LIFETIDE LYALL WATSON PDF

Share via Email Bringing science and philosophy to the wider public is a task often undertaken by idiosyncratic individuals, from the croakingly precise Professor CEM Joad of the BBC Radio Brains Trust of the s, to the gaunt arm-flailing television star of the s Magnus Pyke, and that valiant figure gamely battling with cruel disabilities, Stephen Hawking. Lyall Watson, who has died in Australia at the age of 69, managed to combine idiosyncracy with the persona of an elegant action man, dressing in immaculate white linen suits for daring explorations of the Amazon or when taking an active role as a demonstrator against whaling, just one passion in a versatile and telegenic life as an anthropologist, biologist, botanist, ethologist and zoologist. He wrote 25 books on a wide variety of topics, of which Supernature , Lifetide and Gifts of Unknown Things are among the best known. It took him two years to interest a publisher in Supernature, a questionable, modish exploration of such phenomena as ESP, psychokinesis and telepathy in nature. But it eventually became an enormous bestseller, without which no student bedsit was complete. He was born Malcolm Lyall-Watson he was later to forget his first name and the hyphen in Johannesburg, South Africa, the eldest of three brothers.

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Share via Email Bringing science and philosophy to the wider public is a task often undertaken by idiosyncratic individuals, from the croakingly precise Professor CEM Joad of the BBC Radio Brains Trust of the s, to the gaunt arm-flailing television star of the s Magnus Pyke, and that valiant figure gamely battling with cruel disabilities, Stephen Hawking. Lyall Watson, who has died in Australia at the age of 69, managed to combine idiosyncracy with the persona of an elegant action man, dressing in immaculate white linen suits for daring explorations of the Amazon or when taking an active role as a demonstrator against whaling, just one passion in a versatile and telegenic life as an anthropologist, biologist, botanist, ethologist and zoologist.

He wrote 25 books on a wide variety of topics, of which Supernature , Lifetide and Gifts of Unknown Things are among the best known. It took him two years to interest a publisher in Supernature, a questionable, modish exploration of such phenomena as ESP, psychokinesis and telepathy in nature.

But it eventually became an enormous bestseller, without which no student bedsit was complete. He was born Malcolm Lyall-Watson he was later to forget his first name and the hyphen in Johannesburg, South Africa, the eldest of three brothers.

His father was an architect and his mother, descended from Simon van der Stel, first Dutch governor of the Cape, was a radiologist. He took naturally to serious academic work at the University of Witwatersrand, which he entered when only At 19 he had completed degrees in botany and zoology.

Subsequently he gained further degrees involving chemistry, geology, marine biology and ecology, and finished his doctorate in ethology at the University of London working under Desmond Morris, author of The Naked Ape and another gifted populariser of science. He became director of Johannesburg Zoo at Whatever other activities he was engaged in, he tried to make it his rule to get up at six in the morning and write for three hours. Spending a lot of time watching animals laid the foundations for his literary career.

He had a flair for vivid phrases, and, in particular, a sharp eye for the paradoxes of life. The concept was based on a story in Lifetide that a number of macaque monkeys on the Japanese island of Koshima were washing sweet potatoes in the sea, uncopied by the others; when another monkey - the hundredth - also started washing sweet potatoes, all the rest took to doing just that.

He thought this could be because once the potato-washers assumed a "critical mass", the washers changed the behaviour of the whole group. Some colder spirits questioned as credulous some of his flights of fancy, such as the much-quoted example from Supernature which claimed that plants hear the cries of distress when a live shrimp is put into boiling water.

His appearances on television introducing Uri Geller, the supernatural spoonbender, to British audiences in , and celebrating Sumo wrestling on Channel 4, did not do him any favours with other scientists.

But even the most tenacious cynics had difficulty in denying the thrust of his last book, The Whole Hog : that pigs were a little-understood species who, in fact, had a lot in common with human beings. His niece Katherine Lyall-Watson recalled a quote that summed up his attitude to work and life: "I live and work alone and travel light, relying largely on my memory and making a point of letting intuition guide my way. His second wife, Alice Coogan, died in

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Lyall Watson

He had an early fascination for nature in the surrounding bush, learning from Zulu and! Kung bushmen. He enrolled at the University of the Witwatersrand in , where he earned degrees in botany and zoology, before securing an apprenticeship in palaeontology under Raymond Dart , leading on to anthropological studies in Germany and the Netherlands. Later he earned degrees in geology, chemistry, marine biology, ecology and anthropology. He completed a doctorate in ethology at the University of London , under Desmond Morris.

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