Archives of natural history, Volume 41, No 2 (2014)
Archives of natural history, Volume 41, No. 2 (October 2014) is available online at Edinburgh University Press.
H. J. NOLTIE: Doryanthes excelsa and Rafflesia arnoldii: two “swagger prints” by Edward Smith Weddell (1796–1858), and the work of the Weddell family of engravers (1814–1852).
P. G. MOORE: Natural history in newspapers: Dugald Semple (1884–1964), Ayrshire naturalist and nature journalist.
F. E. VEGA, K. FISHER & T. WILLIS: Dorothea Eliza Smith, artist of “The Fruits of the Lima market”.
C. E. JARVIS & J. H. COOPER: Maidstone’s woodpecker – an unexpected bird specimen in the herbarium of Sir Hans Sloane.
D. R. CALDER: Axel Elof Jäderholm (1868–1927) of Sweden: educator, hydrozoan zoologist and cryptogamic botanist.
J. W. WILEY, S. FRAHNERT, R. AGUILERA ROMÁN & P. ECKHOFF: Juan Cristóbal Gundlach’s contributions to the knowledge of Puerto Rican birds and his influence on the development of natural history in Puerto Rico.
M. MASSETI & S. VAN DER MIJE: Squirrels from the Mariana Islands (south-western Pacific) in the “Naturalis” Biodiversity Center of Leiden, with notes on the mammalian fauna of this Micronesian archipelago.
M. LAWLER & S. A. RUBIN: “A Dissertation on Swallows” with comments on their migration by the eighteenth-century Maryland naturalist, Henry Callister.
A. M. LUCAS: The difficult provenance of Ferdinand von Mueller’s zoological specimens.
M. A. TAYLOR & H. S. TORRENS: An anonymous account of Mary Anning (1799–1847), fossil collector of Lyme Regis, England, published in Chambers’s journal in 1857, and its attribution to Frank Buckland (1826–1880), George Roberts (c.1804–1860) and William Buckland (1784–1856).
P. D. BRINKMAN & S. F. VIZCAINO: Clemente Onelli’s sketch map and his first-hand, retrospective account of an early fossil-hunting expedition along the Río Santa Cruz, southern Patagonia, 1888–1889.
G. N. H. WALLER: A review of nineteenth-century records of Sowerby’s beaked whale (Mesoplodon bidens).
B. WILLIAMS: The birth, death and resurrection of the “geneticologists”.
E. C. NELSON: Archibald Menzies’s visit to Isla del Coco, January 1795: addendum, Callicosta rugifolia (Müll. Hal.) Crosby.
A. ÖRSTAN: Two early nineteenth century uses of the term “evolution” to denote biological speciation.
L. K. OVERSTREET: The dates of the parts of Mark Catesby’s The natural history of Carolina … (London, 1731–1743 [1729–1747]).
H. J. NOLTIE: Doryanthes excelsa and Rafflesia arnoldii: two “swagger prints” by Edward Smith Weddell (1796–1858), and the work of the Weddell family of engravers (1814–1852)
Biographical details of a significant family firm of early nineteenth-century botanical engravers are presented for the first time; in particular for Henry Hopkins Weddell (1794–1838), his brother Edward Smith Weddell (1796–1858) and their step-father John Warner (?1753–?1819). Two large presentation engravings (“swagger prints”), both privately published in 1826, are discussed – Doryanthes excelsa made for Walter Frederick Campbell of Islay and Rafflesia arnoldii commissioned by Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles. Also discussed are botanical aspects of the two plants and the history of their representation; brief biographical details of Raffles and Campbell are also provided. A catalogue of the firm’s prints is appended.
P. G. MOORE: Natural history in newspapers: Dugald Semple (1884–1964), Ayrshire naturalist and nature journalist
Dugald Semple (1884–1964), living in Ayrshire, Scotland, was a prolific twentieth-century author of books and articles in local newspapers on natural history, as well as on diet and simple living. Forsaking a conventional urban life he chose to live close to nature in rural surroundings. Espousing vegetarianism he emulated Thoreau, following for fifty years a Ghandi-like philosophy of simplicity while earning enough from his writings and lecturing to provide for what he could not grow himself. It was his life outdoors and his enthusiasm for the natural world that he imparted not only in the printed word, but also in lectures to all who were prepared to listen. He illustrated many of his articles with his own photographs, a collection of which survive as deteriorating glass-quarter-plate negatives and lantern slides, along with three decrepit, but extensive, scrapbooks of his personal press cuttings. These form the basis for his contribution to the popularization of natural history, which deserves to be more widely recognised.
