John William Dawson

Sir John William Dawson, William Dawson called (* October 13, 1820 in Pictou, Nova Scotia, † November 19, 1899 in Montreal) was a Canadian geologist, paleontologist and school reformers. He explored especially the geology and paleontology of Nova Scotia.

Life and work

Dawson had Scottish ancestors and studied after visiting the Pictou Academy at the University of Edinburgh with the conclusion of 1842., Where he studied geology and natural history at Robert Jameson ( 1774-1854 ). After completing his studies he returned to Nova Scotia, where he accompanied Charles Lyell. 1850 to 1853 he was Superintendent of Education in Nova Scotia, where he campaigned for reforms and in the U.S. educator Henry Barnard succeeded in precise ideas about the architecture and decor of schools. In addition to his official activities, for which he was traveling a lot, he studied the geology of Canada and collected fossils. From 1855 to 1893 he was professor of geology and principal of the University of Montreal.

In 1852, he was with Lyell on its second visit to Nova Scotia remains of a terrestrial amphibian ( Dendrerpeton, first described by Richard Owen in 1853, see Temnospondyli ) from the Carboniferous ( Joggins Formation), which belong to the earliest known terrestrial fauna.

He examined the fossil plants of the Paleozoic coal forests in Nova Scotia. In 1859, he described it as one of the first plants from the Devonian and published much about paleobotany later. Associated with it is also the description of Eozoön canadense (1865 ) from Precambrian limestones from Quebec, who were then regarded by him as foraminifera relatives and oldest fossils, but are now regarded as metamorphic mineral formation. In his paleontological views he incorporated theological views and denied the descent of man from apes.

In 1862 he became a Fellow of the Royal Society. He was the first president of the Royal Society of Canada. In 1881 he became a member of the Order of St Michael and St George in 1884 he was knighted. His son George Mercer Dawson (1849-1901) was also a well-known geologist, director of the Geological Survey of Canada. In his honor, the mineral dawsonite was named.

He was married since 1847 with Margaret AY Mercer, president of the Ladies Bible Association was and with other a school for girls in Montreal founded.

Writings (selection )

  • Acadian Geology - The geologic structure, organic remains and mineral resources of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Iceland. 1855 ( ), 2nd edition 1868 ( BHL ), 3rd edition 1878, 4th edition 1891 ( BHL )
  • Air - breathers of the Coal Period. Montreal 1863 ( )
  • The Story of the Earth and Man. Toronto 1873 ( BHL ), 6th Edition 1880
  • The Dawn of Life. 1875
  • Fossil Men and Their Modern Representatives. 1880
  • Geological History of Plants. New York 1888 ( BHL )
  • The Canadian Ice Age. , Montreal 1893 ( BHL )
  • Modern Ideas of Evolution as Related to Revelation and Science. 1890
  • The origin of the world accor ding to Revelation and Science. New York 1877 ( Project Gutenberg )
  • Fifty years of work in Canada. London 1901