Other Free Encyclopedias » Online Encyclopedia » Encyclopedia - Featured Articles » Contributed Topics from K-O

Lubbock, (Sir) John, Baron Avebury

politics pre boy bank

(1834–1913) British biologist: contributor to archaeology, entomology and politics.

Lubbock’s father was a successful banker and amateur mathematician, and the boy joined the family bank at 15. He was successful enough, but his main interest was in biology, in which he was self-taught. Fortunately he could concentrate fully on different matters at short intervals, and in his adult life banking, biology, politics and education all engaged him. He was lucky that lived near the family home, made a friend of the boy and developed and used his talent for drawing. Lubbock early became an enthusiast for Darwin’s ideas and helped to expound them, and he was one of the few men whose opinions mattered to Darwin.

In 1855 he found the first fossil musk-ox in Britain, which gave early evidence of an ice age. In the 1850s and 1860s he began to link ideas on evolution with studies in archaeology and human pre-history and he travelled widely in Europe to study lake village sites and tumuli there. He coined the words ‘neolithic’ and ‘palaeolithic’ for the New and Old Stone Ages. His books on pre-history were pioneers in the field, but his work here did not obstruct another of his pursuits, entomology. He worked especially on the social insects, and devised the ‘Lubbock nest’, in which he could examine colonies in a movable glass-sided container. His methods (including the first use of paint-marking of insects for their identification, and obstacles and mazes to test intelligence) led to much new knowledge of their habits, instincts and intelligence. With a device designed for him by he showed that ants can distinguish colours and see ultraviolet light; and he discovered bees’ colour preferences.

He became well-known as an MP by introducing bills, on Bank Holidays (‘St Lubbock’s Days’, in 1871), also on wild bird protection, open spaces, ancient monuments and dozens more. He belongs to the rare group, including , distinguished in science, politics and commerce. Few later amateur scientists can compete with that distinction.

Lucas, George - Overview, Personal Life, Career Details, Social and Economic Impact, Chronology: George Lucas [next] [back] Lowery, Samuel R.(1832–1900) - Minister, lawyer, Begins Ministry, Chronology, Pursues Interest in Law, Establishes Loweryvale Community

User Comments

Your email address will be altered so spam harvesting bots can't read it easily.
Hide my email completely instead?

Cancel or