Naturalists

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Naturalists are the individuals who are expert in natural history. They are primarily zoologists or botanists who help the people in gaining an appreciation for the natural world. They act as the link between environment and the uninformed public whom they educate about the natural world and its processes. Naturalists teach the people how human activity affects the environment, natural resources and the living beings that inhabit the earth, and also demonstrate how interested parties can protect the environment. Charles Darwin the 19th century naturalist made significant contributions to the evolutionary theory. The famous painter John James Audubon was also a naturalist who published the ‘Birds of America’. American ornithologist Florence Merriam was a pioneer in her field who campaigned against the mistreatment and unnecessary killing of birds. The prolific writer Rachel Carson was one of the first people who made people understand the evils of pollution and played a key role in the establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency in the U.S. One very famous naturalist of our time is Jane Goodall who is not just the world's foremost expert on chimpanzees but also the UN Messenger of Peace. This section provides you information about the life and works of various famous naturalists from all over the world.

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 1 
Charles Darwin
(Naturalist known for His Contributions to Evolutionary Biology)
Charles Darwin
4
Birthdate: February 12, 1809
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: The Mount House, Shrewsbury, England
Died: April 19, 1882

Widely regarded as one of the most influential personalities in the history of mankind, Charles Darwin was an English biologist, naturalist, and geologist. He is credited with publishing the Theory of Evolution, which explains the evolution of life from a unicellular organism to human beings. A prolific writer, Charles Darwin also wrote important books on plants and barnacles.

 2 
Henry David Thoreau
(Naturalist, Philosopher & Author Of 'Walden')
Henry David Thoreau
8
Birthdate: July 12, 1817
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Concord, Massachusetts, United States
Died: May 6, 1862

Henry David Thoreau was an American philosopher, essayist, poet, and naturalist. He is credited with popularizing transcendentalism and simple living. His philosophy of civil disobedience, which was detailed in his essay of the same name, later influenced world-renowned personalities like Leo Tolstoy, Martin Luther King Jr., and Mahatma Gandhi.

 3 
Terri Irwin
(Naturalist Who is The Owner of Australia Zoo in 'Beerwah, Queensland')
Terri Irwin
6
Birthdate: July 20, 1964
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Eugene, Oregon, United States

American–Australian naturalist Terri Irwin is best known as the co-host of The Crocodile Hunter, along with her husband, the late animal expert Steve Irwin. She has also been part of shows such as Croc Files and Crikey! It's the Irwins, and helped in the development of Australia Zoo.

 4 
Pliny the Elder
(Roman Author, Natural Philosopher and Army Commander)
Pliny the Elder
4
Birthdate: 0023 AD
Birthplace: Como, Italy
Died: 0079 AD

Pliny the Elder was a Roman natural philosopher, author, and army and naval commander of the Roman Empire. His work Naturalis Historia became an editorial model for the present-day encyclopedias. Today, his statue greets the visitors of Cathedral of S. Maria Maggiore in his hometown, Como.

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 5 
Richard Proenneke
(Naturalist)
Richard Proenneke
6
Birthdate: May 4, 1916
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Lee County, Iowa
Died: April 20, 2003
 6 
Bob Irwin
(Naturalist, Animal Conservationist and Founder of 'Australia Zoo')
Bob Irwin
4
Birthdate: June 8, 1939
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Melbourne, Australia

Bob Irwin, better known to the world as the father of legendary Australian conservationist Steve Irwin, is a conservationist in his own right. Initially a plumber, he later built the Beerwah Reptile Park, which later became Australia Zoo. Following Steve’s death, he cut all ties with the zoo.

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 7 
Jim Corbett
(Hunter, Naturalist)
Jim Corbett
4
Birthdate: July 25, 1875
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Nainital, Uttarakhand, India
Died: April 19, 1955
 8 
Jean-Baptiste Lamarck
(Naturalist and Biologist Best Known for Proposing that Acquired Characteristics can be Inherited.)
Jean-Baptiste Lamarck
4
Birthdate: August 1, 1744
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Bazentin, France
Died: December 18, 1829

French biologist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck acquired his love for plants while serving as a soldier in the French army. Following an injury, he quit his military career but retained his love for botany. He later taught zoology, studied the classification of invertebrates, and also coined the term biology.

