The English geologist Henry De la Beche was, among other things, a talented cartoonist. Because he was friends with the Oxford geologist William Buckland, it was long believed that this cartoon was intended to be of Buckland. However, the historian of geology Martin Rudwick realized that De la Beche was actually making fun of Charles Lyell.
The cartoon was drawn in 1830, when Lyell was not yet the major figure that he became soon afterward. De la Beche apparently thought him something of a dilettante with crackpot ideas. (Worse, Lyell was also a lawyer.) He may have particularly had in mind Lyell's hint that the Earth and its life forms continue in cycles, so that, theoretically, ichthyosaurs and iguanodons might again appear on the face of the Earth.