Rev Prof John Fleming DD FRSE FRS FSA (10 January 1785 – 18 November 1857) was a Scottish Free Church minister, naturalist, zoologist and geologist. He named and described a number of species of molluscs. During his life he tried to reconcile theology with science.
After studying Divinity at the University of Edinburgh he graduated in 1805. He was licensed to preach by the Church of Scotland and ordained as minister of Bressay in the Shetland Islands in 1808. In 1810 he translated to the parish of Flisk in Fife and in 1832 translated to Clackmannan.
John Fleming became a Member of the Royal Society of London on 25 February 1813 (he was not granted Fellowship). In 1814, he was awarded an honorary doctorate (Doctor of Divinity) by the University of St. Andrews and in the same year he became a fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. His proposers for the latter were John Playfair, David Brewster and Robert Jameson.
Fleming was a close associate of Robert Edmond Grant, who considered that the same laws of life affected all organisms. In 1828, Fleming published his History of British Animals. This book addressed not only extant, but also fossil species. It explained the presence of fossils by climate change, suggesting that extinct species would have survived if weather conditions had been favorable. These theories contributed to the advancement of biogeography, and exerted some influence on Charles Darwin (1809–1882). Flemings' comments on instinct in his book Philosophy of Zoology had influenced Darwin.
Fleming was a vitalist who was strongly opposed to materialism. He believed that a 'vital principle' was inherent in the embryo with the capacity of "developing in succession the destined plan of existence."
In 1831, Fleming found some fossils which he recognized as fish in the Old Red Sandstone units at Fife. This did not fit the generally accepted notion that the Earth was approximately 6,000 years old.
He was awarded the chair of natural philosophy (Physics) at the University of Aberdeen's King's College in 1834. In the Disruption of 1843 he left the established Church of Scotland to join the Free Church. In 1845, he became professor of natural history at the Free Church's New College in Edinburgh. He was three times elected President of the Edinburgh Botanical Society (1847–48, 1849–50 and 1856–57). He was then living at 22 Walker Street in Edinburgh's West End.
He died at home, Seagrove House in Leith and is buried with his family in the western half of Dean Cemetery in Edinburgh. He is buried with his wife, Melville Christie (1796–1862) and son Dr Andrew Fleming (1821–1901) (also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh) who rose to be Depute Surgeon General of the Indian Army.
Species in the phylum Mollusca described by Fleming:
The Dean Cemetery is a historically important Victorian cemetery north of the Dean Village, west of Edinburgh city centre, in Scotland. It lies between Queensferry Road and the Water of Leith, bounded on its east side by Dean Path and on its west by the Dean Gallery. A 20th-century extension lies detached from the main cemetery to the north of Ravelston Terrace. The main cemetery is accessible through the main gate on its east side, through a "grace and favour" access door from the grounds of Dean Gallery and from Ravelston Terrace. The modern extension is only accessible at the junction of Dean Path and Queensferry Road.Donacidae
The Donacidae, the "bean clams" or "wedge shells", are a family of bivalve molluscs of the superfamily Tellinoidea. The family is related to the Tellina.
The Donacidae are prolific filter feeders and are an important part of coastal food chains where they occur. The family is sensitive to coastal industry such as dam-building and dredging.Fissurellidae
Fissurellidae, common name the keyhole limpets and slit limpets, is a taxonomic family of limpet-like sea snails, marine gastropod molluscs in the clade Vetigastropoda.
Their common name derives from the small hole in the apex of their cone-like shells. Although superficially resembling "true" limpets, they are in fact not closely related to them.Lucinidae
Lucinidae is a family of saltwater clams, marine bivalve molluscs.
These bivalves are remarkable for their endosymbiosis with sulphide-oxidizing bacteria.Marginellidae
Marginellidae, or the margin shells, are a taxonomic family of small, often colorful, sea snails, marine gastropod molluscs in the clade Neogastropoda.Marginellinae
Marginellinae is a taxonomic subfamily within the larger family of Marginellidae, a group of small sea snails, marine gastropod molluscs in the superfamily Muricoidea.Psammobiidae
The Psammobiidae, or sunset clams, are a family of medium-sized saltwater clams, marine bivalve molluscs of the order Cardiida.
These genera are accepted by the database World Register of Marine Species:
Asaphis Modeer, 1793
Gari Schumacher, 1817
Heterodonax Mörch, 1853
Heteroglypta Martens in Möbius, 1880
Nuttallia Dall, 1900
Psammosphaerica Jousseaume, 1894
Psammotella Herrmannsen, 1852
Sanguinolaria Lamarck, 1799
Soletellina de Blainville, 1824