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 9 
Ernst Haeckel
(Zoologist & Evolutionist Who Was a Strong Proponent of 'Darwinism')
Ernst Haeckel
4
Birthdate: February 16, 1834
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Potsdam, Germany
Died: August 9, 1919

Ernst Haeckel had initially practiced medicine before he gained an interest in Charles Darwin’s theory and began exploring zoology and related fields. He not only coined terms such as ecology, but also named numerous species and created a genealogical tree. He drew numerous figures of animals and sea creatures, too.

 10 
Alexander von Humboldt
11
Birthdate: September 14, 1769
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Berlin
Died: May 6, 1859

As a child, Alexander von Humboldt was sickly and a bad student. After failing to shine in economics and engineering, he grew up to revolutionize the domain of geography. He is remembered for his research on magnetic storms and his treatise on nature, Kosmos. He also spoke about climate change.

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 11 
Joseph Banks
(British Explorer, Naturalist and Botanist)
Joseph Banks
4
Birthdate: February 24, 1743
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: London, England
Died: June 19, 1820

British naturalist Joseph Banks is remembered for accompanying Captain James Cook on his voyage across places such as Brazil and Tahiti. He had also been the president of the Royal Society for over 40 years. Both his herbarium and library now find a place at the British Museum.

 12 
Joy Adamson
(Naturalist and Author of the Book 'Born Free', Which Documents Her Experience In Raising a Lion Club)
Joy Adamson
6
Birthdate: January 20, 1910
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Opava, Czechia
Died: January 3, 1980

Best known for her iconic book Born Free, which describes her experiences of raising a lion cub named Elsa, Joy Adamson was a noted Austro-Hungarian wildlife conservationist. She excelled in music and medicine in her younger days and later settled in Kenya with her third husband, conservationist George Adamson.

 13 
Georges Cuvier
(French Naturalist and Zoologist Known for Establishing the Field of 'Comparative Anatomy' and 'Paleontology')
Georges Cuvier
4
Birthdate: August 23, 1769
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Doubs, France
Died: May 13, 1832

Georges Cuvier was a French zoologist and naturalist. A major figure in the early 19th century's research of natural sciences, Cuvier played an important role in establishing the fields of comparative paleontology and anatomy by comparing fossils with living animals, for which he is sometimes regarded as the founding father of paleontology.

 14 
Steve Backshall
(British Naturalist, Explorer and Presenter Known for His Wildlife Documentary Program ‘Deadly 60’)
Steve Backshall
19
Birthdate: April 21, 1973
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Bagshot, Surrey, England, United Kingdom

Two-time BAFTA-winning naturalist and explorer Steve Backshall soared to fame with the BBC program Deadly 60. He has also worked with the Discovery Channel and the National Geographic Channel. He has written The Falcon Chronicles, a series of children’s novels, among other books, and loves mountaineering and martial arts.

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 15 
Maria Sibylla Merian
(German-Born Dutch Naturalist and Scientific Illustrator Known for Her Contribution to 'Entomology')
Maria Sibylla Merian
4
Birthdate: April 2, 1647
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Free City of Frankfurt, German
Died: January 13, 1717

German-born Dutch naturalist and artist Maria Sibylla Merian is remembered for her drawings of insects and plants. She also contributed to the development of entomology through her detailed work on insects and her documentation of a butterfly’s metamorphosis. Metamorphosis Insectorum Surinamensium is her best-known work.

 16 
Johann Friedrich Blumenbach
(German Physician & Naturalist Considered to be a Main Founder of 'Zoology' and 'Anthropology' as Comparative, Scientific Disciplines)
Johann Friedrich Blumenbach
4
Birthdate: May 11, 1752
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Gotha, Germany
Died: January 22, 1840

A pioneer of physical anthropology, Johann Friedrich Blumenbach laid down one of the first racial classification systems for humans after studying human skulls, dividing mankind into five racial groups. Born into a family of academics, he was a prodigy. He was against scientific racism, though his theory promoted the degenerative hypothesis.

