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Record: oai:ARNO:508543

AuthorF.A. Jentink
TitleA monograph of the African Squirrels, with an enumeration of the specimens in the Leyden Museum
JournalNotes from the Leyden Museum
AbstractThe African Squirrels have never been monographically studied, although a large number of more or less important descriptions of different species have been given, which are to be found in different periodicals. The late Temminck in his »Esquisses zoologiques sur la côte de Guiné. 1853” was the first to give a revision of the Squirrels from West-Africa known at that time. The late Gray in »the Annals and Magazine of Natural History, 1867” published a Synopsis of the African Squirrels and Huet described in his »Recherches sur les Écureuils Africains 1880” the Squirrels of the Paris Museum. These three publications are the principal sources. There are further several separate descriptions of species by Kerr, Ét. Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, Desmarest, Smith, Fr. Cuvier, Rüppell, Wagner, v. Heuglin, Ogilby, Lesson, Waterhouse, Fraser, Peters, Le Conte, Du Chaillu, Gray, A. Milne Edwards, etc. More or less critical enumerations or compilations on this matter have been given by Fischer, Wagner, Schinz, Fitzinger and Trouessart. These several authors have described no less than fifty Squirrels inhabiting Africa! This large number is α priori somewhat suspect and a careful study has indeed led me to the conclusion that of this number only nineteen species may stand.
The origin of the prodigious confusion which reigns in this group of Rodents is not far to seek and will be obvious by reading Temminck’s Esquisses zoologiques and Gray’s Synopsis. It seems that Temminck suffered from a sort of Anglophobia, fatal for science, but which may in some measure be attributed to his efforts to keep the Leyden Museum ahead of the British Museum. This led him into several mistakes and inaccurate considerations and was also the cause of a violent attack by Gray in the »Synopsis” just referred to; Gray accepted only two of Temminck’s new species and accused him of having encumbered the list with doubles emplois, etc. It should be observed that Temminck had not seen the type-specimens in the British Museum and that he could not find or understand some of the original descriptions and that Gray on the other hand had not examined Temminck’s types in the Leyden collection; he found them however described »in Temminck’s usual general style”. Nearly all the succeeding authors, adopting either Temminck’s or Gray’s opinion, have proved by their several mistakes that the African Squirrels require a complete and impartial revision, based upon an examination of the types.
Document typearticle
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