Bias in the Fossil Record Blog

Portraits of Ibn Sina, Nicolas Steno, and James Hutton. The background is a picture of layered rocks from the Grand Canyon

Ibn Sina and the History of Geology

Who invented geology? That question is harder to answer than you think. In this post, I write about James Hutton, Comte de Buffon, Nicolas Steno, and Rene Descartes, and suggest that even though Ibn Sina beat them to the punch, nobody really invented geology. Fundamental principles of geology have just been derived by different people in different times and places because of geology’s universal nature.

A photo of mountains and hills with trees in the foreground with a lithograph of Ibn Sina in the lower left corner

Ibn Sina: The “True” Father of Geology

Ibn Sina was a Persian scientist who in the 1000’s invented the geologic concepts of superposition and uniformitarianism. He also correctly deduced how fossils were formed and used them to reconstruct Earth’s history. He has a good claim to be the true “founding father” of geology.

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