and his associates may have made the first discovery of a fossil ape,
in the 1830's in the Neogene deposits in the Siwálik Hills. In the
Tertiary strata of the Siwálik Hills in 1831 Falconer discovered bones
of crocodiles, tortoises and other animals. With others, he later
brought to light a sub-tropical fossil fauna of unexampled extent and
richness, including remains of Mastodon, the colossal ruminant
Sivatherium, and the enormous extinct tortoise Colossochelys Atlas.
Falconer also published a geological description of the Siwálik Hills
in 1834. For these valuable discoveries he and Proby Cautley
(1802-1871) together received the Wollaston Medal from the Geological
Society of London, its highest award, in 1837.
In 1834 Falconer
was asked by a Commission of Bengal to investigate the feasibility of
growing tea commercially in India, where black tea was introduced on
his recommendation to be competitive with Chinese tea.
Falconer left India in 1842, because of ill health. He brought with him
70 large chests of dried plants and 48 cases of fossils, bones and
geological specimens. He then travelled throughout Europe making
geological observations and was elected Fellow of the Royal Society in
1845. Continuing in the service of the British East India Company as a
naturalist, he pursued research at the British Museum and East India
House and prepared casts of the most remarkable fossils for the leading
museums of Europe.
In 1847 Falconer became superintendent of the Calcutta Botanical
Garden, and professor of botany in the Medical College, Calcutta, near
his older brother, Alexander Falconer, a Calcutta merchant. Hugh
Falconer served as an advisor to the Indian government and the
Agricultural and Horticultural Society of Bengal, the de facto colonial
"Department of Agriculture". He prepared an important report on the
teak forests of Tenasserim, and this saved them from destruction by
reckless felling. Through his recommendation, the cultivation of the
cinchona bark was introduced into the Indian empire.
Having to leave India again in 1855 because of ill health, he spent the
remainder of his life examining and comparing fossil species in England
and the Continent corresponding to those which he had discovered in
India, notably the species of mastodon, elephant and rhinoceros. He
also described some new mammalia from the Purbeck strata of Wessex.
Turning to the subject of human origins, he reported on the bone caves
of Sicily, Gibraltar, Gower and Brixham.
from : "Hugh Falconer." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia.