T. H. Huxley

English biologist and educator. Born in a village near London, Huxley had little formal education but immersed himself in the burgeoning scientific literature of his day. Through apprenticeships he learned enough about the practice of medicine to sign on as a surgeon's mate aboard the HMS Rattlesnake. During the ship's four-year voyage of discovery, Huxley studied marine invertebrates; the papers he wrote and illustrated with his own drawings won him a fellowship in the prestigious Royal Society when he returned to England in 1850. In the ensuing years, Huxley presided over numerous scientific institutions and became known as "Darwin's bulldog" for his vigorous defense of Charles Darwin's theory of human evolution, first published in 1871. In his own book Evidence as to Man's Place in Nature (1863), Huxley had already set out the terms of the debate that would roil the scientific world for decades. See also aleph0.clarku.edu/Huxley.