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Unmasking “The Eldest Son of The Father of Protozoology”: Charles King

Abstract : In 1703 two articles appeared in the Transactions of the Royal Society, authored by an unnamed gentleman. The articles, with deference to Leeuwenhoeck, described recent observations made with a microscope. Clifford Dobell, in his biography of Leeuwenhoeck, remarked at length on the extraordinary quality of the illustrations and descriptions of “animalcules”. He declared the anonymous author to be the scion and master draughtsman of Leeuwenhoeck’s followers. Still today, one of the illustrations is credited with being the first unambiguous depiction of a diatom. Here I present evidence that the anonymous author was Charles King of Staffordshire and evidence of his talent. John Hill is often credited for the first naming and illustrating Paramecium and other ciliates in his 1752 book, but it has been claimed repeatedly that he copied the anonymous 1703 illustrations without attribution. Here, the illustrations from 1703 and 1752 are given, and casual examination suffices to show not only that the illustrations were copied, but also that the 1703 illustrations (and text descriptions) of Charles King are of a far higher quality than those of John Hill. Although very little is known about Charles King, he deserves recognition as a pioneer of protistology.
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John Dolan. Unmasking “The Eldest Son of The Father of Protozoology”: Charles King. Protist, Elsevier, 2019, 170 (4), pp.374-384. ⟨10.1016/j.protis.2019.07.002⟩. ⟨hal-02283230⟩

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