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 17 
Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon
(French Mathematician, Cosmologist Encyclopédiste and One of the First Naturalists to Recognize Ecological Succession)
Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon
4
Birthdate: September 7, 1707
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Montbard, France
Died: April 16, 1788

Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon was a French mathematician, encyclopédiste, cosmologist, and naturalist. He is best known for authoring and publishing Histoire Naturelle, an encyclopaedic collection of 36 volumes, which he worked on for 50 years. His work had a strong influence on two subsequent generations of naturalists, including popular French scientists like Georges Cuvier and Jean-Baptiste Lamarck.

 18 
Hans Sloane
(Physician, Naturalist and 13th President of the Royal Society (1727 - 1741))
Hans Sloane
4
Birthdate: April 16, 1660
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Killyleagh, Ireland
Died: January 11, 1753

British doctor Hans Sloane traveled to Jamaica as a personal physician of the 2nd duke of Albermarle and was soon engrossed in the natural species of the region. He documented his collections, and they eventually helped form the British Museum. He is also known as the inventor of drinking chocolate.

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 19 
Gavin Maxwell
(Naturalist, Author)
Gavin Maxwell
4
Birthdate: July 15, 1914
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: House of Elrig, Wigtownshire, Scotland
Died: September 7, 1969
 20 
Roy Chapman Andrews
(American Explorer, Adventurer and Naturalist Known for His Discovery of First-Known Fossil Dinosaur Eggs)
Roy Chapman Andrews
3
Birthdate: January 26, 1884
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Beloit, Wisconsin, United States
Died: March 11, 1960

Roy Chapman Andrews was an American adventurer, explorer, and naturalist. He is best remembered for his association with the American Museum of Natural History where he also served as the director. Andrews is credited with bringing to the museum the first-known fossil dinosaur eggs. His life and career are said to have inspired George Lucas' famous character, Indiana Jones.

 21 
Gene Stratton-Porter
3
Birthdate: August 17, 1863
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Lagro, Indiana, U.S
Died: December 6, 1924
 22 
Gilbert White
(Naturalist)
Gilbert White
3
Birthdate: July 18, 1720
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Selborne, Hampshire, England
Died: June 26, 1793
 23 
Takashi Amano
(Photographer, Naturalist, Keirin cyclist)
Takashi Amano
4
Birthdate: July 18, 1954
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Niigata
Died: August 4, 2015
 24 
Conrad Gessner
(Swiss Physician, Naturalist and Philologist Known for His Systematic Compilations of Information on Animals and Plants)
Conrad Gessner
3
Birthdate: March 26, 1516
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Zürich, Switzerland
Died: December 13, 1565

Born to a poor fur dealer, Conrad Gessner was sent to study under an uncle who dealt in medicinal herbs. He then studied theology but later grew up to become a Renaissance polymath, excelling in subjects such as natural history and medicine. His Bibliotheca universalis remains a major work in bibliography.

 25 
John Burroughs
(Naturalist)
John Burroughs
4
Birthdate: April 3, 1837
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Roxbury, New York, United States
Died: March 29, 1921
 26 
William Beebe
(US Explorer and Ornithologist Who Co-Discovered the Bathysphere)
William Beebe
3
Birthdate: July 29, 1877
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States
Died: June 4, 1962

American marine biologist, ornithologist, and entomologist William Beebe is remembered for his exploratory expeditions conducted for the New York Zoological Society. He also co-discovered the Bathysphere, penned many books, was a renowned lecturer, worked with the New York Zoological Gardens, and led tropical research at the New York Zoological Society.

 27 
Mary Ward
(Naturalist)
Mary Ward
3
Birthdate: April 27, 1827
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Ballylin, County Offaly, Ireland
Died: 1869 AD

English nun Mary Ward was one of the first to show how influential women could be in the Church. Her work led to the development of the Congregation of Jesus and Blessed Virgin Mary, or the Loreto Sisters. She traveled on foot all across Europe, establishing schools and was often criticized by traditionalists.

