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Hincks, Thomas (1818-1899) (DNB01)

HINCKS, THOMAS (1818–1899), zoologist, born at Exeter on 15 July 1818, was the son of William Hincks (1794-1871), professor of natural history at University College, Toronto, and the grandson of Thomas Dix Hincks [q. v.] Edward Hincks [q. v.] and Sir Francis Hincks [q. v.] were his uncles. He was educated at Manchester New College, York, and graduated B.A. at London University in 1840. After holding various ministerial posts from 1839, he became minister of the Mill Hill Unitarian Chapel at Leeds in 1855, resigning this charge in 1869 on account of the failure of his voice. He afterwards lived at Taunton, and subsequently for many years at Clifton.

From an early age Hincks was a student of zoology. He attended the seventh meeting of the British Association at Liverpool in 1837. He at first devoted himself to the study of hydrozoa, and in 1868 published A History of the British Hydroid Zoophytes' (London, 2 vols. 8vo), which at once became a standard treatise. He then directed almost all his attention to the polyzoa. He paid special regard to the selection of characters by which to discriminate genera and families.

In 1880 he issued his 'History of the British Marine Polyzoa' (London, 2 vols. 8vo), the best general monograph on marine polyzoa in any language. Hincks's monographs were the ripe results of independent and accurate observation ranging over the whole area of the subject treated. Most of his papers appeared in the 'Annals and Magazine of Natural History ' between 1851 and 1893.

Hincks was the friend of George James Allman [q. v. Suppl.], whose work was so closely analogous to his own, of George Busk [q. v. Suppl.], and of Professor Fredrik Adam Smitt, who has published important works on the polyzoa in Swedish. He was elected a fellow of the Royal Society on 6 June 1872. He died at Clifton on 25 Jan. 1899. He married Elizabeth, daughter of John Allan of Warrington. His wife and two daughters survived him.

[Nature, 16 Feb. 1899; Yearbook of the Royal Society, 1900. pp. 193-4.]

E. I. C.