4]

Lydekker attracted amused public attention with a pair of letters to The Times in 1913, when he wrote on 6 February that he had heard a cuckoo, contrary to Yarrell's History of British Birds which doubted the bird arrived before April. Six days later on 12 February 1913, he wrote again, confessing that "the note was uttered by a bricklayer's labourer". Letters about the first cuckoo became a tradition in the newspaper.[5]

He received the Lyell Medal from the Geological Society of London in 1902.[6]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Lydekker, Richard". Who's Who, 59: p. 1096. 1907. 
  2. ^ "Obituary". Ibis 57 (3): 617–620. 1915. doi:10.1111/j.1474-919X.1915.tb08208.x. 
  3. ^ "Lydekker, Richard (LDKR867R)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge. 
  4. ^ a b Wikisource-logo.svg Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1922). "Lydekker, Richard". Encyclopædia Britannica (12th ed.). London & New York. 
  5. ^ Gregory, Kenneth (1976). First Cuckoo: Letters to "The Times", 1900-75. Allen & Unwin. 
  6. ^ "The Geological Society of London" The Times (London). Monday, 24 February 1902. (36699), p. 6.
  7. ^ "The Royal Natural History". Retrieved 2012-06-12. 

External links[edit]