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Robert Kidston


1852 - 1924

Influential palaeobotanist. Born in Bishopton House (Renfrewshire), Kidston was educated at Stirling High School. He began a career in banking but, having gained independent wealth, was able to focus on botany and studied at the University of Edinburgh. He is regarded as the most influential palaeobotanist of his day, publishing more than 180 scientific papers on the taxonomy and distribution of Devonian and Carboniferous plants, a remarkable achievement.

He catalogued fossil plants for several important institutions, including the British Museum, and served as honorary palaeobotanist to the British Geological Survey. Kidston described the plants from the Rhynie cherts and assisted in excavating Fossil Grove in Glasgow. He served as a senior officer of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Glasgow in 1908. His definitive work was the The Fossil Plants of the Carboniferous Rocks of Great Britain published in six parts 1923-25 and completed after his death.

He lived most of his life in the King's Park district of Stirling but died while visiting a friend in Wales.


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