Peter Claussen (1804-1855) was a Danish natural history collector born in Copenhagen. His botanical collections are probably in most major European herbariums, once many animal fossils he sold to the British Museum and the Jardin des Plantes in France. He later had an article about the geology of Minas Gerais published through the L'Académie Royale des Sciences, des Lettres et des Beaux-Arts de Belgique.
On account of a fraud he emigrated to Brazil, he came with Don Pedro I's army to Rio de Janeiro. He let himself first enlist as a common soldier and then lived as a peddler. During Argentine's Cisplatine War with Brazil between 1825-1828, he served as a spy. Later he lived as a merchant in the province of Cachoeira do Campo, in the State of Minas Gerais, becoming then owner of a farm in the northerly neighborhood of Curvelo, some days' journey north of Lagoa Santa.
In his great journey through the Brazilian countryside between 1833-35, he met the famous compatriot naturalist Peter Wilhelm Lund accoumpanied by the German botanist Ludwig Riedel in October 1834 by 'an accident'. Claussen, which there went by the name of Pedro Claudio Dinamarquez, was visited by him in his farm known as Porteirinho for about a week. This meeting proved crucial for Lund's future, and it also significantly gave Claussen's life a new direction. On his property there were caves in the limestone hills, which the residents exploited because of their fertilizing properties. Visits to these caves helped Lund discover numerous remains of fossilized animals. The study of these linked Lund forever to the inland Brazil. By purely mercantile purposes, Claussen's acquaintance with Lund turned him into a natural history collector, both of plants and fossil animals.
In 1843 he accompanied Francis de Castelnau in his great South American expedition. After returning to Europe he began having mental problems and so was taken to the hospital of a charity institution in London, where he died in 1855.
- William Dewey Anderson, Theodore W. Pietsch (1997). Collection building in ichthyology and herpetology. American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists. p. 60. ISBN 0-935868-91-7.
- National Museet. "Lund's Brazilian Cave Studies". Natmus.dk. Retrieved 13 December 2011.
- Walter, Harold Victor (1948). Pré-história da região de Lagôa Santa, Minas Gerais. Oficinas Gráficas da Papelaria e Tip. p. 9. OCLC 3369772
- Buffetaut, Éric (1987). A short history of vertebrate palaeontology. Croom Helm. p. 163. ISBN 0-7099-3962-0.
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