Hermann Burmeister

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Hermann Burmeister
Burmeister Harmann 1807-1892.png
Born15 January 1807  OOjs UI icon edit-ltr-progressive.svg
Stralsund   OOjs UI icon edit-ltr-progressive.svg
Died2 May 1892  OOjs UI icon edit-ltr-progressive.svg (aged 85)

Karl Hermann Konrad Burmeister (15 January 1807 – 2 May 1892) was a German Argentine zoologist, entomologist, herpetologist, and botanist. He was born in Stralsund and died in Buenos Aires. A brief biography, with particular reference to his work on phasmids was published by Bragg in 2007. [1]



He studied medicine at Greifswald and Halle, and in 1830 went to Berlin to qualify himself to be a teacher of natural history. He was soon after appointed an instructor in the gymnasium at Cologne. [2] He later became a professor of zoology at the Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg from 1837 to 1861. In 1848, during the revolutionary excitement, he was sent by the city of Halle as deputy to the national assembly, and subsequently by the town of Leibnitz to the first Prussian chamber. [3] He traveled to Brazil from 1850 to 1852 and Argentina from 1857 to 1860, returning to Germany with zoological collections. In 1861 he went to live in Argentina, founding the Institute at the Museo Nacional in Buenos Aires. He also headed the Academy of Sciences, formed from the scientific faculty of Argentina's National University of Córdoba. [3]

In the field of herpetology he described many new species of amphibians [4] and reptiles. [5]


Burmeister was a critic of Darwinism, he rejected common descent. [6] However, he changed his views slightly on common descent in the late 1870s. In 1879 he commented that:

I am wholly convinced that the beings found in the older formations of our globe are the prototypes of contemporary beings, and in this respect, I declare myself a partisan of the hypothesis recently developed in detail, and as a natural law, by Darwin and his followers. But I must confess that their experiments have not provided me with any proof that any fundamental change in type is possible. [6]

Florentino Ameghino described Burmeister as a "Biblical creationist", although this remains unconfirmed. [6]

The standard author abbreviation Burmeist. is used to indicate this person as the author when citing a botanical name. [7]


Other works

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  1. Bragg, P.E. (2007) Biographies of Phasmatologists - 3. Hermann Burmeister. Phasmid Studies, 16(1): 1-4.
  2. Wikisource-logo.svg One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain : Ripley, George; Dana, Charles A., eds. (1879). "Burmeister, Hermann"  . The American Cyclopædia .
  3. 1 2 Wikisource-logo.svg  Wilson, J. G.; Fiske, J., eds. (1900). "Burmeister, Karl Hermann Konrad"  . Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography . New York: D. Appleton.
  4. Amphibian Species of the World 5.5. research.amnh.org/vz/herpetology/amphibia.
  5. The Reptile Database. www.reptile-database.org.
  6. 1 2 3 Levine, Alex; Novoa, Adriana. (2012). Darwinistas!: The Construction of Evolutionary Thought in Nineteenth Century Argentina. Brill. pp. 100-102. ISBN   978-9004221369
  7. IPNI.  Burmeist.

Further reading