, Volume 17, Issue 2, pp 149-150
Date: 10 Dec 2009

What’s in a Name?

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Have you ever found yourself reading a scientific paper, encountering a name (e.g., Rousettus leschenaultii), and wondering just who that critter was named after? Wouldn’t it be neat to have a book on your desk that would quickly tell you that Jean Baptiste Louis Claude Theodore Leschenault de la Tour (1773–1826) was a French botanist who served as a naturalist to Kings Louis XVII and Charles X? With a copy of this volume at hand, you can find out more about Leschenault, Buffon, Greenhall, Maximilian, Patton, and more than 1,300 others for whom mammals are named. This book provides a brief look at the real people, from Abbott to Zyl, behind the scientific and vernacular mammal names found in field guides, textbooks, journal articles, and other scholarly works. It covers most of the currently recognized species, and a few subspecies and synonyms as well, that bear the names of people (eponyms).

Each biographical sketch lists the scientific and vernacular names of all species named after ...