a1 Program in History of Science, Department of History, Princeton University, 129 Dickinson Hall, Princeton, NJ, 08544, USA. Email: email@example.com.
The modern concept of extinction emerged in the Victorian period, though its chief proponent is seldom remembered today. Alfred Newton, for four decades the professor of zoology and comparative anatomy at Cambridge, was an expert on rare and extinct birds as well as on what he called ‘the exterminating process'. Combining traditional comparative morphology with Darwinian natural selection, Newton developed a particular sense of extinction that helped to shape contemporary, and subsequent, animal protection. Because he understood extinction as a process to be studied scientifically, and because he made that, rather than animal cruelty, the focus of animal protection, Newton provides an important window onto the relationship between science and sentiment in this period. Newton's efforts to bring the two into line around the issue of human-caused extinction reveal an important moment in which the boundaries between science and sentiment, and between those who did and those who did not have the authority to speak for nature, were up for grabs.
I would like to thank Graham Burnett, Angela Creager, Michael Gordin and Daniel Rodgers for their criticism and encouragement. For earlier guidance, I gratefully acknowledge Andrew Berry, Sheila Jasanoff, Ana Vollmar, and especially Janet Browne. Dan Bouk, Jamie Kreiner, and Lukas Rieppel provided much-needed advice, as did three anonymous referees. Audiences at the Joint-Atlantic Seminar for the History of Biology, the British Association for Victorian Studies and the North American Victorian Studies Association Conference, the History of Science Society Annual Meeting, workshops at the University of Chicago and Princeton University, and Princeton's History of Science Program Seminar helped shape the argument. Archivists and librarians in the UK – especially Peter Meadows at Cambridge and the staff of the Hull University Archives – provided access and support. Research at various stages was funded by the Minda de Gunzberg Center for European Studies, the Harvard University Center for the Environment, the Harvard College Research Program, the Barbara Wu and Eric Larson Research Fund, a Radcliffe/Catherine Innes Ireland Fellowship, the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies, and the Princeton University History Department. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship under Grant No. DGE-0646086.