Martin Lister

Martin Lister ( born April 11, 1639 Radclive; † February 2nd 1712 in Epsom ) was an English naturalist and physician. He was nephew of Sir Matthew Lister, Doctor of Anne of Denmark (wife of King James I. ) and of King Charles I.

Life and work

Martin Lister was trained in 1655 at St John 's College, Cambridge, where 1659/60 he graduated. In 1671 he became a member of the Royal Society, and practiced medicine until 1683 in York before moving to London. In 1684 he received the degree of "Doctor of Medicine" in Oxford, and in 1687 a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians.

Lister contributed numerous articles on natural history, medicine and antiques in the Philosophical Transactions, the science journal, published by the Royal Society. His main works were: Historiae animalium Angliae tres tractatus (1678 ); Historiae Conchyliorum (1685, 1692 ) and Conchyliorum Bivalvium ( 1696 ). As a student of the shell molluscs he was granted a high regard; but while he recognized the horizon resistance fossiliferous strata, as well as the similarity of the fossils to living forms, he looked at them, according to the model Athanasius Kircher, merely as " freaks of nature ", so as inorganic imitations that had spontaneously formed inside the rocks.

1683 Lister made ​​the Royal Society (Phil. Trans, 1684), a witty suggestion about a new kind of maps, in conjunction with diagrams of the sands and clays, as they were mainly found in the northern parts of England. In this paper he proposed the preparation of a soil or minerals Map, which is why it is to the credit of having been the first to recognize the importance of geological mapping. He died in Epsom on 2 February 1712.


According to him the genus Listeria in the orchid family (Orchidaceae) was named.

Writings (selection )

  • Historia Animalium Angliae. London 1678th (online)
  • Appendix in Historiam Animalium Anglite. 1681st
  • Letters and divers other Mixt Discourses in Natural Philosophy. London in 1683.
  • De thermistor et Fontibus Medicatis Angliae. London 1684th
  • Sex Exercitationes Medicinales de quibusdam Morbis Chronicis. London 1694th
  • Exercitatio Anatomica in qua de Cochleis, maxim Terrestribus et Limacibus agitur. London, 1694, (online)
  • Exercitatio Anatomica alterative, in qua agitur de Buccinis fluviatilibus et marinis. London 1695th
  • Exercitatio Anatomica tertia Conchyliorum Bivalvium. London 1696
  • A journey to Paris in the year 1698th London 1699th