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THOMAS PENNANT (1726-1798)

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Originally appearing in Volume V21, Page 104 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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THOMAS PENNANT (1726-1798)  ,
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British naturalist and
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antiquary, was descended from an old Welsh
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family, for many generations
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resident at Downing, Flintshire, where he was born on the 14th of
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June 1726 . He received his early
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education at Wrexham, and afterwards entered Queen's College, Oxford, but did not take a degree . At twelve years of age he was inspired with a passion for natural
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history through being presented with Francis Willughby's
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Ornithology; and a tour in
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Cornwall in 1746–1747 awakened his strong
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interest in minerals and fossils . In 1750 his account of an
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earthquake at Downing was inserted in the Philosophical Transactions, where there also appeared in 1756 a paper on several coralloid bodies he had collected at
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Coalbrookdale, Shropshire . In the following
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year, at the instance of
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Linnaeus, he was elected a member of the Royal Society of Upsala . In 1766 he published the first
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part of his British Zoology, a
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work meritorious rather as a laborious compilation than as an
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original contribution to science . During its progress he visited the continent of
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Europe and made the acquaintance of Buffon, Voltaire, Haller and Pallas . In 1767 he was elected F.R.S . In 1771 was published his Synopsis of Quadrupeds, afterwards extended into a History of Quadrupeds . At the end of the same year he published A Tour in Scotland in 1769, which proving remarkably popular was followed in 1774 by an account of another journey in Scotland, in two volumes . These
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works have proved invaluable as preserving the record of important antiquarian relics which have now perished . In 1778 he brought out a similar Tour in Wales, which was followed by a Journey to Snowdon (pt. i .

1781; pt. ii . 1783), afterwards forming the second

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volume of the Tour . In 1782 he published a Journey from Chester to
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London . He brought out Arctic Zoology in 1785-1787 . In 1790 appeared his Account of London, which went through a large number of
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editions, and three years later he published the
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Literary
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Life of the
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late T . Pennant, written by himself . In his later years he was engaged on a work entitled Outlines of the Globe, vols. i. and ii. of which appeared in 1798, and vols. iii. and iv., edited by his son David Pennant, in 1800 . He was also the author of a number of minor works, some of which were published posthumously . He died at Downing on the 16th of December 1798 .

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