Sergey Ivanovitch Ognev and the formation of theriology in Russia

Irina Bakloushinskaya, Georgii A. Bazykin, Alexey P. Kryukov, Elena P. Kryukova
2012 Mammalia (Paris)  
Sergey I. Ognev (1886 -1951), one of Russia ' s most famous biologists, was both a theoretical scientist and a great fi eld researcher. Ognev ' s " Fauna Mosquensis " (1913) is the most comprehensive study of the mammals of European Russia after Pallas. Throughout his life, Ognev ' s work involved two important components: biological observation in nature and study of geographical distribution. His combination of excellent knowledge of natural habitats and morphology created a unique insight.
more » ... a unique insight. This effort resulted in seven volumes of " Mammals of Eastern Europe and Northern Asia " and " Mammals of the USSR and Adjacent Countries, " published from 1928 to 1950. This work included comprehensive taxonomic accounts, detailed morphological descriptions, geographical ranges and natural history data for 264 mammalian species and 635 forms. 4879 pages were illustrated, including almost 2000 photographs and drawings of skulls and dentition, a huge number of distributional maps made by the author and 56 color fi gures drawn by famous animal painters. The taxonomic position of a surprisingly large portion of forms classifi ed by Ognev have been confi rmed by modern molecular genetic approaches. Ognev also authored signifi cant books on ecology and fi eld photography. It is impossible to overestimate the signifi cance of Ognev ' s contribution to mammal studies; his " Mammals of the USSR ... " volumes remain one of the most cited works in the fi eld. Keywords: European fauna; history of mammalogy; mammalian systematics. By the beginning of the 20th century, because of such as P. Pallas, J.F. Brandt, N.A. Severtzov, N.M. Przhevalsky, A. Middendorff, P.P. Semenov-Tyan-Shansky and others, substantial knowledge had been accumulated on the mammals of Europe and various regions of Asia. However, these descriptive studies were not systematic. The 1910 and 1912 works by E. Trouessart and G. Miller were among the fi rst to change the approach to mammalogy (Denys et al. 2012 ). During this period and in subsequent years, Sergey Ivanovitch Ognev became known as one of the founders of Russian mammalogy (Figure 1 ) and left a legacy as one of the world ' s prominent mammalogists. Ognev was best known for his multi-volume monograph " The Mammals of USSR and Adjacent Countries, " the desk companion for many generations of zoologists. Early years Ognev was born in Moscow on November 5, 1886 into an old family of Muscovites. His father, Professor Ivan Florovitch Ognev, was a renowned histologist, one of the founders of the Moscow school of histology and the founder of the Department of Histology and Medicine at Moscow University (later to become the First Medical Institute). Sergey ' s mother, Sophia Ivanovna Ogneva, was a daughter of the passionate naturalist I.N. Kireevsky, scion of the ancient noble Kireevsky family, and was related to the famous slavophile I.V. Kireevsky, a philosopher and friend to prominent Russian philosophers S. Aksakov, N. Stankevitch and T. Granovsky. Sophia had a huge infl uence on her three sons (of whom Sergey was the second). His elder brother Alexander became a philosopher and an associate professor at Moscow University and was deeply interested in natural sciences. The Ognev family was closely linked with Moscow University through their many relatives, friends and acquaintances. These ties must have infl uenced the early development of Sergey ' s scientifi c interests. His love of nature also had roots in his family. Like G. Miller (Dunnum and Cook 2012 ), Ognev was from childhood a committed bird-watcher. While in gymnasium, he met the renowned ornithologist M. Menzbir, and this lasting acquaintance largely determined the direction and style of Ognev ' s research. In 1905, Ognev graduated from gymnasium and entered the branch of Brought to you by | Ariz Health Sciences Library Authenticated | Download Date |
doi:10.1515/mammalia-2012-0013 fatcat:3a7dfyiwobgqjcpmdm7y5jvuei