René Lesson

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Portrait of Lesson by Tardieu (1827)

René Primevère Lesson (20 March 1794 – 28 April 1849) was a French surgeon, naturalist, ornithologist, and herpetologist.

Biography[edit]

He was born at Rochefort, and entered the Naval Medical School in Rochefort at the age of sixteen. He served in the French Navy during the Napoleonic Wars; in 1811 he was third surgeon on the frigate Saale, and in 1813 was second surgeon on the Regulus.[1]

In 1816 Lesson changed his classification to pharmacist. He served on Duperrey's round-the-world voyage of La Coquille (1822–25), of which he collected natural history specimens with his fellow surgeon Prosper Garnot and officer Dumont d'Urville.[1] During his visits to the Moluccas and New Guinea, Lesson became the first naturalist to see birds of paradise in the wild.[2]

On returning to Paris, he spent seven years preparing the section on vertebrates for the official account of the expedition: "Voyage autour du monde entrepris par ordre du Gouvernement sur la corvette La Coquille" (published from 1826 to 1839).[3] During this time period, he also produced "Manuel d'Ornithologie" (1828), "Traité d'Ornithologie" (1831), "Centurie Zoologique" (1830–32) and "Illustrations de Zoologie" (1832–35).[4][5] Lesson also published several monographs on hummingbirds and one book on birds of paradise:

In the field of herpetology he described many new species of amphibians[6] and reptiles.[7]

From 1831, he served as a professor of pharmacy, and following a series of promotions, became the top-ranking naval pharmacist at Rochefort (1835).[8] His experience as a ship's surgeon resulted in his two-volume "Manuel d'histoire naturelle medicale, et de pharmacographie" (1833), intended as a handbook for naval surgeons.[citation needed]

He became a corresponding member of the Académie de Médecine in 1828, later becoming a correspondent of the Académie des Sciences (1833).[9] He received the Légion d'honneur in 1847. René Primevère Lesson is sometimes confused with his brother, Pierre Adolphe Lesson (1805-1888), who participated on the Astrolabe expedition (1826-29) under the command of Jules Dumont d'Urville.[9]

Amphibian and reptile species described by Lesson[edit]

listed in the order they were described (only species still recognized are listed)

Amphibian and reptile species described in Lesson’s honour[edit]

listed in the order they were described (only species still recognized are listed)

Bibliography[edit]

By Lesson[edit]

About Lesson[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Persée Un pharmacien de la marine et voyageur naturaliste : R.-P Lesson
  2. ^ New Guinea: crossing boundaries and history by Clive Moore
  3. ^ Statement based on a translation of an equivalent article at the French Wikipedia.
  4. ^ Google Search (publications)
  5. ^ WorldCat Search (publications)
  6. ^ Amphibian Species of the World. http://research.amnh.org/vz/herpetology/amphibia/.
  7. ^ The Reptile Database. http://www.reptile-database.org.
  8. ^ Encyclopedia.com Lesson, René-Primevère
  9. ^ a b Lesson, René Primevère (1794-1849) Correspondance familiale

External links[edit]