Pierre-Médard Diard

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Pierre-Médard Diard (19 March 1794 – 16 February 1863) was a French naturalist and explorer.

Diard studied zoology and anatomy under Georges Cuvier and assisted him in researches on the development of the foetus and on the eggs of quadrupeds. In 1816, he traveled to the East Indies.[1]

Journeys in South and Southeast Asia[edit]

In May 1818, he met Alfred Duvaucel in Calcutta. Together, they moved to Chandernagore, then a trading post of the French East India Company, and started collecting animals and plants for the Paris Museum of Natural History. They employed hunters who supplied them daily with live and dead specimens, which they described, drew and classified. They also received objects from local rajahs and went hunting themselves. In the garden of their compound, they cultivated local plants and kept water birds in a basin. In June 1818, they sent their first consignment to Paris, containing a skeleton of a Ganges river dolphin, a head of a Tibetan ox, various species of little known birds, some mineral samples and a drawing of a tapir from Sumatra that they had studied in Hastings menagerie. Later consignments included a live Cashmere goat, crested pheasants and various birds.[2][3]

In December 1818, Thomas Stamford Raffles invited them to accompany him on his journeys and pursue their collections in places, where he would have to go officially. He offered to establish a menagerie in his Bencoulen residence. By end of December, they left with him on the basis that would equally share the collected animals. In Pulo-Pinang, they collected two new fish species and some birds. In Achem, they collected only a few plants, insects, birds, snakes, fish and two deer. In Malacca, they bought a bear, an argus and some other birds. In Singapore, they obtained a dugong, of which they prepared drawings and a description that Raffles sent to the Royal Society. These were published in 1820 by Everard Home and planned for publication in the Histoire naturelle des mammifères by Étienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire and Frédéric Cuvier. After their arrival at Bencoulen in August 1819, Raffles requisitioned most of their collection and left them copies of their drawings, descriptions and notes. Diard and Duvaucel took leave, sent their share to Calcutta and parted.[2]

Diard set off to Batavia. From Java, he sent a large consignment to Paris comprising 95 mammal species, 126 bird species, about 100 snake species including skeletons and skins of Malayan tapir and Javan rhinoceros. He proceeded to Borneo.[2] By spring 1824, he was assumed to sojourn in Cochinchina.[4]

In 1826, he traveled and collected in the areas of Banjarmasin, Pontianak and Sungei Barito. In 1829, he joined the Natural History Commission of the Dutch Indies and was appointed its head in 1832.[5]

Diard travelled in the East Indies until 1848. He collected a number of natural history specimens, some of which were sent back the Coenraad Jacob Temminck at Leiden. He also helped contribute with the early Roman Catholic missionaries in New France.[citation needed]


Common treeshrew (Tupaia glis)

In February 1820, the Asiatick Society (Calcutta, India) published an article jointly written by Diard and Duvaucel entitled "Sur une nouvelle espèce de Sorex — Sorex Glis" including a drawing of a common treeshrew.[6]


The Paris Museum of Natural History received nearly 2000 animals collected jointly by Diard and Duvaucel during their stay of more than a year in the Greater Sunda Islands. Their consignments comprised 88 mammal species, 630 bird species, 59 reptile species and contained stuffed animals, skins, skeletons, drawings and descriptions of such notable species as the Malayan tapir, Sumatran rhinoceros, Javan rhinoceros, gibbons, leaf monkeys, two previously unknown fruit bat species, tree shrews, skunks, binturong and sun bear.[7] Several of these species were first described by French zoologists working at the Museum. Anselme Gaëtan Desmarest described the Malayan tapir in 1819; the Sunda stink badger and Paradoxurus hermaphroditus bondar, a subspecies of the Asian palm civet in 1820; the Sunda pangolin, the Javan rhinoceros, the Malayan weasel, and the genus of Semnopithecus in 1822.

In 1821, Raffles published descriptions of the species jointly collected by Diard and Duvaucel in Sumatra, including first descriptions of the sun bear, the binturong, the crab-eating macaque, the Sumatran surili, the siamang gibbon, the silvery lutung, the large bamboo rat, the large treeshrew and the cream-coloured giant squirrel.[8]

Coilodera diardi

Diard collected the first specimen of the Borneo freshwater crocodile first described as Crocodylus raninus by Salomon Müller and Hermann Schlegel in 1844. Schlegel also first described several snake species collected by Diard in Borneo.[5]

Diard is commemorated in the scientific names of a number of animals:

Diard also collected the first specimen of a saltwater crocodile from Brunei.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Deleuze, J. P. F. (1823) History and description of the Royal Museum of Natural History, published by order of the administration of that establishment (Volume 2) Paris, A. Royer
  2. ^ a b c Cuvier, G. (1821). "Notice sur les voyages de MM Diard et Duvaucel, naturalistes français, dans les Indes orientales et dans les îles de la Sonde". Revue encyclopédique. X (Juin 1821): 472–482. 
  3. ^ Anonymous (1824). "Notice sur le voyage de M. A. Duvaucel, dans l'Inde". Journal asiatique. Société Asiatique. IV (Mars 1824): 137–145. 
  4. ^ Cuvier, F. (1824). "Notices sur les voyages de M. Duvaucel". Revue encyclopédique. XXI (Février 1824): 257–267. 
  5. ^ a b Das, I. (2004) Collecting in the "Land Below the Wind", Herpetological Explorations of Borneo. Bonner zoologische Beiträge, Band 52 (2003), Heft 3/4: 231–243
  6. ^ Diard, P.M., Duvaucel, A. (1820) "Sur une nouvelle espèce de Sorex — Sorex Glis". Asiatick researches, or, Transactions of the society instituted in Bengal, for inquiring into the history and antiquities, the arts, sciences, and literature of Asia, Volume 14. Bengal Military Orphans Press, 1822
  7. ^ Anonymous (1824). "Troisieme Notice sur le voyage de M. A. Duvaucel, dans l'Inde, ayant pour objet plus particulier, l'histoire naturelle". Journal asiatique. Société Asiatique. IV (Novembre 1824): 277–285. 
  8. ^ Raffles, T. S. (1821). "Descriptive Catalogue of a Zoological Collection made on account of the Honourable East India Company, in the Island of Sumatra and its Vicinity, under the Direction of Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, Lieutenant-Governor of Fort Marlborough; with additional Notices illustrative of the Natural History of those Countries.". The Transactions of the Linnean Society of London. Linnean Society of London. XIII: 239–340. 
  9. ^ Wozencraft, W.C. (2005). "Order Carnivora". In Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M. Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 532–628. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494. 
  10. ^ Wozencraft, W.C. (2005). "Order Carnivora". In Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M. Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 532–628. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494. 
  11. ^ Wozencraft, W.C. (2005). "Order Carnivora". In Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M. Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 532–628. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.