Ferdinand Stoliczka

Ferdinand Stoliczka

Ferdinand Stoliczka (June 7, 1838June 19, 1874) was a Moravian palaeontologist who worked in India on paleontology, geology and various aspects of zoology. He died of high altitude sickness during an expedition across the Himalayas.

Early life

Stoliczka was born at Hukvaldy (Hochwald) near Kromeriz in Moravia. Stoliczka, whose father was a forester, studied at a German Secondary school in Kromeriz. Although Stoliczka published 79 articles from 1859–1875, he never wrote anything in Czech. It is believed that he spoke German at home. In his Calcutta years he was an important figure in the German-speaking community there.cite journal|author=Hruby, Jiri|year=2005|title=Ferdinand Stoliczka|journal=Birding Asia|volume=3|year=2005|pages=50–56]

Stoliczka studied geology and palaeontology at Prague and the University of Vienna under Professor Eduard Suess and Dr Rudolf Hoernes and his earliest works were studies on some freshwater mollusca from the Cretaceous rocks of the north-eastern Alps about which he wrote to the Vienna Academy in 1859. His scientific career proper started in the Austrian Geological Survey, which he joined in 1861, and his first papers there were based on work in the Alps and Hungary.

Career in India

In 1862 Stoliczka joined the Geological Survey of India (GSI) under the British Government in India after being recruited by Dr Thomas Oldham (1816–1878). In Calcutta he was assigned the job of documenting the Cretaceous fossils of southern India and published them in the "Palaeontologia indica", along with William Thomas Blanford. By May 1873 this work was completed with four volumes totalling nearly 15000 pages. Among these works was the osteological description of "Oxyglossus pusillus", a fossil frog from the Deccan Traps of Bombay. [cite journal|author=Stoliczka, F|year=1869|title=Osteological notes on "Oxyglossus pusillus" ("Rana pusilla" Owen), from the tertiary frog-beds in the Island of Bombay|journal=Mem. Geol. Survey of India|volume=6|pages=387-394]

He studied the geology of the western Himalayas and Tibet, and published numerous papers on many subjects including Indian zoology. He was also briefly (in 1868) the joint curator of the Indian Museum and also the Natural History Secretary of the Asiatic Society of Bengal. He was involved in editing the Society's journal.


He visited Burma, Malaysia and Singapore, and made two trips to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and the Rann of Kutch. His first Himalayan trip was in 1864 with F. R. Mallet of the GSI. In 1865 he visited again with an artist friend and a dog to the Ladakh Valley. He visited Kutch in 1871–1872 but noted that his geology work kept him from making many observations. He noted wild cheetahs from the region and also what is now Stoliczka's bushchat. In 1873 he joined an expedition organized by Hume along with Valentine Ball to the Andaman and Nicobar islands.

Last expedition

His third and last expedition was the most important expedition (1873–1874) during the height of the "Great Game", the rivalry between the Russian and British empires. Eastern Turkestan (Kashgaria) was a buffer state of prime importance. The British launched an official diplomatic enterprise—the Second Yarkand Mission led by (afterwards Sir) Douglas Forsyth to Yakub Beg, the ruler of Chinese Turkestan. The mission had seven sahibs, 350 support staff and 550 animals The expedition needed 6476 porters and 1621 horses and it is said that the Ladakh economy took four years to recover from the losses incurred.

The mission set out from Rawalpindi to Leh "via" Murree. The mission travelled past the Pangong Lake, Changchenmo and Karakash Valley onto Shahidulla and finally to Yarkand. They reached Kashgar in December 1873. On March 17, 1874 they began the return journey. They were to visit the Pamir and Afghanistan areas but could not do so due to the political situation and returned to India via Ladakh. On June 16, 1874 he had severe headaches as they crossed the Karakoram pass (5580 m). That night, he wrote....:"...upon this followed massive dolomitic limestone and this was overlain with blue shales. I must have a ramble in these limestones tomorrow."Captain Trotter reported that on the 18th "he started on horseback early in the morning to examine some rocks up the stream." He returned tired and complained of a headache. He breathed heavily and coughed all night. The native doctor diagnosed acute bronchitis and inflammation of the lungs and treated him with brandy mixed in a cough mixture. At 2 p.m. he drank some port wine and "his respiration grew slower and slower, and also did his pulse, and he finally breathed his last, dying so quietly that it was impossible to say at what precise instant he passed away".

Stoliczka died on June 19, 1874 at Moorghi in Ladakh. His dying request was that the birds part of the scientific results of the expedition be published by Allan Octavian Hume. This work was finally, however completed by Richard Bowdler-Sharpe seventeen years later.

