Editing Joseph D. Hooker slide collection

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James Clark Ross (1800–1862), who famously led the expedition, added that one of these trees ‘exceeding seven feet in circumference was dug out and sent to England’. Perhaps this is one of the fossils now in the Survey’s collection?
 
James Clark Ross (1800–1862), who famously led the expedition, added that one of these trees ‘exceeding seven feet in circumference was dug out and sent to England’. Perhaps this is one of the fossils now in the Survey’s collection?
  
=== Southern Indian Ocean travels ===
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Southern Indian Ocean travels
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Joseph Dalton Hooker.
  
 
Hooker informed Darwin that he had this specimen sectioned in December 1844. In the early twentieth century, Cambridge palaeobotanists, A C Seward and E A N Arber sectioned more of Hooker’s fossil wood specimens from the Kerguelen Islands, and identified them as conifers related to the modern-day monkey puzzle and cypress.
 
Hooker informed Darwin that he had this specimen sectioned in December 1844. In the early twentieth century, Cambridge palaeobotanists, A C Seward and E A N Arber sectioned more of Hooker’s fossil wood specimens from the Kerguelen Islands, and identified them as conifers related to the modern-day monkey puzzle and cypress.
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Fifty years later, Arber named the specimen, Cupressinoxylon hookeri in honour of its discoverer.
 
Fifty years later, Arber named the specimen, Cupressinoxylon hookeri in honour of its discoverer.
  
=== Van Diemen’s Land ===
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Van Diemen’s Land
 
Australia outline (P776133: a cross-section of a fossil tree from Scarborough, Yorkshire, England).
 
Australia outline (P776133: a cross-section of a fossil tree from Scarborough, Yorkshire, England).
 
In Hooker’s ‘unregistered’ collection at the Geological Survey, there are fifteen sections of Tasmanian fossil wood, mostly labeled Van Diemen’s Land (the official name of the island until 1856). Exactly how they relate to the giant tree, if at all, is unknown.
 
In Hooker’s ‘unregistered’ collection at the Geological Survey, there are fifteen sections of Tasmanian fossil wood, mostly labeled Van Diemen’s Land (the official name of the island until 1856). Exactly how they relate to the giant tree, if at all, is unknown.
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Darwin’s correspondence shows that he and Hooker exchanged fossil wood slides in 1844, and in this way, some of Darwin’s sections seem to have found their way into the Geological Survey’s collection. One is labelled ‘Chiloe, C. Darwin Esq’.
 
Darwin’s correspondence shows that he and Hooker exchanged fossil wood slides in 1844, and in this way, some of Darwin’s sections seem to have found their way into the Geological Survey’s collection. One is labelled ‘Chiloe, C. Darwin Esq’.
  
==First-ever thin sections==
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===First-ever thin sections===
  
 
While rediscovering ‘lost’ fossils from Darwin’s voyage on HMS Beagle is hugely exciting, there are other specimens in Hooker’s ‘unregistered’ collection that are arguably of greater scientific significance.
 
While rediscovering ‘lost’ fossils from Darwin’s voyage on HMS Beagle is hugely exciting, there are other specimens in Hooker’s ‘unregistered’ collection that are arguably of greater scientific significance.
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One of Nicol’s closest friends and supporters was Henry Witham (1779–1844), a wealthy naturalist from County Durham. Recognising the potential of the thin section technique to revolutionise palaeobotany, Witham encouraged Nicol to produce many more sections and used his contacts to source fossil wood samples from across northern Britain.
 
One of Nicol’s closest friends and supporters was Henry Witham (1779–1844), a wealthy naturalist from County Durham. Recognising the potential of the thin section technique to revolutionise palaeobotany, Witham encouraged Nicol to produce many more sections and used his contacts to source fossil wood samples from across northern Britain.
  
=== Bad blood ===
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Bad blood
 
However, the collaborative relationship seems to have turned sour when, in 1831, Witham published a groundbreaking book based on Nicol’s sections, entitled Fossil Vegetables.
 
However, the collaborative relationship seems to have turned sour when, in 1831, Witham published a groundbreaking book based on Nicol’s sections, entitled Fossil Vegetables.
  
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The specimens are mostly of lower Carboniferous trees from several sites across Scotland and its borders, but also include Jurassic specimens from the Yorkshire coast, and Tertiary angiosperm trunks from as far afield as the East China Sea.
 
The specimens are mostly of lower Carboniferous trees from several sites across Scotland and its borders, but also include Jurassic specimens from the Yorkshire coast, and Tertiary angiosperm trunks from as far afield as the East China Sea.
  
==Slide-makers to the Empire==
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===Slide-makers to the Empire===
 
Witham’s book, Fossil Vegetables, described his thin section technique in sufficient detail that anyone with basic know-how could replicate the process; Nicol was especially annoyed by this. Read more about this in Double-crossed Nicol.
 
Witham’s book, Fossil Vegetables, described his thin section technique in sufficient detail that anyone with basic know-how could replicate the process; Nicol was especially annoyed by this. Read more about this in Double-crossed Nicol.
  
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Others seem to have been donated by a motley crew of explorers, missionaries and administrators from across the British Empire.
 
Others seem to have been donated by a motley crew of explorers, missionaries and administrators from across the British Empire.
  
==How the collection was 'lost'==
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===How the collection was 'lost'===
  
 
Despite the passing of 165 years, the origin of Hooker’s ‘unregistered’ collection is slowly becoming apparent. However, far less clear is how it came to be ‘lost’.
 
Despite the passing of 165 years, the origin of Hooker’s ‘unregistered’ collection is slowly becoming apparent. However, far less clear is how it came to be ‘lost’.

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