Thomas Henry Huxley PRS

Died aged c. 70

Thomas Henry Huxley PC FRS HonFRSE FLS (4 May 1825 – 29 June 1895) was an English biologist and anthropologist specialising in comparative anatomy. He has become known as "Darwin's Bulldog" for his advocacy of Charles Darwin's theory of evolution. The stories regarding Huxley's famous 1860 Oxford evolution debate with Samuel Wilberforce were a key moment in the wider acceptance of evolution and in his own career, although some historians think that the surviving story of the debate is a later fabrication. Huxley had been planning to leave Oxford on the previous day, but, after an encounter with Robert Chambers, the author of Vestiges, he changed his mind and decided to join the debate. Wilberforce was coached by Richard Owen, against whom Huxley also debated about whether humans were closely related to apes. Huxley was slow to accept some of Darwin's ideas, such as gradualism, and was undecided about natural selection, but despite this he was wholehearted in his public support of Darwin. Instrumental in developing scientific education in Britain, he fought against the more extreme versions of religious tradition. Huxley coined the term "agnosticism" in 1869 and elaborated on it in 1889 to frame the nature of claims in terms of what is knowable and what is not. Huxley had little formal schooling and was virtually self-taught. He became perhaps the finest comparative anatomist of the later 19th century. He worked on invertebrates, clarifying relationships between groups previously little understood. Later, he worked on vertebrates, especially on the relationship between apes and humans. After comparing Archaeopteryx with Compsognathus, he concluded that birds evolved from small carnivorous dinosaurs, a belief still widely held today. The tendency has been for this fine anatomical work to be overshadowed by his energetic and controversial activity in favour of evolution, and by his extensive public work on scientific education, both of which had significant effects on society in Britain and elsewhere. Huxley's 1893 Romanes Lecture, "Evolution and Ethics", is exceedingly influential in China; the Chinese translation of Huxley's lecture even transformed the Chinese translation of Darwin's Origin of Species.

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Commemorated on 4 plaques

Thomas Henry Huxley 1825-1895 biologist lived here

38 Marlborough Place, London, United Kingdom where they lived

This house "Hodeslea" was built by Thomas Henry Huxley. F.R.S. 1890 he lived here 1895

Hodesley, 10 Staveley Road, Eastbourne, United Kingdom where they built and lived

On 30 June 1860 Thomas Henry Huxley, Samuel Wilberforce and others debated Charles Darwin's Origin of Species in the museum 1860-2010

Oxford University Museum of Natural History, Parks Road, Oxford, United Kingdom where they was

A meeting of the British Association held 20 June 1860 within this door was the scene of the memorable debate on evolution between Samuel Wilberforce Bishop of Oxford and Thomas Henry Huxley

, Oxford, United Kingdom where they debated (1860)