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Auction #72 begins on
24 Jan 2019 16:30 GMT

Ellerman (J.R.), Morrison-Scott (T.C.S.) & Hayman (R.W.)

SOUTH AFRICAN MAMMALS 1758 TO 1951: A RECLASSIFICATION

British Museum (Natural History)

Published: Trustees of the British Museum, London, 1953

Reserve: $40

Approximately:

Estimate: $50/60

Bidding opens: 24 Jan 16:30 GMT

Bidding closes: 31 Jan 16:30 GMT

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363 pages, map as frontispiece, 2 folding maps, green cloth, slightly scuffed on the covers, red leather title label, a good copy.

A reclassification of the mammals of Southern Africa based on the extensive material in the study collections of the British Museum and the Transvaal Musem and type specimens in the South African Museum, Cape Town, and taking into account the conclusions of recent workers in the field. (From the introduction). The authors are critical of Austin Roberts' Mammals of South Africa which had been published in 1951. 'With regard to the imposing work of Robert we find ourselves in some difficulty... We therefore record, with regret, that the scientific thought of the last few decades appears to have had little influence on this author's taxonomic assessments ... It is permissible and indeed often mandatory, to describe a new form on the basis of one specimen, but in the case of races we believe it to be unwise, certainly as a routine.

Further, the description of new forms for the sake of describing them, a sort of parlour game in which our predecessors vied with one another to see who could have the most names to his "credit", seems to have been a vanity which found its echo in Roberts. We have also noticed four instances in which he described a race as new on two separate occasions, in one case with a difficult type specimen and type locality; such mishaps are, however, only the least of the disadvantages of mass production'.

  • Overall Condition: A Good Copy
  • Size: 4to (250 x 200 mm)


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