Oswald Heer

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Oswald Heer (August 31, 1809 – September 27, 1883), Swiss geologist and naturalist, was born at Niederuzwil in Canton of St. Gallen and died in Lausanne.

He was educated as a clergyman at Halle and took holy orders, and he also graduated as Doctor of Philosophy and medicine. Early in life his interest was aroused in entomology, on which subject he acquired special knowledge, and later he took up the study of plants and became one of the pioneers in paleobotany, distinguished for his researches on the Miocene flora.

In 1851 he became professor of botany in the university of Zürich, and he directed his attention to the Tertiary plants and insects of Switzerland. For some time he was director of the Botanical Garden Zürich. In 1863 (with William Pengelly, Phil. Trans., 1862) he investigated the plant-remains from the lignite-deposits of Bovey Tracey in Devon, regarding them as of Miocene age; but they are now classed as Eocene.

Heer also reported on the Miocene flora of Arctic regions (fossil plant remains brought back from Northwest Greenland by K. J. V. Steenstrup), on the plants of the Pleistocene lignites of Dürnten on lake Zürich, and on the cereals of some of the lake-dwellings (Die Pflanzen der Pfahlbauten, 1866).

During a great part of his career he was hampered by slender means and ill-health, but his services to science were acknowledged in 1873 when the Geological Society of London awarded to him the Wollaston medal. Dr Heer died at Lausanne on the 27th of...
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