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John Hunter


1728 - 1793

Pioneer of surgery and dentistry. The younger brother of William Hunter (1718-83), he was born near East Kilbride and studied surgery in London. In the 18th century, dentistry was primitive but Hunter's book The Natural History of Human Teeth (1778) gave it a scientific basis for the first time. Hunter spent much energy and money in the pursuit of advancements in comparative anatomy and became famous for his operational procedure for the cure of aneurysms. He was appointed surgeon to King George III (1776) and Surgeon-General to the British Army (1790). He also studied venereal diseases, gun-shot wounds and the process of inflammation.

Hunter built up a substantial collection of items comprising plant, animal and human specimens. These include rare specimens such as kangaroos gathered by Sir Joseph Banks from Captain James Cook's voyage of 1768-71. On his death, his collection passed to the Royal College of Surgeons of England in London, to form the core of their Hunterian Museum.

His wife, Anne Home (1742 - 1821), was a minor poet.


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