Dr. H. W. Bellew did the post-mortem and confirmed "spinal meningitis deteriorated by over-exertion in strenuous endeavours after information, and the great height." Today this is generally believed to have been Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), a condition well known to Himalayan travellers. It manifests as pulmonary or cerebral oedema. Above 5000 m this is fatal in about 40% of the cases. Conditions that aggravate it include exertion, fast ascent and alcohol, all of which were present in his case.

Ornithological contributions

Stoliczka's interest in birds started only in 1864 when in the Himalayas and he was greatly encouraged by Allan Octavian Hume, the "father of Indian Ornithology". His first ornithological work was making large collections of birds from the Sutlej Valley.

Arthur Viscount Walden recognized his contributions and welcomed the geologist Stoliczka "to a high place among scientific ornithologists" but disagreed with Stoliczka's idea of adding new species due to small differences in plumage. Hume however supported Stoliczka and wrote a note in the journal, Ibis, against the "cabinet naturalists" of London who knew nothing about the geography of India. Hume shortly afterwards started the journal Stray Feathers and persuaded ornithologists in India to publish there.

Some of Stoliczka's new species were discovered to have been already discovered by the Russian zoologist N. A. Severtzov. A week before his death, Stoliczka wrote to Valentine Ball...: 'Please tell Waterhouse to order for the Asiatic, Severtzov's "Turkestanskie Jevotnie" immediately, if it is not at the Indian Museum. If they do not like ordering it, order it for myself through Truebner without delay. Do not forget, please.'

A granite obelisk is erected in his memory at the Moravian Cemetery in Leh. An obituary was published in Nature, July 9, 1874 by W. T. Blanford.

FERDINANT STOLICZKA, Ph D.Born in Moravia 7th June 1838 Died at Moorgo 19th June 1874 while returning from Yarkund with the British Mission to which he was attached as Naturalist. Though young when he fell a sacrifice to duty, he had already achieved eminence by his researches into the geology and natural history of India AND HIS EARLY DEATH is deeply regretted by the world of science and by the Government of India, who in recognition of his able and honourable services, have caused this monu- ment to be erected 1876

A partial list of his publications on birds include
* Stoliczka, F. (1873): Letters to the Editor. Stray Feathers. 1(5):425-427.
* Stoliczka, F. (1874): Letters to the Editor. Stray Feathers. 2(4&5):461-463.
* Stoliczka, F. (1874): Letters to the Editor. Stray Feathers. 2(4&5):463-465.
* Stoliczka, F. (1875): The avifauna of Kashgar in winter. Stray Feathers. 3(1,2&3):215-220.
* Stoliczka, F. (1872): Notice of the mammals and birds inhabiting Kachh [Cutch] . Jour. Asiatic Soc. Bengal 41(2):211-258.
* Stoliczka, F. (1868): Ornithological observations in the Sutlej valley, N.W. Himalayas. Jour. Asiatic Soc. Bengal 37(2):1-70.

Eponymous species

Some of the species named after him are listed below. Not all names may be currently valid.
* The snake genus "Stoliczkaia"
* Ladakh Banded Apollo, "Parnassius stoliczkanus" C. & R. Felder 1864
* Orange Clouded Yellow, "Colias stoliczkana"
* Stoliczka's crab spider ("Thomisus stoliczka")
* Stoliczka's Tic-Tac-Toe Barb ("Puntius stoliczkanus") / ("Barbus stoliczkanus")
* Stoliczka's Loach ("Nemacheilus stoliczkai")
* Stoliczka's Bushchat ("Saxicola macrorhyncha")
* Stoliczka's Treecreeper ("Certhia nipalensis")
* Stoliczka's Trident Bat ("Aselliscus stoliczkanus")
* Stoliczka's mountain vole ("Alticola stoliczkanus")

ee also

* Stoliczka Island (Остров Столичка)


External links

* [http://www.archive.org/details/scientificresult01indirich Scientific results of the second Yarkand Mission; (1891)]

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См. также в других словарях:

  • Ferdinand Stoliczka — Ferdinand Stoliczka. Ferdinand Stoliczka (Mayo de 1838 19 de junio de 1874) fue un paleontólogo y naturalista austriaco/checo nacido en Hukvaldy (Hochwald) en Moravia. Estudió geología y paleontología en …   Wikipedia Español

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  • Allan Octavian Hume — (June 6, 1829 July 31, 1912) son of Joseph Hume was a civil servant in British governed India, and a political reformer. With Sir William Wedderburn, he founded the Indian National Congress, a political party that was to later lead the Indian… …   Wikipedia

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