Oswald Heer

Birth: 1809


Oswald Heer (or Oswald von Heer) (31 August 1809 - 27 September 1883), Swiss geologist and naturalist, was born at Niederuzwil in Canton of St. Gallen and died in Lausanne. Oswald Heer was educated as a clergyman at Halle and took holy orders, and he also graduated as Doctor of Philosophy and medicine. Early in life his interest was aroused in entomology, on which subject he acquired special knowledge, and later he took up the study of plants and became one of the pioneers in paleobotany, distinguished for his researches on the Miocene flora.

In 1851 Heer became professor of botany in the university of Zurich, and for some time he was the director of what is now the Old Botanical Garden in that city. He directed his attention to the Tertiary plants and insects of Switzerland. In 1863 (with William Pengelly, Phil. Trans., 1862) he investigated the plant-remains from the lignite-deposits of Bovey Tracey in Devon, regarding them as of Miocene age; but they are now classed as Eocene.

Heer also reported on the Miocene flora of Arctic regions (fossil plant remains brought back from Northwest Greenland by K. J. V. Steenstrup), on the plants of the Pleistocene lignites of Durnten, and on the cereals of some of the lake-dwellings (Die Pflanzen der Pfahlbauten, 1866). Charles Darwin regarded Heer as an authority on fossil plants, and corresponded with him. The two men disagreed over evolution, but were on cordial terms.

In a letter in 1875, Heer described to Darwin in some detail a new dicotyledonous angiosperm fossil that he had identified in the lower Cretaceous in the arctic, which appeared to allow slightly more time for the evolution of dicots than Darwin had previously been aware of. Heer published a critique of Darwinism in volume 2 of his 1867 book The Primaeval World of Switzerland, concluding "All these facts afford arguments against a slow and uniformly progressive transformation of species, and lead to the conclusion that the transformation of organic nature took place in a period of comparatively limited duration" (p. 288).

He believed in progressive creation: "Times of creation occurred during which was accomplished a remoulding of organic types, and there was a primaeval epoch during which the first species were brought into being. Even if the first species were extremely simple, for them an act of creation must be admitted, an act without example in modern times; for in our days plants and animals of decidedly low forms proceed from species already in existence" (p. 291, The Primaeval World of Switzerland).

During a great part of his career Heer was hampered by slender means and ill-health, but his services to science were acknowledged in 1874 when the Geological Society of London awarded to him the Wollaston medal. He died at Lausanne on 27 September 1883. Heer published Flora Tertiaria Helvetiae (3 vols., 1855-1859); Die Urwelt der Schweiz (1865), and Flora fossilis Arctica (1868-1883) and with Eduard Heinrich Graeffe. The cape Heerodden in Nordenskiold Land on Spitsbergen is named after him.

Sabalico Logo
Sabali Mail Logo
Domain Search Logo
Test Speed Logo
Website On Logo
Code Editor Logo
ASCII Table Logo
HTML Symbols Logo
Emoji Symbols Logo
Encode File Logo
Generator Password Logo
QR Code Generator Logo
Barcode Generator Logo
Online Sign Logo
Dictionary Online Logo
Counter Word Logo
Text Convert Logo
Lorem Ipsum Generator Logo
Sprite Sheet Logo
Resize Image Logo
Image Compress Logo
Image Color Logo
Image Crop Logo
Combine Images Logo
Color Picker Logo
Color Convert Logo
CSS Gradient Logo
To-Do List Logo
Calendar Free Logo
Generator Meme Logo
Word Spinner Logo
Phone Country Logo
Sabalytics Logo
Senty Logo
World Map Logo
SEO Guide Logo
Keyword Tool Logo
What is my IP Logo
My Device Logo
My Browser Logo
My Location Logo
Time Zone Logo
Day Map Logo
My Weather Logo
My Galaxy Logo
The Moon Logo
Periodic Table Logo
rStatistics Logo
Unit Convert Logo
Data Convert Logo
Coordinate Converter Logo
Temperature Convert Logo
2020 Election Logo
Currency Convert Logo
Free Calculator Logo
Finance Calculator Logo
Loan Calculator Logo
Calculator Mortgage Logo
Stock Calculator Logo
Bond Calculator Logo
Tax Calculator Logo
Tip Calculator Logo
Gas Mileage Logo
History of Humanity - History Archive Logo
History of Humanity - History Mysteries Logo
History of Humanity - Ancient Mesopotamia Logo
History of Humanity - Egypt History Logo
History of Humanity - Persian Empire Logo
History of Humanity - Greek History Logo
History of Humanity - Alexander the Great Logo
History of Humanity - Roman History Logo
History of Humanity - Punic Wars Logo
History of Humanity - Golden Age of Piracy Logo
History of Humanity - Revolutionary War Logo
History of Humanity - Mafia History Logo