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François Levaillant

From the list of elephant persons Family: Levaillant

François Levaillant
François  Levaillant

Personal details
Country France

Work locations
Title researcher 1782-1782
Location at Knysna forest in South Africa

Biography details

François Levaillant , taxonomy biologist in France

Born 1753-08-06 in Suriname dead 1824-11-22 in France .

François Levaillant (born Vaillant, later in life as Le Vaillant, "The Valiant") (6 August 1753 – 22 November 1824) was a French author, explorer, naturalist, zoological collector, and noted ornithologist. He described many new Species of birds based on birds he collected in Africa and several birds are named after him. He was among the first to use colour plates for illustrating birds and opposed the use of binomial Nomenclature introduced by Carl Linnaeus, preferring instead to use descriptive French names such as the bateleur (meaning "tumbler or tight-rope walker") for the distinctive African eagle.

He went to the Cape of Good Hope in 1780, at the age of 27, nominally as a gunner's mate for the Dutch East India Company, but almost certainly sponsored by the Treasurer-General, Jacob Temminck with the understanding that he would strengthen Temminck's collection. spent six months in the Garden Route (Outeniqualand in those days) to catalogue its plants and animals, its fishes and its insects, but he was also the first person to shoot one of the elephants of the area (at Die Poort, between Plettenberg Bay and Knysna). At that time, South Africa was a relatively Unknown and exotic location and he collected specimens that would establish his reputation within the scientific community until July 1784: 249  when he made his way back to Holland and France.

An analysis of Le Vaillant's collections made by Carl Sundevall in 1857 identified ten birds that could not be assigned definitely to any Species, ten that were fabricated from multiple Species and fifty Species that could not have come from the Cape region as claimed. His reputation has understandably suffered as a result of these errors.

Reference list


Koehl, Dan, (2021). biologist François Levaillant in South Africa. Elephant Encyclopedia, available online retrieved 8 June 2023 at https://www.elephant.se/person.php?id=805. (archived at the Wayback machine)

Sources used for this article is among others:

Selected publications

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Categories biologist | taxonomy | Knysna forest | Levaillant family | Born 1753 | Dead 1824 | People from France

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