Some Biogeographers, Evolutionists and Ecologists:
Chrono-Biographical Sketches

Sclater, Philip Lutley (England 1829-1913)


A well known and highly productive (over 1400 publications) ornithologist in his own day, Sclater is remembered today primarily for his 1858 paper setting out the faunal regions classification of zoogeography later adopted by Alfred Russel Wallace. The system is still in common use today. His most lasting ornithological work is probably the four volumes he contributed to the Catalogue of the Birds in the British Museum series, circa 1886-1891. Sclater worked on other natural history subjects (especially mammals) as well, but it should not be forgotten that he also had an impressive professional and administrative career, undoubtedly aided by his early training for (and practice of) the law. He was the founder and for many years the Editor of Ibis, a council member and then Secretary (for forty-three years!) of the Zoological Society of London, a member of more than forty professional societies at home and abroad, a council member of the Royal Society of London, and even for a time personal secretary to his older brother George Sclater-Booth (later Lord Basing), who had won a political appointment from Disraeli.

Life Chronology

--born in Tangier Park, Hampshire, England, on 4 November 1829.
--1849: B.A., Corpus Christi College, Oxford
--1851: enters Lincoln's Inn; later practices law for a number of years
--1856: visits America
--1857: becomes a member of the council of the Zoological Society of London
--1858: helps found the journal Ibis; editor of Ibis 1858-1865 and 1878-1912
--1858: publishes "On the General Geographical Distribution of the Members of the Class Aves" in the Journal of the Proceedings of the Linnean Society: Zoology
--1860-1903: secretary of the Zoological Society of London
--1861: made a fellow of the Royal Society of London
--1884: visits America
--1886-1891: publishes four volumes of the Catalogue of the Birds in the British Museum series
--1888-1889: publishes his Argentine Ornithology, with W. H. Hudson
--1892: chairman of the British Ornithologists' Club
--1903: co-founds The Society for the Preservation of the Wild Fauna of the Empire
--dies at Odiham, Hampshire, England, on 27 June 1913.

For Additional Information, See:

--Dictionary of Scientific Biography, Vol. 12 (1975).
--Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Vol. 49 (2004).
--Ibis, Ser. 10, Vol. 1 (1913): 672-686.
--The Auk, Vol. 31(1) (1914): 1-12.
--Science, New Series, Vol. 4(88) (1896): 293-298.
--Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Ser. B, Vol. 87(599) (1913-1914): iii-v.

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Copyright 2005 by Charles H. Smith. All rights reserved.

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