Herbert George Flaxman Spurrell

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Herbert George Flaxman Spurrell (20 June 1877 – 8 November 1918), the biologist, physician and author, was the only son of the architect Herbert Spurrell and Harriet Rebecca Blaxland. He was a nephew of the archaeologist Flaxman Charles John Spurrell and a member of the Spurrell family of Norfolk.

A student of Gustav Mann, Spurrell went on to discover and classify fish, reptiles and frogs from the Gold Coast and South America, and was a Fellow of the Zoological Society. Among the species named after him are Spurrell's Free-tailed Bat and Spurrell's Woolly Bat.

He is also commemorated in the scientific names of three species of reptiles: Amphisbaena spurrelli, Kinosternon spurrelli, and Micrurus spurrelli.[1]

During the First World War he served as a Captain in the Royal Army Medical Corps; he died of pneumonia at Alexandria, Egypt, on 8 November 1918.[2]

He was also the author of a number of books, both scientific and fictional:

  • The Commonwealth of Cells: Some popular essays on human physiology, 1901, Bailliere, Tindall & Cox
  • Out of the Past, 1903, Greening
  • At Sunrise: A story of the Beltane, 1904, Greening
  • Patriotism: A biological study, 1911, George Bell & Sons
  • Modern Man and his Forerunners: A short study of the human species living and extinct, 1917, George Bell & Sons


  1. ^ Beolens, Bo; Watkins, Michael; Grayson, Michael (2011). The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. xiii + 296 pp. ISBN 978-1-4214-0135-5. ("Spurrell", p. 250).
  2. ^ "RAMC profile of: Herbert George Flaxman SPURRELL M.A., M.B., B.Ch.". RAMC in the Great War. Retrieved 26 February 2016. 

Obituary, The British Medical Journal, 30 November 1918