Sue Young Histories

George Gulliver 1804 - 1882

February 08, 2009

George Gulliver 1804 - 1882 anatomist and physiologist, and Assistant Surgeon to the Royal Regiment of Horse Guards.

George Gulliver was a friend and a correspondent of Frederick Hervey Foster Quin. They became acquainted through their joint friend Robert Liston.

George Gulliver was also a friend and correspondent of Charles Darwin.

George Gulliver was a surgeon in the army and also associated with the Royal College of Surgeons, was a specialist on the microscopic examination and measurement of blood cells. He had tabulated comparative measurements of red blood cells in Gulliver 1840 and Gulliver ed. 1846, pp. 237–43.

One of his most striking observations was that the size and shape of the red corpuscles were different in different animals and that these differences might serve as a distinguishing feature for taxonomists (see Gulliver ed. 1846, p. 218 n.).

Charles Darwin had previously noted in his Questions & experiments notebook, p. 4a (Notebooks): ‘Is form of globule of blood in allied species similar.— if not how is it in allied [interl] varieties’…

In Gulliver 1840, p. 44, Gulliver compared the blood corpuscles of the passenger pigeon with many different species of the Columbidae and concluded that they were quite peculiar. They approximated in ‘long diameter’ to those of the turtle dove, but differed in the ‘short diameter’…

Gulliver had tabulated comparative measurements of red blood cells of various species of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fish for his edition of the works of the physiologist William Hewson (Gulliver ed. 1846, pp. 237—44).

Charles Darwin was interested in obtaining measurements of corpuscles of pigeons and dogs (see Correspondence vol. 5, letter to George Gulliver, 18 December [1855]; see also Correspondence vol. 6, letter from George Gulliver, 20 January [1856]).