F. E. VEGA, K. FISHER & T. WILLIS: Dorothea Eliza Smith, artist of “The Fruits of the Lima market”
An unpublished collection of watercolours entitled “The Fruits of the Lima market. BY MRS. E. Smith, between the years 1850 & “53” can be credited to Dorothea Eliza Smith (1804–1864), wife of the Scottish physician Archibald Smith (1797–1868) who published Peru as it is. The watercolours were once in the Crewe Hall library and were purchased by Paul and Rachel Mellon in 1957. They are now in the Oak Spring Garden Library in Virginia, USA. The identification of the artist has also revealed fascinating aspects in the life of the Smith family, including a tragedy at sea off the coast of Peru and a personal art collection that included works by van Dyck, Murillo, Jordaens, Andrea del Sarto, and Zurbara´n, among others.
C. E. JARVIS & JOANNE H. COOPER: Maidstone’s woodpecker – an unexpected bird specimen in the herbarium of Sir Hans Sloane
It had long been believed that none of the bird, egg or nest specimens that had been in the collection of Sir Hans Sloane at his death in 1753 had survived. However, a specimen of a rhinoceros hornbill, originally in Sloane’s hands, was discovered in the Natural History Museum’s collections in London in 2003, and three more Sloane hornbill specimens have subsequently come to light. In addition, we report here a most unexpected discovery, that of the head of a woodpecker among the pages of one of Sloane’s bound volumes of pressed plants. The context suggests that the head, like its associated plant specimens, was probably collected in south-east Asia about 1698–1699 by Nathanael Maidstone, an East India Company trader, the material reaching Sloane via William Courten after the latter’s death in 1702. A detailed description of the head is provided, along with observations on its identity and possible provenance.
D. R. CALDER: Axel Elof Jäderholm (1868–1927) of Sweden: educator, hydrozoan zoologist and botanist
Axel Elof Jäderholm was born in Soderhamn, Sweden, on 24 July 1868. In 1888 he entered Uppsala Universitet, earning undergraduate (1892) and doctorate (1898) degrees. His doctoral dissertation was based on an anatomical study of South American Peperomia (Piperaceae). While a graduate student he commenced research on hydroids in collections at the university’s natural history museum. A science teacher by profession, he served schools in Uppsala (1900–1901), Norrko¨ping (1901– 1905; 1913–1927), O¨ rebro (1905) and Va¨stervik (1905–1913). In addition to teaching, he undertook research in botany (especially mosses) and zoology (hydroids). A focus of work between 1903 and 1905 involved examination of hydroid collections at the Naturhistoriska Riksmuseet (Stockholm) and the Imperial St Petersburg Academy of Sciences (Russia). Ja¨derholm’s field work dealt largely with bryophytes, although his scientific publications (21 of 28) were mostly on taxonomy of hydroids. His hydroid work was mainly on species from northern Europe, the Antarctic and sub-Antarctic, southern regions of South America, and the western Pacific (especially Japan). He established two new genera and 69 new species of hydroids, a majority of the latter still being recognized as valid. Ja¨derholm was created a knight of the Order of the Polar Star (Riddare av Nordstja¨rneorden) in Sweden for accomplishments in science and education. After suffering a series of acute illnesses over the last two years of his life, he died in Norrko¨ping on 5 March 1927 and was buried in Uppsala. Five species of hydroids have been named in his honour.
J. W. WILEY, S. FRAHNERT, R. AGUILERA ROMA & P. ECKHOFF: Juan Cristóbal Gundlach’s contributions to the knowledge of Puerto Rican birds and his influence on the development of natural history in Puerto Rico
The German naturalist, Juan Cristóbal Gundlach (1810–1896), resided in Cuba for the last 57 years of his life, except for two expeditions to Puerto Rico in 1873 and 1875–1876, when he explored the southwestern, western, and northeastern regions. Gundlach made representative collections of the island’s fauna, which formed the nucleus of the first natural history museum in Puerto Rico. He substantially increased the number of species known from the island, and was the first naturalist to make meticulous observations and produce detailed reports of the island’s natural history. Gundlach greatly influenced other naturalists in the island, so that a period of concerted advancement in knowledge of natural history occurred in the 1870s. That development coincided with the establishment of the first higher education institutions in the island, including the first natural history museum. The natural history museums eventually closed, and only a few of their specimens were passed to other institutions, including foreign museums. None of Gundlach’s and few of his contemporaries’ specimens have survived in Puerto Rico.
M. MASSETI & S. VAN DER MIJEB: Squirrels from the Mariana Islands (south-western Pacific) in the Naturalis Biodiversity Center, Leiden, with notes on the mammalian fauna of this Micronesian archipelago
Two mounted skins of squirrels allegedly originating from the Mariana islands, Micronesia (south western Pacific Ocean) are held in the collections of the Naturalis Biodiversity Center, Leiden. They may have been collected in the course of a French scientific expedition, commanded by Louis- Claude De Saulses de Freycinet, in 1819. This paper discusses the identifies of the two specimens, their place in the list of mammals recorded from the Mariana Islands, and reflects on the origins of the Mariana Islands’ mammalian fauna.
