The Eponym Dictionary of Mammals

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JHU Press, Oct 7, 2009 - Science - 592 pages
2 Reviews

Just who was the Przewalski after whom Przewalski's horse was named? Or Husson, the eponym for the rat Hydromys hussoni? Or the Geoffroy whose name is forever linked to Geoffroy's cat? This unique reference provides a brief look at the real lives behind the scientific and vernacular mammal names one encounters in field guides, textbooks, journal articles, and other scholarly works.

Arranged to mirror standard dictionaries, the more than 1,300 entries included here explain the origins of over 2,000 mammal species names. Each bio-sketch lists the scientific and common-language names of all species named after the person, outlines the individual's major contributions to mammalogy and other branches of zoology, and includes brief information about his or her mammalian namesake's distribution. The two appendixes list scientific and common names for ease of reference, and, where appropriate, individual entries include mammals commonly—but mistakenly—believed to be named after people.

The Eponym Dictionary of Mammals is a highly readable and informative guide to the people whose names are immortalized in mammal nomenclature.

 

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I fully endorse the earlier reviewer's comments which were "this is a mixture of useful and interesting information, liberally sprinkled with new errors and old chestnuts. It certainly fills an important gap, but needs to be sampled with caution. Dowsett-Lemaire, Aug 2011."
In the section on George Cansdale it states "he was extremely unpopular with his staff" when he was in charge of the London Zoological Gardens (London Zoo.) There is an element of truth in this statement because when he arrived at the Zoo in 1948 he discovered theft and corruption on a grand scale. This included the theft (by some keepers) of food intended for the animals, the breeding of cockroaches on a commercial scale by staff in the Reptile House (to sell to schools and university for dissection). The best money making scam was on the turnstiles at gates which enabled those involved with the practice to steal significant sums of money.
His popularity as a television presenter "The Zoo Man" and his Christian faith irritated senior members of the Zoo who abolished his post in 1953. The staff whose activities he had exposed were delighted but his dismissal caused a scandal and public outrage.
The book also omitted Mrs.Cansdale's Bat which was also named after him.
A most interesting read, but not everything you read in print is necessarily the whole truth.
 

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

As with the companion volume concerning birds (Beolens & Watkins, 2003) this is a mixture of useful and interesting information, liberally sprinkled with new errors and old chestnuts. It certainly fills an important gap, but needs to be sampled with caution. Dowsett-Lemaire, Aug 2011.

Contents

Vernacular Names
461
Scientific Names
515

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Common terms and phrases

About the author (2009)

Bo Beolens and Michael Watkins are the coauthors of the eponym dictionary Whose Bird? Michael Grayson worked for many years at the British Library in London and is a Fellow of the Zoological Society of London.

Bibliographic information