33 Facts About Alfred Newton


Alfred Newton FRS HFRSE was an English zoologist and ornithologist.


Alfred Newton was born near Geneva in Switzerland, the fifth son of William Newton of Elveden Hall in Suffolk, Member of Parliament for Ipswich; his mother Elizabeth was the daughter of Richard Slater Milnes, MP for York.


The family wealth was founded on sugar plantations in the Caribbean, where Alfred's grandfather Samuel Newton had a plantation in St Kitts, and a property in St Croix.


William Alfred Newton returned to England in 1813, purchasing the property of Elveden, near Thetford from the Earl of Albemarle.


In 1828 the Newton family made a trip to Italy, and on the way back Alfred was born on 11 June 1829 at Les Delices, a chateau near Geneva.


Alfred Newton suffered an accident when about five or six, which left him somewhat lame in one leg.


Alfred Newton went to school in 1844, attending Mr Walker's school at Stetchworth near Newmarket.

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Alfred Newton kept birds in cages and looked after other animals from a young age.


In 1846 Alfred Newton went to a tutor in Biggleswade for a few months, and in 1848 he entered Magdalene College, Cambridge.


Alfred Newton took a particular interest in zoology and corresponded with many ornithologists of the time.


Alfred Newton spent the rest of his life at Magdalene, and never married.


Alfred Newton died on 7 June 1907 of heart failure at the Old Lodge in Magdalene.


Alfred Newton is buried in the Parish of the Ascension Burial Ground in Cambridge.


Sclater Alfred Newton wrote up Wolley's notes and catalogued his collection in Ootheca Wolleyana, which was published in four parts from 1864 to 1907.


Alfred Newton was a founding editor of the Journal of Anatomy and Physiology in 1867.


Alfred Newton was one of the few British Professors of Zoology of his time in whose appointment Huxley did not have a hand.


Alfred Newton was one of the first zoologists to accept and champion the views of Charles Darwin, and his early lecture courses as professor were on evolution and zoogeography.


Alfred Newton was a leader in founding the British Ornithologists' Union in 1858, and its quarterly journal, the Ibis in 1859.


Alfred Newton wrote several books including Zoology and A Dictionary of Birds.


Alfred Newton contributed memoirs to scientific societies, and edited the Ibis, the Zoological Record, and Yarrell's British Birds.


Alfred Newton spent some time studying the vanishing birds of the Mascarene Islands, from where his brother Sir Edward Alfred Newton sent him specimens.


Alfred Newton influenced the legislation of the Sea Birds Preservation Act 1869.


Alfred Newton was a prominent supporter and member of the Society for the Protection of Birds from its inception in 1889, and carried on a long campaign to influence women against the fashion of adorning their hats with the flight feathers of raptors and other fine birds.


Alfred Newton determined that extinction cause by human actions was different from extinction resulting from natural processes including evolution.


Alfred Newton made efforts to clarify that his motivations for conservation were scientific and that these were distinct from sentiments influenced by earlier movements against animal cruelty and vivisection.

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The Cambridge University Museum of Zoology contains a significant amount of material from Alfred Newton, including specimens collected in Madagascar, Polynesia, South America and the Caribbean, eggs, books and correspondence.


Alfred Newton's correspondence gives an intimate view of how he encountered the momentous idea of evolution by means of natural selection:.


Only four days after the publication of the famous 1858 paper, and one day after he read it, Alfred Newton started to apply Darwin's and Wallace's idea to various problems in ornithology.


Alfred Newton did not see evolutionary theory as being in conflict with his religion.


Alfred Newton maintained a regular attendance at church and held deeply conservative views.


Alfred Newton was present and left a record of what happened in a letter to his brother Edward.


Alfred Newton then caught hold of the Bp's assertions and showed how contrary they were to facts, and how he knew nothing about what he had been discoursing on.


Alfred Newton was present at the Cambridge meeting of the British Association two years later.