The Zoologist/4th series, vol 1 (1897)/Issue 671/Obituary: Edward Drinker Cope

Obituary: Edward Drinker Cope (1897)
W.L. Distant (ed.)
4047811Obituary: Edward Drinker Cope1897W.L. Distant (ed.)


Edward Drinker Cope.

By the death of Prof. Cope, of Philadelphia, which took place on April 12th, Biology in America has sustained its greatest loss since the decease of Agassiz, and as zoologist, as well as both geologist and palaeontologist, his life work demands recognition wherever zoology is a cultivated science and pursuit.

Prof. Cope was born in Philadelphia on July 28th, 1840, took his degree of Ph.D. at Heidelberg in 1864, and during the remainder of a busy life effected much for the ever-growing knowledge of both living and extinct animal life in his own land. He became successively Professor of Natural Science in Haverford College, a member of many of the well-known United States Geological Expeditions, Vertebrate Palæontologist to the Hayden Survey, Professor of Geology and Mineralogy at Pennsylvania University, and subsequently Professor of Zoology and Comparative Anatomy. He was also a chief editor of our esteemed contemporary the 'American Naturalist,' and in 1895 President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

It is impossible here to fully refer to his zoological work, which lay among the vertebrata, and which has formed the subject of very many papers, and also the contents of several handsome volumes. These are sometimes somewhat overlooked by referring only to his philosophical opinions. It is not infrequent to see a popular zoological generaliser considered as possessing the technical knowledge of a zoologist, while as often a specialist who indulges in the philosophical discussion of his subject is looked upon chiefly as a man of views and theories. Prof. Cope combined both qualities. To a most exhaustive and accurate knowledge of his subject, both living and fossil, was added a power of drawing conclusions and advancing opinions which, while always displaying a great intellect, were frequently considered heretical by the holders and promulgators of different views and other theories on organic evolution. His recent work on 'The Primary Factors of Organic Evolution' is a case in point, and it is well to remember that to really keep abreast of the current biological thought of the day it is necessary to read and study Cope and Eimer as well as Wallace and Weismann.

We have also to record the deaths of the following zoologists: —

Major Charles E. Bendire, who died at Jacksonville, Florida, U.S.A., on February 4th, was born in Hesse Darmstadt, on April 27th, 1836, and went to America in 1852, where he undertook considerable military service. As an ornithologist he will be perhaps best remembered by his well-known 'Life Histories of North American Birds,' of which the second volume recently appeared, leaving the whole work, however, less than half completed. We learn from 'The Auk' that his immense collection of birds' eggs, gathered during his military wanderings, long since became the property of the United States National Museum, where their donor had held for some years the position of Honorary Curator of the Department of Oology.

Sir Edward Newton, K.C.M.G., died at Lowestoft on April 25th, in the sixty-fifth year of his age. He held several important Colonial Government appointments, and he was fortunately a member of the mission sent by the government of Mauritius to congratulate the late King of Madagascar on his accession to the throne, when, according to 'Nature,' being an ardent ornithologist, he seized the opportunity (as he did during a subsequent visit made with that express purpose) to materially increase the knowledge of the very peculiar fauna of that country, which he was almost the first English naturalist to investigate on the spot. He also largely increased our knowledge of the zoology of the Mascarene Islands, and it was mainly due to his exertions that nearly complete skeletons of the "Solitaire" of Rodriguez were recovered from the caves of that island, as described in the 'Philosophical Transactions' of the Royal Society. Sir Edward was also one of the founders of the British Ornithologists' Union.

Mr. Hugh Nevill, F.Z.S., of the Ceylon Civil Service, died at Hyères on April 10th. Mr. Nevill had been an indefatigable collector during twenty seven years' service, had discovered and described many new species in zoology, and had contributed many specimens to our museums. Quoting from the 'Athenaeum,' "his collection of birds passed to the late Marquis of Tweeddale; but a large and very complete collection of certain genera of shells remains."

This work was published before January 1, 1929, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.

Public domainPublic domainfalsefalse