Robert Mertens at work: a revealing Robert Mertens pondering on Oligodon

Mertens, R.

[Original manuscript on the variability of the striped kukri snake, Oligodon octolineatus (Schneider)].

Published [1969]
Item ID 72186

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[Frankfurt am Main, 1969]. Handwritten in ink on rectos of 23 uniform, loose, ruled leaves (20.8 x 14.8 cm), a photocopy of a single leaf of G. A. Boulenger's Catalogue of the snakes in the British Museum, volume II (1894) with a few annotations by Mertens; and another 14 leaves of several sizes, a few with printed text.

The original manuscript of Robert Mertens's work titled Über die Variabilität derOligodon octolineatus. The striped kukri is a snake from southeast Asia. Published in Senckenbergiana Biologia 50, pp. 339-345. Professor Robert Mertens (1894-1975) was one of Germany's foremost zoologists and herpetologists during the 20th century. In 1919, after completing his studies, he became first assistant of the Senckenberg Museum in Frankfurt am Main. In 1920 he became curator for herpetology, and in 1934 head of the zoological section. Finally, in 1947 he became director. Mertens was not only one of the foremost herpetologists of his time, but also one of the most productive of all time. This manuscript reveals some of his methodology. First he carefully wrote a draft in blue ink, usually with few original additions and corrections, the he made new corrections and additions in pencil. Also included is a second suite of leaves, dealing with individual specimens and their measurements, gender, localities, etc., as well as a typed sheet (letter head of the former Zoölogisch Museum Universiteit van Amsterdam) with a list of specimens (perhaps a loan form), and similar lists, on various types of paper, of specimens in the zoological museums in Berlin, Leiden, and Basel. All leaves in very good condition. Adler I, pp. 98-99; Schirner, 725.

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