Catholic Palaeontologists from the The Catholic LaboratoryA podcast about the Catholic Faith and Science www.catholiclab.net iTunes / Twitter / Facebook
Palaeontology This slide set presents a brief biography of the following palaeontologists who were practicing Catholics: Georgius Agricola - Father of Mineralogy Athanasius Kircher - ‘master of a hundred arts’ Nicholas Steno - Father of Geology and Stratigraphy Joachim Barrande Abbot Ambrogio Soldani - Father of Micro-palaeontology Pierre Joseph van Beneden Wilhelm Waagen Fr Teilhard de Chardin Theodore Verhoeven
PalaeontologyGeorgius Agricola (1494-1555)Known as the Father of MineralogyStudied medicine, chemistry andphysics and wrote a systematictreatise on mining and extractivemetallurgy in De Re MetallicaHe also wrote on rocks, minerals &fossils in De Natura Fossiliummaking fundamental contributionsto structural geology, mineralogy,and palaeontology
PalaeontologyAthansius Kircher (1601-1680)Jesuit scholar and ‘master of ahundred arts’ including orientalstudies, medicine and geologyHis work on geology includedstudies of volcanoes and fossils,which puzzled him. He understoodthat some were the remains ofanimals which had turned to stone,but ascribed others to humaninvention or to the spontaneousgenerative force of the earth
PalaeontologyBlessed Nicholas Steno (1638-1686)Known as the Father of geologyand stratigraphyDespite a relatively brief scientificcareer, Nicholas Stenos work onthe formation of rock layers and thefossils they contain was crucial tothe development of moderngeology. The principles he statedcontinue to be used today bygeologists and palaeontologists
PalaeontologyJoachim Barrande (1799-1883)Geologist and palaeontologistHe made a detailed study of rocks,engaging workmen specially tocollect fossils, and in this way heobtained upwards of 3500 speciesof graptolites, brachiopoda,mollusca, trilobites and fishes.The district of Prague, Barrandov, isnamed in his honour
PalaeontologyAbbot Ambrogio Soldani (1736-1808)Known as the Father of micro-palaeontologySoldani was the first person topublish an extensive researchdedicated to the small fossilsfound in the Pliocene andPleistocene sediments ofTuscanyHe also taught chemistry and naturalsciences in addition to theology andphilosophy
PalaeontologyPierre-Joseph Van Beneden (1809-1894)Zoologist & Palaeontologist whooriginally studied parisitologyHe did extensive research in marinebiology, and in 1843 established anaquarium and marine laboratory inOstend. He studied whales andfossil whales as well as fossil seals.He was a devout Catholic andexhibited "the widest toleration forthe views of others".
PalaeontologyWilhelm Waagen (1841-1900)Geologist and palaeontologistWaagen was a professor ofgeology, mineralogy andpalaeontology for severalEuropean universities. He wroteon the German Jura and its fossils,and conducted pioneering work inthe Salt Range of India on theEarly Triassic ammonoidsuccession.
PalaeontologyTeilhard de Chardin (1881-1955)Philosopher and Jesuit priest whotrained as a palaeontologist andgeologist and took part in thediscovery of both Piltdown Man(fraudulent) and Peking Man.He became a friend of Henri Breuiland took part with him, in 1913, inexcavations in the prehistoricpainted caves in the northwest ofSpain, at the Cave of Castillo.
PalaeontologyTheodor Verhoeven (1907-1990)Catholic priest, missionary andamateur archaeologist who wasresponsible for significantpaleontological discoveries inIndonesia of archaic stone tools inassociation with the fossils ofstegodontids (dwarf elephants)some 800,000 years old, indicatingthat islands in Wallacea had beenreached by Homo erectus beforemodern humans appeared there