 28 
John Dominic Crossan
(Irish-American New Testament Scholar, Historian of Early Christianity and Former Catholic Priest)
John Dominic Crossan
3
Birthdate: February 17, 1934
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Nenagh, County Tipperary, Ireland

Irish-American theologian John Dominic Crossan, who has previously been a Roman Catholic priest, was also associated with the Jesus Seminar. It is believed, he had quit Catholic priesthood to marry Margaret, his professor wife, and had then focused on teaching and writing. His written works include Who Killed Jesus?

 29 
Emin Pasha
(Physician)
Emin Pasha
3
Birthdate: March 28, 1840
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Opole, Poland
Died: October 23, 1892

Eduard Schnitzer, or Emin Pasha, was born into a German Jewish family in modern-day Poland. A qualified physician, he moved to Constantinople after being disqualified in Germany. He not only served the Ottoman rulers but also surveyed and explored Africa extensively. He was eventually killed by Arab slave raiders.

 30 
John Lubbock, 1st Baron Avebury
(Anthropologist, Politician, Archaeologist, Prehistorian, Banker, Statistician, Naturalist, Zoologist, Entomologist)
John Lubbock, 1st Baron Avebury
3
Birthdate: April 30, 1834
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: London
Died: May 28, 1913

British banker John Lubbock, 1st Baron Avebury, better known as Sir John Lubbock, had also been an MP. However, he is best known for his contribution to ethnography and archaeology. He is also credited with coining the terms Paleolithic and Neolithic, and is known for his books on animal behavior.

 31 
Thornton W. Burgess
(American children’s author and naturalist)
Thornton W. Burgess
3
Birthdate: January 14, 1874
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Sandwich, Massachusetts, United States
Died: June 5, 1965
 32 
Sir Samuel White Baker
(English Explorer)
Sir Samuel White Baker
3
Birthdate: July 8, 1821
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: London, England
Died: December 30, 1893
 33 
Peter Simon Pallas
(German Naturalist Who Explored the Geology of Russia)
Peter Simon Pallas
3
Birthdate: September 22, 1741
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
Died: September 8, 1811

German naturalist Peter Simon Pallas was born to a professor of surgery and had, by age 15, formulated classifications of several animal groups. He chiefly worked in and around Russia, and is remembered for his 3-volume geological study, Journey Through Various Provinces of the Russian Empire.

 34 
William Henry Hudson
(Anglo-Argentine Author, Naturalist and Ornithologist)
William Henry Hudson
3
Birthdate: August 4, 1841
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Quilmes, Buenos Aires Province, Argentina
Died: August 18, 1922

British-Argentine author, naturalist, and ornithologist William Henry Hudson not just published a number of ornithological studies but also several novels, such as Green Mansions. He criticized Darwinism and was inspired by Samuel Butler’s writings. He was also part of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.

 35 
Georg Forster
(German Explorer Who Established Travel Literature as a Genre in Germany)
Georg Forster
3
Birthdate: November 27, 1754
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Mokry Dwór, Poland
Died: January 10, 1794
German ethnologist, explorer, and travel writer Georg Forster established travel literature as a prominent genre in the German literary circle. Both he and his naturalist father, Johann Reinhold Forster, accompanied Capt. James Cook on his second voyage around the world. He also taught at several universities, before becoming a librarian.
 36 
Étienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire
(French Naturalist Who Is Known for Establishing the Principle of 'Unity of Composition')
Étienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire
3
Birthdate: April 15, 1772
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Étampes, France
Died: June 19, 1844

French naturalist Étienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire is best remembered for his principle of unity of composition. He also laid down the idea of teratology, or the study of animal abnormalities. He was also part of Napoleon’s scientific expedition in Egypt and later taught zoology at the University of Paris.

 37 
Henry Walter Bates
(Naturalist)
Henry Walter Bates
3
Birthdate: February 8, 1825
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Leicester, England
Died: February 16, 1892
 38 
Li Shizhen
(Chinese Pharmacologist and Scholar Who Compiled the Treatise Compendium of Materia Medica)
Li Shizhen
3
Birthdate: July 3, 1518
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Qizhouzhen, Huanggang, China
Died: 1593 AD

Chinese pharmacologist and scholar of the Ming dynasty Li Shizhen is remembered for his elaborate compilation Compendium of Materia Medica, which offered descriptions of over 1,000 drugs and provided instructions for about 11,000 prescriptions. His book was a benchmark in Chinese medicine and was translated into several languages.

