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AuthorsM. Güntert, F.D. Steinheimer, S. Gessner
TitleThe mystery of the Gouldian birds: an ornithological detective story
JournalZoologische Mededelingen
KeywordsJohn Gould; Emil August Goeldi; Robert James Shuttleworth; historical bird collections; Natural History Museum Bern
AbstractWhile compiling a computer database of the avian specimens of the E.A. Goeldi collection a considerable number of skins with original labels from John Gould were discovered. In an earlier inventory they had been registered as part of the Goeldi collection, but as there was no apparent connection with Goeldi, these skins were assumed to be part of an acquisition of birds from John Gould mentioned in the Natural History Museum Bern (NMBE) committee minutes of 1862 (Güntert et al., 1993). Subsequent investigation, however, revealed that these hummingbirds and other specimens were indeed given by the BMNH to Goeldi at the Museu Paraense in Brazil in September 1895, shortly after Goeldi had been appointed director of this institution. In addition, the proper Gould specimens acquired in 1862 could also be identified as an independent acquisition from those of Goeldi, and even a second donation of bird skins to the NMBE could be traced back to John Gould’s collection. No indication of a Gouldian provenance, though, can be found on the labels or in the catalogue. The combination of different archival sources, however, unquestionably proves their acquisition from Gould. The aim of this article is to elucidate the provenance of the specimens with Gould collection labels and to give an overview over the 180 vertebrate specimens originally purchased from John Gould. Among these some Australian specimens are of special significance because they may represent type material.
Document typearticle
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