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Stolen remains of Aboriginal people & Tasmanian tigers traced to grave-robbing Victorian Naturalist

Still Waters

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British-ruled Tasmania's "foremost" naturalist was an untrained lawyer who traded stolen Aboriginal remains alongside Tasmanian tiger skins for scientific prestige, a new study reveals.

Morton Allport — an English-born 19th-century naturalist who lived in Tasmania's capital of Hobart — earned his scientific accolades by grave robbing human body parts and shipping them to European universities along with the remains of Tasmanian tigers, now-extinct marsupials also known as thylacines (Thylacinus cynocephalus). 
Allport's activities, which include the mutilation of an Aboriginal man's corpse to gather evidence for pseudoscientific theories of white superiority, coincided with genocide against the island's Aboriginal peoples and the extermination of the Tasmanian tigers, which went extinct in 1936. The research, based on Allport’s archived letters unearthed at the State Library of Tasmania, was published Wednesday (Nov. 29) in the journal Archives of Natural History.


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