Josephus Nicolaus Laurenti

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Josephus Nicolaus Laurenti (4 December 1735, Vienna – 17 February 1805, Vienna) was an Austrian naturalist of Italian origin.

Laurenti is considered the auctor of the class Reptilia (reptiles) through his authorship of Specimen Medicum, Exhibens Synopsin Reptilium Emendatam cum Experimentis circa Venena (1768) on the poisonous function of reptiles and amphibians. This was an important book in herpetology, defining thirty genera of reptiles; Carl Linnaeus's 10th edition of Systema Naturae in 1758 defined only ten genera. In 1768, Laurenti also published an Italian manuscript titled Il Dragone (The Dragon) describing the blind salamander (amphibian): Proteus anguinus, purportedly collected from cave waters in Slovenia (or possibly western Croatia); this description represented one of the first published accounts of a cave animal in the western world.

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