Archibald Geikie and the elgin reptiles

Michael J. Benton*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter in a book

2 Citations (Scopus)


Archibald Geikie had some involvement in Victorian controversies over the age and interpretation of the Permian–Triassic Elgin reptiles. His early patronage by Roderick Murchison, and his biography of Murchison, gave him an unusual position, both in praising his older mentor and also in dealing with some of the mistakes he made. Murchison long held to the notion that the yellow sandstones at Elgin were all Devonian in age, even as more and more specimens of Mesozoic-style reptiles emerged. He eventually accepted that the palae-ontological evidence trumped his beloved field observations, and it is likely Geikie never doubted the true age. Later, Geikie was honoured when a dicynodont from Elgin, Geikia, was named after him by Geological Survey staff palaeontologist E.T. Newton (1840–1930). The circumstances surrounding this choice of name remain uncertain.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGeological Society Special Publication
PublisherGeological Society of London, Special Publications
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 9 Apr 2019

Publication series

NameGeological Society Special Publication
ISSN (Print)0305-8719


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