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|Haloquadratum walsbyi||Sitta europaea caesia||Caloboletus calopus||♂Aphyocharax anisitsi|
|♀Brachypelma smithi||Hippopotamus amphibius||Euphorbia leuconeura||Sarcophaga sp. with Tipulidae|
Collaboration with ZooKeys
A collaboration between Wikispecies and ZooKeys has been announced. PhytoKeys also joined the collaboration in November 2010. Images of species from ZooKeys and PhytoKeys will be uploaded to Wikimedia Commons and used in Wikispecies.
Georges Léopold Chrétien Frédéric Dagobert Cuvier (most often published simply as "Georges Cuvier") was a French naturalist and zoologist. He is sometimes referred to as the founding father of paleontology. Cuvier was a major figure in natural sciences research in the early 19th century and was instrumental in establishing the fields of comparative anatomy and paleontology through his work in comparing living animals with fossils. Cuvier's work is considered the foundation of vertebrate paleontology, and he expanded Linnaean taxonomy by grouping classes into phyla and incorporating both fossils and living species into the classification. Cuvier is also known for establishing extinction as a fact: at the time, extinction was considered by many of Cuvier's contemporaries to be merely controversial speculation.
He is also remembered for strongly opposing theories of evolution, which at the time (before Darwin's theory) were mainly proposed by Jean-Baptiste Lamarck and Étienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire. Cuvier believed there was no evidence for evolution, but rather evidence for cyclical creations and destructions of life forms by global extinction events such as deluges (outburst flooding).
Cuvier wrote hundreds of scientific papers and books. His most famous work is Le Règne Animal (1816–1817, four tomes; English title The Animal Kingdom). It sets out to describe the natural structure of the whole of the animal kingdom based on comparative anatomy, and its natural history. Cuvier divided the animals into four embranchements ("Branches", roughly corresponding to phyla), namely vertebrates, molluscs, articulated animals (arthropods and annelids), and zoophytes (cnidaria and other phyla).
He is the author of thousands of new taxa, among them well over 5,000 species of fish and molluscs. In 1800 and working only from a drawing, Cuvier was the first to correctly identify in print, a fossil found in Bavaria as a small flying reptile, which he named the Ptero-Dactyle in 1809 (later Latinized as Pterodactylus antiquus).
When the French Academy was preparing its first dictionary, it defined "crab" as "A small red fish which walks backwards." This definition was sent with a number of others to the naturalist Cuvier for his approval. The scientist wrote back: "Your definition, gentlemen, would be perfect, only for three exceptions. The crab is not a fish, it is not red, and it does not walk backwards." In 1819, he was created a peer for life in honour of his scientific contributions and is thereafter known as Baron Cuvier.See also: Distinguished authors of previous months.
Species of the month
Decim Periodical Cicada
Some facts on this insect:
Body length: 28-29 mm.
Eggs deposited by the female: 400-600.
Male song: High-pitched call resembling "weeeee-whoa" or "Pharaoh".
Range: Canada and the United States.
Life-span: 17 years.
First described: By Swedish naturalist Carolus Linnaeus in 1758, who originally named it Cicada septendecim.
See also: Species of previous months
Endangered species of the month
Lord Howe Island stick insect
Some facts about this species:
Total length: 130–140 mm
Weight: 25 grams
Distribution: It was thought to be extinct by 1920, only to be rediscovered in 2001. It is extinct in its largest habitat, Lord Howe Island (Tasman Sea, Pacific Ocean). It has been called "the rarest insect in the world", as the rediscovered population consisted of a mere 24 individuals living on the small islet of Ball's Pyramid (20 km southeast of Lord Howe Island, measuring 1,100 metres in length and 300 metres across).
Surviving number: Less than 15,000 specimens, mainly in captivity.
Conservation status: Critically Endangered (IUCN 3.1).
First described: As Karabidion australe by the French botanist, zoologist and entomologist Xavier Montrouzier in "Essai sur la faune del'ile de Woodlark ou Moiou", Annales De La Societé D'Agriculture De Lyon, 1885.
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