Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Tylor, Alfred

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TYLOR, ALFRED (1824–1884), geologist, born on 26 Jan. 1824, was the second son of Joseph Tylor, brassfounder, by his wife, Harriet Skipper. His parents being members of the Society of Friends, he was educated in schools belonging to that denomination near London. Although his own inclinations were towards scientific study, the early death of his father compelled him to devote himself to his business, which he entered in his sixteenth year. Still, he gave every spare moment to study, even attaching himself to St. Bartholomew's Hospital to improve his knowledge of anatomy. He frequently visited the continent, going as far as Italy, Spain, and even Russia, both for business and for scientific purposes, in the latter case not seldom in company with eminent contemporary geologists. During the latter part of his life he lived at Carshalton. He died on 31 Dec. 1884, on his return from a visit to America. In 1850 he married Isabella Harris of Stoke Newington, who survived him with two sons and four daughters.

Tylor paid especial attention to the closing chapter of geological history, devoting to its consideration the majority of the thirteen papers which stand under his name in the Royal Society's catalogue. He maintained that the so-called glacial period was followed by one of exceptional rainfall, for which he proposed the name of pluvial. In his main contention he was right, though whether the precipitation was great enough to merit a special name is open to question. But he was, as his work indicates, a very shrewd and careful observer.

His chief books were: 1 'On Changes of Sea Level,' London, 1853, 8vo. 2. 'Education and Manufactures,' London, 1863, 8vo (reprinted from a report connected with the exhibition of 1851, where he was a juror). 3. 'Colouration in Animals and Plants,' ed. S. B. J. Skertchly, London, 1886, 8vo.

[Quart. Jour. Geol. Soc. 1882, xli. (Proc. p. 42); Geol. Mag. 1882, p. 142; information from Professor E. B. Tylor (brother) and other members of the family.]

T. G. B.