John Van Denburgh

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John Van Denburgh
Van Denburgh John 1872-1924.png
Born (1872-08-23)August 23, 1872
San Francisco, California
Died October 24, 1924(1924-10-24) (aged 52)
Territory of Hawaii, United States
Residence United States
Alma mater Stanford University, Johns Hopkins University
Scientific career
Fields Herpetology, medicine
Author abbrev. (zoology) Van Denburgh

John Van Denburgh (August 23, 1872 – October 24, 1924) was an American herpetologist from California.


Van Denburgh was born in San Francisco and enrolled at Stanford University in 1891. As of 1895, he organized the herpetology department of the California Academy of Sciences. In 1897, he received a Ph.D. from Stanford University and earned a M.D. from Johns Hopkins in 1902. Subsequently, he practiced medicine in San Francisco, while again serving as curator of the herpetological collections of the California Academy of Sciences.

After the San Francisco earthquake of 1906 he was instrumental in rebuilding the lost herpetology collections through new expeditions and also acquisitions of other collections. In 1922, he published the two-volume The Reptiles of Western North America.

He died in 1924 while on vacation in Hawaii.

Taxa named in honor of Van Denburgh[edit]

Van Denburgh is commemorated in the scientific names of one species and three subspecies of reptiles: Aspodoscelis tigris vandenburghi, Diadophis punctatus vandenburgii, Sceloporus graciosus vandenburgianus, and Scincella vandenburghi.[1]


  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. ("Van Denburgh", pp. 271-272).

External links[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Jennings, M.R. (1997). "John Van Denburgh (1872-1924), Pioneer Herpetologist of the American West". In Pietsch, Theodore W.; Anderson, William D., Jr. Collection Building in Ichthyology and Herpetology. Special Publications. 6. American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists. pp. 323–350. ISBN 0-935868-91-7.