 39 
Lewis Thomas
(Physician, Writer, Naturalist, Poet)
Lewis Thomas
3
Birthdate: November 25, 1913
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Flushing
Died: December 3, 1993
 40 
Samuel Hearne
(Explorer)
Samuel Hearne
3
Birthdate: 1745
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: London, England
Died: October 31, 1792
 41 
Engelbert Kaempfer
(Naturalist)
Engelbert Kaempfer
3
Birthdate: September 16, 1651
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Lemgo, Germany
Died: November 2, 1716

Seventeenth-century German physician and traveler Engelbert Kaempfer had been on trade missions across the world, including places such as Russia, Iran, Java, and Japan. His written experiences about his stay in Japan became a valuable source of information on the flora and fauna of the country.

 42 
Jan Swammerdam
(Dutch Biologist and Microscopist Who Was the First to Observe and Describe 'Red Blood Cells')
Jan Swammerdam
3
Birthdate: February 12, 1637
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Died: February 17, 1680

Dutch naturalist Jan Swammerdam was the first to detect red blood cells. Though a qualified doctor, he never practiced medicine, and took to research instead. Known for his research on anatomy, he also revolutionized the study of insects, proving that the egg, larva, pupa, and adult are all the same organism.

 43 
Ulisse Aldrovandi
(Naturalist)
Ulisse Aldrovandi
3
Birthdate: September 11, 1522
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Bologna, Italy
Died: May 4, 1605
 44 
Philip Henry Gosse
(Naturalist)
Philip Henry Gosse
3
Birthdate: April 6, 1810
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Worcester, England
Died: August 23, 1888
 45 
Ivan T. Sanderson
(Biologist, Writer)
Ivan T. Sanderson
0
Birthdate: January 30, 1911
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Edinburgh, Scotland
Died: February 19, 1973
 46 
Bernard Germain de Lacépède
(French Naturalist Known for Continuing Comte de Buffon's Encyclopaedic Collection 'Histoire Naturelle')
Bernard Germain de Lacépède
5
Birthdate: December 26, 1756
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Agen, France
Died: October 6, 1825

French naturalist Bernard Germain de Lacépède is best known for his contribution to fellow French naturalist Comte de Buffon's Histoire Naturelle. He enriched the world’s knowledge of fishes and reptiles. Following the rise of Napoleon, Lacépède joined the French Senate and later became a minister of Bourbon state.

 47 
José Bonifácio de Andrada
(Brazilian Statesman Known for His Role in Brazil’s Attainment of Independence From Portugal)
José Bonifácio de Andrada
2
Birthdate: June 13, 1763
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Santos, State of São Paulo, Brazil
Died: April 6, 1838

José Bonifácio de Andrada was a Brazilian statesman. He was also a naturalist, mineralist, and professor. He was a significant proponent of Brazilian independence and also spearheaded the abolition project in Brazil. He was of the opinion that a new national capital should be created in Brazil's underdeveloped interior. As a naturalist, he discovered four new minerals. 

 48 
Lorenz Oken
(One of the Most Prominent German Natural Philosophers of the 19th Century)
Lorenz Oken
3
Birthdate: August 1, 1779
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Bohlsbach, Germany
Died: August 11, 1851

German naturalist and botanist Lorenz Oken is remembered as one of the most significant German natural philosophers of the 19th century and a leader of the Naturphilosophie movement. His studies on Wolfgang von Goethe’s theory on the vertebrate skull helped prepare ground for Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.

 49 
John Tradescant the Elder
3
Birthdate: 1570 AD
Birthplace: Meopham, England
Died: April 15, 1638
 50 
Sir George Back
3
Birthdate: November 6, 1796
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Metropolitan Borough of Stockport, England
Died: June 23, 1878