E. M. LAWLER and S. A. RUBIN: “A Dissertation on Swallows” with comments on their migration by the eighteenth-century Maryland naturalist, Henry Callister
In 1761, Maryland merchant and amateur naturalist, Henry Callister wrote “A Dissertation on Swallows” in response to five questions posed by a Dr Chandler. His accounts of eight Maryland species include accurate descriptions of behaviour as well as external anatomy. His brief description of the tree swallow (Tachycineta bicolor) may be one of the earliest accounts of this species. On the disappearance of swallows in winter, a topic of debate in the eighteenth century, Callister cited a number of reasons why he concluded that migration rather than hibernation was the explanation for this phenomenon. He noted differences in the habits of similar species in America and Europe and commented on the use of chimneys for nesting by chimney swifts (Chaetura pelagica), and the fact that some birds incorporated human-made fibres in their nests. These observations led him to conclude that,similar to humans, non-human species are capable of adapting to their environment, an idea remarkably advanced for his time. There is no evidence that Callister’s dissertation reached its intended destination which may have been Reverend Dr Samuel Chandler, a Fellow of the Royal Society of London at that time. But this document demonstrates that Henry Callister was an enthusiastic and perceptive observer of nature and that he had the ability to use his observations to develop general concepts and a deeper understanding of the world around him.
A. M. LUCAS: The difficult provenance of Ferdinand von Mueller’s zoological specimens
The botanist Ferdinand von Mueller (1825–1896) collected few of the very large number of zoological specimens distributed in his name, although museums often record him as the collector. Analysis of his correspondence allows some of the field collectors, and agents who acted between them and Mueller, to be identified, and the provenance of some specimens understood. Not all provenances can be traced, but the analysis of available correspondence cautions against accepting at face value the documentation of surviving specimens.
M. A. TAYLOR and H. S. TORRENS: An anonymous account of Mary Anning (1799–1847),fossil collector of Lyme Regis, England, published in Chambers’s journal in 1857, and its attribution to Frank Buckland (1826–1880), George Roberts (c.1804–1860) and William Buckland (1784–1856)
The authors of an anonymous article on Mary Anning (1799–1847), published in Chambers’s journal in 1857, are identified to allow the article to be fully evaluated for the first time. Payment was made to the natural-history writer Frank Buckland (1826–1880). However, he incorporated much material from the books of his friend George Roberts (c. 1804–1860), Lyme Regis historian and schoolmaster, and from, most probably, a manuscript memoir by his father, the geologist William Buckland (1784–1856), recalling the day of the 1800 lightning strike on a group including Anning. This throws new light on their networking, William Buckland’s dementia, and George Roberts’s activities, including his original observation of the resting-site fidelity of limpets (Patella) and his final years.
P. D. BRINKMAN & S. F. VIZCAINO: Clemente Onelli’s sketch map and his first-hand, retrospective account of an early fossil-huntingexpedition along the Río Santa Cruz, southern Patagonia, 1888–1889
A 1922 letter from Clemente Onelli to North American paleontologist Elmer S. Riggs, found at Chicago’s Field Museum, is one of only a few known first-hand accounts of the former’s participation on a fossil hunting expedition along the Río Santa Cruz, southern Patagonia, 1888–1889. Onelli and his companions, who were sent to Patagonia by Francisco P. Moreno, director of the Museo de La Plata, were among the first to collect fossil mammals at this important locality. Moreno had first discovered fossil mammals there in 1876–1877. He then sent Carlos Ameghino, who worked as an assistant preparator of palaeontology at the museum, to revisit his discoveries in January 1887. Ameghino later lost his position at the museum over a dispute between his brother, paleontologist Florentino Ameghino, and the director, in March 1889. Onelli, who had only been associated with the Museo de La Plata for a few short months, was asked by Moreno to accompany a new expedition outfitted in 1888–1889. In December 1922, Riggs travelled to South America to make a representative collection of the fossil mammals of Argentina and Bolivia. Learning of his arrival in Buenos Aires, Onelli wrote him a letter, in Spanish, providing detailed information about fossil localities along the Río Santa Cruz. This letter, translated here, along with the accompanying sketch map, provides previously unknown details about Onelli’s itinerary and his observations.
G. N. H. WALLER: A review of nineteenth-century records of Sowerby’s beaked whale (Mesoplodon bidens)
Data on 27 mesoplodont whales are compiled from the original nineteenth century published records from Britain, Ireland, Europe and the United States. These data comprise the type specimen of Sowerby’s beaked whale (Mesoplodon bidens) and 26 other records, all referred to the taxon M. bidens. Records may include the following information: specimen total length, sex, date of discovery and the locality, pigmentation pattern, external morphology, osteology and soft-tissue anatomy. This information is summarized here from the original descriptions. Only a handful of these specimens was externally complete when described at first hand.