Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Huxley, Thomas Henry

Anthropologist, comparative zoologist, physiologist, and Darwin’s bulldog; surgeon on HMS Rattlesnake in New Guinea and Australia (1847-50). When he heard them, Huxley immediately supported Darwin’s ideas. ‘How extremely stupid not to have thought of that’, he said on reading the Origin of Species. Huxley’s review of the book in The [London] Times was one of the factors in the book’s success. Huxley is also remembered for an 1860 debate with anti-evolutionist Archbishop Soapy Sam Wilberforce, for Huxley’s works on primate comparative anatomy in 1863, for his proposal of the arboreal theory of primate evolution, and for a letter to Darwin asking him to remove or de-emphasize his dependence on gradualism. Huxley also coined the term agnosticism. Author of Evidence as to Man’s Place in Nature (1863). President of the Royal Society (1883-5), winner of the Royal Society’s Darwin Medal (1893).

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