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Appointing a curator of invertebrates


Appointing a curator of spiders
Ernst Mayr Scientist
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I was responsible for the fact that Herb Levi was appointed curator of spiders - this was already under Romer but at my advice - and he turned out to be an excellent specialist, and all the current leading younger spider people in the United States were all students of Herb Levi. The second very good appointment of mine was Howard Evans, an entomologist who has been equally good in the systematics of hymenoptera and in describing their behavior. But when he… very soon after Mr Crompton had taken over the directors from me, Evans was so disgusted with Mr Crompton's behavior that he resigned and took a… a position in Colorado.

The late German-American biologist Ernst Mayr (1904-2005) was a leading light in the field of evolutionary biology, gaining a PhD at the age of 21. He was also a tropical explorer and ornithologist who undertook an expedition to New Guinea and collected several thousand bird skins. In 1931 he accepted a curatorial position at the American Museum of Natural History. During his time at the museum, aged 37, he published his seminal work 'Systematics and Origin of the Species' which integrated the theories of Darwin and Mendel and is considered one of his greatest works.

Listeners: Walter J. Bock

Walter J. Bock is Professor of Evolutionary Biology at Columbia University. He received his B.Sc. from Cornell and his M.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard. His research lies in the areas of organismal and evolutionary biology, with a special emphasis on functional and evolutionary morphology of the skeleto-muscular system, specifically the feeding apparatus of birds.

Tags: United States of America, Colorado, Herb Levi, Alfred Romer, Howard Ensign Evans

Duration: 1 minute

Date story recorded: October 1997

Date story went live: 24 January 2008