Page:Dictionary of National Biography. Sup. Vol II (1901).djvu/232

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Flower
Flower
220

the Middlesex Hospital ground students in the rudiments of his science, but he was an occasional exponent, and the collections which he fostered or initiated offer admirable opportunities of study.

Flower's achievements won him many distinctions. He was an honorary LL.D. of Dublin and Edinburgh, and D.C.L. of Durham University. He presided over both the zoological and anthropological sections of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, and in 1889 was elected president of the British Association for the Newcastle meeting. The address which he gave on that occasion related to the management of museums and to 'museum policy' in general. He was also honorary member of many foreign learned societies and institutions, and obtained those coveted distinctions, the corresponding membership of the Institute of France, and the Prussian order, 'Pour le Merite.' He was made a C.B. in 1887 and a K.C.B. in 1892.

Failing health compelled Flower to retire from the directorship of the Natural History Museum in 1898, and he died on 1 July 1899 at his house in Stanhope Gardens, London; he was cremated at Woking on the 5th, and his remains were interred at Stone, Buckinghamshire. He married, in 1858, Georgiana Rosetta, daughter of Admiral William Henry Smyth [q. v.], who survived him with three sons and three daughters. A portrait by the Chevalier Schmidt of Berlin is in the possession of Lady Flower, and a bust has been placed in the Natural History Museum.

Although a convinced adherent of Darwin and of Wallace's theory of evolution by natural selection, Flower did not occupy himself much with the theoretical part of his subject, save to expound its generalities in addresses. He is not associated with any original contributions to the philosophy of zoology. His original work, however, is both abundant and solid. No anatomist was more careful in recording new facts. Inferences from observed fact are not frequent in his memoirs; hence his work will probably need little correction. 'Caution and reticence in generalisation distinguish all Flower's scientific writings.'

The actual investigations undertaken by Flower relate almost exclusively to the mammalia, including man; and the new facts he discovered about their anatomy were very numerous and of the highest value. The two most salient memoirs which we owe to his researches concern the marsupials and the monotremata. Flower was the first to demonstrate that the marsupials (kangaroos, wombats, &c.) departed from the arrangement found in other mammals in that they possess throughout life a dentition of which but a single tooth is changed. This discovery has been abundantly confirmed. It served at the time to separate the pouch-bearing marsupials from other mammals; but the interval has been since to some extent filled up. In the monotremata he showed that the brain of echidna possessed the four optic lobes of other mammals, and that these egg-laying quadrupeds were so far unlike the lower vertebrata. He thus assisted in the consolidation of the group mammalia, and helped to dispose of the idea that these creatures were to be looked upon as forming a group totally apart from the mammals. In the same rank, or nearly so, may perhaps be mentioned some of his many contributions to the structure of the brain of apes and lemurs. In 'Observations on the Posterior Lobes of the Quadrumana,' published in the 'Philosophical Transactions' for 1862, he showed, at the time that the controversy was raging as to the differences between the brain of apes and of man, that certain supposed differences between men and apes did not exist. The investigations upon the brain of the lemurs (Trans. Zool. Soc. 1862) helped to show that those animals were really to be placed in the same great group as that which contains the monkeys and man. The brain indeed was a favourite subject of his investigation, and many animals of diverse groups were studied by him.

Flower's contributions to scientific literature of less general importance deal with a great variety of mammalian types; their aim was more zoological than morphological. He attempted to delineate accurately the structure of a large series of animals, whose structure was, at the time that he wrote, either unknown or little known, as well as to seize upon facts which appeared to form a secure basis for classification. Two of his most important memoirs of the latter kind are those relating to the classification of the carnivora (Proc. Zool. Soc. 1896), and of the rhinoceroses (ib. 1875). In these memoirs a large number of facts are reviewed, and the arrangement of the members of the groups inter se deduced from the material described. The results arrived at have been largely adopted by the writers of handbooks, though the validity of the conclusions in the case of the carnivora has been to some extent weakened by the consideration of extinct forms. Another important memoir of a like scope was that upon the arrangement of the order edentata (ib. 1882), which displayed the