Document Detail

Blandowski misses out: ichthyological etiquette in 19th-century Australia.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  14652039     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Wilhelm Blandowski, a Prussian émigré, arrived in Australia in 1849 with hopes of exploring and documenting the natural history of this still relatively scientifically nai;ve colony. After several years travelling, surveying and mining gold, he became the first government zoologist at the infant National Museum of Victoria and was a key player in the burgeoning scientific establishment. Chosen to lead a collecting expedition to the junction of the Murray and Darling Rivers in 1856, Blandowski and his faithful companion Gerard Krefft brought back a wealth of new material, including many species of undescribed freshwater fishes. Unfortunately, Blandowski's attempts to 'honour' members of the Philosophical Institute of Victoria backfired and a scandal ensued. A disillusioned Blandowski left Australia just ten years after his arrival. A reanalysis of his descriptions of the fish and comparison with a contemporary work suggests that Blandowski deserves recognition as one of pioneers in the natural history of Australian freshwater fish. The loss of taxonomic authority for eight fish species by this energetic, imaginative, but stubborn scientist, left the way open for future workers to make their mark, whereas Blandowski's name and achievements remain obscure.
Paul Humphries
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Biography; Historical Article; Journal Article; Portraits    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Endeavour     Volume:  27     ISSN:  0160-9327     ISO Abbreviation:  Endeavour     Publication Date:  2003 Dec 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2003-12-03     Completed Date:  2004-01-28     Revised Date:  2008-11-21    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0375037     Medline TA:  Endeavour     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  160-5     Citation Subset:  IM    
Cooperative Research Centre for Freshwater Ecology, Department of Biological Sciences, Monash University, PO Box 921, Albury, 2640 NSW, Australia.
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MeSH Terms
Ecology / history*
Fresh Water
History, 19th Century
Societies, Scientific / history*
Personal Name Subject
Personal Name Subject:
Wilhelm Blandowski

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