René Lesson

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Portrait of Lesson by Tardieu (1827)

René Primevère Lesson (20 March 1794 – 28 April 1849) was a French surgeon, naturalist, ornithologist, and herpetologist.

Biography

He was born at Rochefort, and entered the Naval Medical School in Rochefort at the age of sixteen. He served in the French Navy during the Napoleonic Wars; in 1811 he was third surgeon on the frigate Saale, and in 1813 was second surgeon on the Regulus.[1]

In 1816 Lesson changed his classification to pharmacist. He served on Duperrey's round-the-world voyage of La Coquille (1822–25), of which he collected natural history specimens with his fellow surgeon Prosper Garnot and officer Dumont d'Urville.[1] During his visits to the Moluccas and New Guinea, Lesson became the first naturalist to see birds of paradise in the wild.[2]

On returning to Paris, he spent seven years preparing the section on vertebrates for the official account of the expedition: "Voyage autour du monde entrepris par ordre du Gouvernement sur la corvette La Coquille" (published from 1826 to 1839).[3] During this time period, he also produced "Manuel d'Ornithologie" (1828), "Traité d'Ornithologie" (1831), "Centurie Zoologique" (1830–32) and "Illustrations de Zoologie" (1832–35).[4][5] Lesson also published several monographs on hummingbirds and one book on birds of paradise:

  • Histoire naturelle des oiseaux-mouches. ouvrage orné de planches... (1829-1831).
  • Histoire naturelle des Colibris suivie d'un supplement a l'histoire naturelle des oiseaux-mouches (1831–32).
  • Les trochilidées ou les colibris et les oiseaux-mouches (1832).
  • Histoire naturelle des oiseaux de paradis et des épimaques; ouvrage orné de planches, dessinées et gravées par les meilleurs artistes (1835).

In the field of herpetology he described many new species of amphibians[6] and reptiles.[7]

From 1831, he served as a professor of pharmacy, and following a series of promotions, became the top-ranking naval pharmacist at Rochefort (1835).[8] His experience as a ship's surgeon resulted in his two-volume "Manuel d'histoire naturelle medicale, et de pharmacographie" (1833), intended as a handbook for naval surgeons.[citation needed]

He became a corresponding member of the Académie de Médecine in 1828, later becoming a correspondent of the Académie des Sciences (1833).[9] He received the Légion d'honneur in 1847.

René Primevère Lesson is sometimes confused with his brother, Pierre Adolphe Lesson (1805-1888), who participated on the Astrolabe expedition (as the Coquille had been renamed) in 1826-29, under the command of Jules Dumont d'Urville.[9]

Amphibian and reptile species described by Lesson

listed in the order they were described (only species still recognized are listed)

Amphibian and reptile species described in Lesson’s honour

listed in the order they were described (only species still recognized are listed)

Bibliography

By Lesson

  • Lesson R.P. (1833). Manuel d'histoire naturelle medicale, et de pharmacographie Paris.
  • Lessson, P. (1837). Journal de la navigation autour du globe, de la frégate La Thétis et de la corvette L'Espérance, pendant les années 1824, 1825 et 1826 :publié par ordre du roi sous les auspices du Département de la marine par baron de Bougainville A. Bertrand, Paris.
  • Lesson, P. (1838). Compléments de Buffon. Pourrat Frères, Paris.
  • Lesson, P (1843). Histoire naturelle des zoophytes. Acalèphes. Librairie encyclopédique de Roret, Paris.

About Lesson

  • Baillière, J.B. (1840). Species des mammifères bimanes et quadrumanes; suivi d'un mémoire sur les Oryctéropes, Paris.
  • Duquy, Raymond (1995). René Primevère Lesson. Un voyage autour du monde. in Aventures scientifiques. Savants en Poitou-Charentes du XVIe au XXe siècle (DHOMBRES J., dir.), Les éditions de l’Actualité Poitou-Charentes (Poitiers) : 136–147. ISBN 2-911320-00-X

See also

References

  1. ^ a b Persée Un pharmacien de la marine et voyageur naturaliste : R.-P Lesson
  2. ^ New Guinea: crossing boundaries and history by Clive Moore
  3. ^ Statement based on a translation of an equivalent article at the French Wikipedia.
  4. ^ Google Search (publications)
  5. ^ WorldCat Search (publications)
  6. ^ Amphibian Species of the World. http://research.amnh.org/vz/herpetology/amphibia/.
  7. ^ The Reptile Database. http://www.reptile-database.org.
  8. ^ Encyclopedia.com Lesson, René-Primevère
  9. ^ a b Lesson, René Primevère (1794-1849) Correspondance familiale
  10. ^ "The Code Online". International Council of Zoological Nomenclature. 

External links

  • Gallica: works by René Primevère Lesson Note: "Recherche" is the French for "search".
  • WorldCat Search (publications by Lesson)
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