André Marie Constant Duméril

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André Marie Constant Duméril
André Marie Constant Duméril.jpg
André Marie Constant Duméril
Born January 1, 1774
Amiens
Died August 14, 1860
Paris
Nationality French
Fields zoology
Institutions Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle

André Marie Constant Duméril (January 1, 1774 – August 14, 1860) was a French zoologist. He was professor of anatomy at the Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle from 1801 to 1812, when he became professor of herpetology and ichthyology. His son Auguste Duméril was also a zoologist.

André Marie Constant Duméril was born on January 1, 1774 in Amiens and died on August 14, 1860 in Paris.

He became a very young doctor obtaining, at 19 years, the “prévot” of anatomy at the Medical school of Rouen. In 1800, he left for Paris and collaborated in the drafting of the comparative anatomy lessons of Georges Cuvier.

He replaced Cuvier at the Central School of the Panthéon and had, for his colleague, Alexandre Brongniart. In 1801, he gave courses to the Medical school of Paris. Under the Restauration, he was elected a member of the Académie des Sciences (French Academy of Sciences) and succeeded, after 1803, Lacépède, who was occupied by his political offices, as professor of herpetology and ichthyology at the Muséum national d'histoire naturelle. But Duméril only officially received this chair in 1825, after the death of Lacépède.

He published his Zoologie analytique in 1806. This covered the whole of the animal kingdom and shows the relations between genera as then distinguished, but not among species. In 1832, Gabriel Bibron (1806–1848), who became his assistant, was given the task of describing the species for an expanded version of Zoologie analytique, while Nicolaus Michael Oppel (1782–1820) assisted him with a revised higher-order systematics. After the death of Bibron, Auguste Duméril, André’s son replaced him. But the death of Bibron delayed, for ten years, the publication of the new work. In 1851, the two Dumérils, father and son, published the Catalogue méthodique de la collection des reptiles (although the son, Auguste Duméril’ was apparently the true author) and in 1853, André Duméril alone, published Prodrome de la classification des reptiles ophidiens. This last book proposes a classification of all the snakes in seven volumes.

It was Duméril who, discovering a case of preserved fishes in the attic of the house of Georges-Louis Leclerc, comte de Buffon finally described the species which had been collected by Philibert Commerson nearly 70 years earlier.

He, then published a very important work, l’Erpétologie générale ou Histoire naturelle complète des reptiles (nine volumes, 1834–1854). In this, 1,393 species are described in detail and their anatomy, physiology and bibliography are specified. It should however be noted that Duméril maintained the Amphibians among the reptiles in spite of the work of Alexandre Brongniart or Pierre André Latreille or the anatomical discoveries of Karl Ernst von Baer (1792–1876) or of Johannes Peter Müller (1801–1858).

He was interested all his life in the insects and published several memoires on entomology. His principal entomological work is Entomologie analytique (1860, two volumes). With his son Auguste Duméril, also a zoologist, he created the first vivarium for reptiles of the Jardin des Plantes. Duméril always considered observations on animal behaviour of taxonomic significance.

After 1853, he began to cede his position to his son and he retired completely in 1857. He was made a commander of the légion d'honneur two months before his death.

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