Orator F. Cook

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Orator Fuller Cook
Born (1867-05-28)May 28, 1867
Clyde, New York
Died April 23, 1949(1949-04-23) (aged 81)
Lanham, Maryland
Nationality American
Fields Botany, entomology
Institutions USDA
Alma mater Syracuse University
Known for Coining of speciation
Author abbrev. (botany) O.F.Cook
Author abbrev. (zoology) Cook

Orator Fuller Cook, Jr. (1867–1949) was an American botanist, entomologist, and agronomist, known for his work on cotton and rubber cultivation and for coining the term speciation, the process by which new species arise from existing ones.[1]

Cook, born in Clyde, New York in 1867, graduated from Syracuse University in 1890. He worked for one year as an instructor at Syracuse. In 1891 Cook became a special agent of the New York State Colonization Society. He worked in Liberia, and in 1896, he was elected president of Liberia College. He held that position until 1898. That year he joined the United States Department of Agriculture as a plant scientist, and eventually became Principal Botanist and traveled throughout the world investigating crop species for the United States government. He specialized in cotton and rubber plants and the classification of palms, particularly the palms of Hispaniola. He published almost four hundred books and articles during his career, and was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Science by Syracuse University in 1930. Cook served as Honorary Assistant Curator of Cryptogamic Collections at the United States National Herbarium from 1898 until 1948.

Cook also studied myriapods (millipedes, centipedes, and relatives), describing over 100 species and producing over 50 publications.[2] In 1922, Cook and his colleague Harold Loomis described a species of millipede with more legs than any other organism on Earth: Illacme plenipes which possesses as many as 750 legs.[3][4]

Cook was a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Genetic Association, Botanical Society of America, Association of American Geographers, Washington Academy of Sciences, as well as the Cosmos Club, a private social club of Washington D.C.[5]

Cook had two sons and two daughters. His son Robert Carter Cook became a noted geneticist himself.[6]


  1. ^ Berlocher, Stewart H. (1998). "Origins: a Brief History of Research on Speciation". In Howard, Daniel J.; Berlocher, Stewart H. Endless Forms: Species and Speciation. New York, Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 3. ISBN 0195109015. 
  2. ^ Sierwald, Petra; Bond, Jason E. (2007). "Current Status of the Myriapod Class Diplopoda (Millipedes): Taxonomic Diversity and Phylogeny". Annual Review of Entomology 52 (1): 401–420. doi:10.1146/annurev.ento.52.111805.090210. 
  3. ^ Cook, O. F.; Loomis, H. F. (1928). "Millipeds of the order Colobognatha, with descriptions of six new genera and type species, from Arizona and California". Proceedings of the United States National Museum 72 (2714): 1. doi:10.5479/si.00963801.72-2714.1.  edit
  4. ^ Marek, P.; Shear, W.; Bond, J. (2012). "A redescription of the leggiest animal, the millipede Illacme plenipes, with notes on its natural history and biogeography (Diplopoda, Siphonophorida, Siphonorhinidae)". ZooKeys 241 (241): 77–112. doi:10.3897/zookeys.241.3831. PMC 3559107. PMID 23372415.  edit
  5. ^ National Cyclopedia of American Biography 38. Clifton, NJ: J. T. White. 1953. pp. 369–370. 
  6. ^ Cook, Joan (January 9, 1991). "Robert C. Cook, 92, A Longtime Scholar Of Human Genetics". The New York Times. 
  7. ^ "Author Query for 'O.F.Cook'". International Plant Names Index. 

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