Conrad Gessner, Swiss naturalist

Conrad Gessner, Swiss naturalist

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Credit: SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Collection of Conrad Gessner (1516-1565), Swiss naturalist. This scene shows people working in his natural history collection in Zurich, Switzerland. Stuffed animals are seen around the room, and careful drawings are being made to record anatomical details. Gessner graduated from Basel University, Switzerland in 1541. He later compiled a comprehensive survey (Historiae animalium) of the animal kingdom. This multi- volume survey presented known facts, rather than myths, about the animal kingdom. Gessner also wrote a major bibliographical work on Latin, Greek and Hebrew writers. He also wrote a book on fossils. Gessner died of the plague in 1565. At the time, he was trying to compile a survey of the plant kingdom comparable to Historiae animalium. Engraving from the 1875 edition of Vies des Savants Illustres.

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