John Young was born in 1823 in the parish of Campsie where his interests were drawn to the large number of Carboniferous fossils of that area.
He became the Assistant Keeper of Geology at the Hunterian Museum in 1858 on a salary of £40 and free accommodation. He contributed vastly to our understanding of Carboniferous fossils in the West of Scotland. He received many awards, although it was thought at the time that he should have received these awards a lot sooner than he eventually did.
His contributions to the study of fossils in the western Midland Valley of Scotland cannot be overstated. Many species he described are still being studied today