Thursday, March 28, 2013

Dead Naturalists Of The Day

Something a little different from The Species Seekers and author Richard Conniff (via this blog). Who knew that naturalism is such a dangerous business? At least most of these folks died doing what they loved; that's the way I want to go--hunched over my computer typing "THAT'S WHAT SHE SAID," or sitting on my ass playing Call Of Duty and eating Popchips.
ERIC YORK (1970-2007), biologist killed, age 37, by pneumonic plague after autopsying a mountain lion in the Grand Canyon.

AUGUSTO RUSCHI (1915-1986), renowned naturalist at Brazil’s National Museum, died from the cumulated effects of malaria, hepatitis, schistosomiasis and, after years of harrowing agony, fatal poisoning from contact with a Dendrobates toad.

WILLIAM NEVERMANN (1881-1938), entomologist, killed while hunting ants by lantern with a colleague at night in Costa Rica. He was shot by a neighbor who thought the lights of the two lanterns were the eyes of a puma.

SIARHEI ABRAMCHUK (1984-2010), promising young Belarusian ornithologist, of encephalitis, age 26, after a tick bite in Belarus.

JOY ADAMSON (1910–1980), a naturalist, artist, and author best known for the book and movie Born Free, found murdered in her camp on Kenya’s Lake Naivasha.

DAVID DOUGLAS (1799–1834), Scottish botanist and explorer, said to be the greatest plant collector ever, died upon falling into a pit trap already occupied by a bull, in Hawaii.

HEINRICH MACKLOT (1799–1832), naturalist, was so enraged when insurgents burned down his house, with all of his collections, that he organized a revenge attack and was speared to death in Java.

MICHIO HOSHINO (1952-1996), celebrated Japanese wildlife photographer, killed when a brown bear attacked him in his tent, while on assignment in Kamchatka, Russia.

ANDREW M. FIELD (1955-1984), an ecologist, fell from a tree while conducting canopy research in Venezuela.

MARGARITA GOMEZ (1987-2011), Universidad de los Andes biology student murdered by a drug gang while photographing the biodiversity around Cordoba, Columbia.

ADOLF SCHLAGINTWEIT (1829–1857), one of five German brothers who became naturalists and explorers, beheaded as a spy in Kashgar, China.

KIRSTY M. BROWN (1974-2003), marine biologist with the British Antarctic Survey, drowned when attacked while snorkeling and dragged 200 feet underwater by a leopard seal.

PRINCE EUGENIO RUSPOLI (1866-1893), Italian explorer, gave his name to one of world’s most beautiful and rare birds, the Ethiopian Prince Ruspoli’s Turaco, trampled to death by an angry elephant.

ERWIN EVERT (1940 -2010), botanist in the greater Yellowstone ecosystem, where he found five new species of plants, died, age 70, in a “fatal encounter with a grizzly bear” while on his daily botanical walk in the Shoshone National Forest in Wyoming.

GANAPATHI THANIKAIMONI (1938–1986), a leading palynologist, who studied contemporary and fossil pollens, was killed, age 48, during the military assault after terrorists hijacked Pan Am Flight 73 from Karachi. He was reportedly helping a child when hit by fragments from a grenade set off by the terrorists.

DIAN FOSSEY (1932-1985), primatologist studying mountain gorillas, found murdered in her cabin, age 53, in the Virunga Mountains, Rwanda (case unsolved). Fossey was portrayed by Sigourney Weaver in the film, Gorillas In The Mist.

HAROLD J. GRANT (1921–1966), American entomologist, age 45, drowned on an expedition collecting grasshoppers in Trinidad.

JOHANN HELFER (1810–1840), Czech-born naturalist, murdered, age 29, by poison dart in the Andaman Islands.

(See more here)


  1. This is precisely why I stay indoors, safe in my barcalounger.

  2. He drowned collecting crickets in Trinidad. How lame.

  3. I'm wondering why someone would look for ants at night with a lantern. Do they only come out at night?

    If something happens to me while I'm working at the library, I'd have to say that wouldn't be a bad way to go.



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