Peter Claussen

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Peter Clausen (approximately 1801–1872), often misspelt as Peter Claussen,[1] and also known as Pedro Claudio Clausen and Pedro Dinamarquez Clausen,[2] was a Danish natural history collector born in Copenhagen, who was known for his work between 1834 and 1843.[2] His birth and death dates are unclear, sometimes recorded as 1804-1855[3] or as 1801-1872.[4] His botanical collections are present in many European herbaria. He sold animal fossils to the British Museum and the Jardin des Plantes in France.[3] 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. He worked with Jules Paul Benjamin Delessert.[1][5][6]


On account of fraud he emigrated to Brazil, and with Don Pedro I's army arrived in Rio de Janeiro.[3] He at first enlisted as a common soldier and later 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 the owner of a farm in the northerly neighborhood of Curvelo, some days' journey north of Lagoa Santa.

On his great journey through the Brazilian countryside in 1833-35, he chanced to meet the Danish naturalist Peter Wilhelm Lund accompanied by the German botanist Ludwig Riedel in October 1834.[7] There he used the name "Pedro Claudio Dinamarquez",[3] and stayed on Lund's farm 'Porteirinho' for about a week.[8] This meeting proved a turning point in both Lund's and Clausen's lives. On the farm were caves in the limestone hills, and these were exploited by the local people for fertilizer.[9] Visits to these caves by Lund uncovered numerous fossil remains. The study of these linked Lund forever to inland Brazil. For commercial reasons Clausen's acquaintance with Lund turned him into a natural history collector, both of plants and fossil animals.

In 1843 he accompanied Francis de Castelnau on his South American expedition.[3] After returning to Europe he began to suffer from mental problems and so was taken to a hospital in Dartford, London, where he died in 1855.[3][1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Clausen, Pedro Cláudio Dinamarquez (Peter) (1801-1872)". JSTOR Global Plants. Retrieved 2 May 2017. 
  2. ^ a b Stafleu, F.A.; Cowan, R.S. (1976–1988), Taxonomic literature: A selective guide to botanical publications and collections with dates, commentaries and types. Second Edition, Utrecht: Bohn, Scheltema and Holkema; Available online through Smithsonian Institution Libraries 
  3. ^ a b c d e f 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. 
  4. ^ The International Plant Names Index, retrieved 3 May 2017 
  5. ^ Urban, I. (1906) Flora Brasiliensis, 1(1): 12-13
  6. ^ Warming, E. (1880/1881) Botanisk Tidsskrift, 12: 125-126.
  7. ^ National Museet. "Lund's Brazilian Cave Studies". National Museum, Denmark. Archived from the original on 24 July 2010. Retrieved 13 December 2011. 
  8. ^ Walter, Harold Victor (1948). Pré-história da região de Lagôa Santa, Minas Gerais. Oficinas Gráficas da Papelaria e Tip. p. 9. OCLC 3369772. 
  9. ^ Buffetaut, Éric (1987). A short history of vertebrate palaeontology. Croom Helm. p. 163. ISBN 0-7099-3962-0.