Philip Hershkovitz

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Not to be confused with Philip Herschkowitz. Philip Hershkovitz_sentence_0

Philip Hershkovitz (12 October 1909 – 15 February 1997) was an American mammalogist. Philip Hershkovitz_sentence_1

Born in Pittsburgh, he attended the Universities of Pittsburgh and Michigan and lived in South America collecting mammals. Philip Hershkovitz_sentence_2

In 1947, he was appointed a curator at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago and he continued to work there until his death. Philip Hershkovitz_sentence_3

He has published much on the mammals of the Neotropics, particularly primates and rodents, and described almost 70 new species and subspecies of mammals. Philip Hershkovitz_sentence_4

About a dozen species have been named after him. Philip Hershkovitz_sentence_5

Life Philip Hershkovitz_section_0

Early life Philip Hershkovitz_section_1

Philip Hershkovitz was born 12 October 1909 in Pittsburgh to parents Aba and Bertha (Halpern) Hershkovitz. Philip Hershkovitz_sentence_6

He was the second child and only son among four siblings. Philip Hershkovitz_sentence_7

He reported that his father died when he was nine years old. Philip Hershkovitz_sentence_8

After graduating from Schenley High School in 1927, he attended the University of Pittsburgh from 1929 to 1931, majoring in zoology, before transferring to the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, which had more course offerings in zoology. Philip Hershkovitz_sentence_9

He was an assistant in the zoology department and did taxidermical work. Philip Hershkovitz_sentence_10

In 1932, he went to Texas to collect Typhlomolge rathbuni cave salamanders. Philip Hershkovitz_sentence_11

He wanted to also trap small mammals, which he found more interesting, but had no traps to do that. Philip Hershkovitz_sentence_12

On a chance visit to the Field Museum of Natural History (FMNH) in Chicago, he befriended the Curator of Mammals there, Colin Campbell Sanborn, who loaned him the supplies he needed. Philip Hershkovitz_sentence_13

This event was the beginning of Hershkovitz's long relationship with the FMNH. Philip Hershkovitz_sentence_14

As the Great Depression worsened, Hershkovitz was no longer able to afford life in Michigan, and in 1933 he decided to move to Ecuador, which he was told was one of the cheapest countries in the Americas to live in. Philip Hershkovitz_sentence_15

He collected a number of mammal specimens and learned to speak Spanish, supporting himself in part by trading in horses. Philip Hershkovitz_sentence_16

He returned in 1937 and again enrolled at Ann Arbor, graduating in 1938. Philip Hershkovitz_sentence_17

Subsequently, he became a graduate student there and got his MSc degree in 1940. Philip Hershkovitz_sentence_18

He then entered the doctoral program, but in 1941 he was awarded a Walter Rathbone Bacon Traveling Scholarship by the United States National Museum in Washington, D.C., to work in the Santa Marta area of northern Colombia, where he stayed till 1943. Philip Hershkovitz_sentence_19

Hershkovitz enlisted in the U.S. Armed Services during World War II and served the Office of Strategic Services in Europe. Philip Hershkovitz_sentence_20

In 1945, he married Anne Marie Pierrette Dode, whom he had met in France, and the same year he returned to America to continue his Bacon Scholarship studies in Washington, D.C., where his first child of three—Francine, Michael, and Mark—was born in 1946. Philip Hershkovitz_sentence_21

Curator at the Field Museum Philip Hershkovitz_section_2

In 1947, Hershkovitz was offered a position as Assistant Curator of Mammals at the FMNH and accepted, although it meant that he was unable to complete his doctoral studies. Philip Hershkovitz_sentence_22

He immediately went back to the field and stayed in Colombia until his curatorial duties called him back to Chicago in 1952. Philip Hershkovitz_sentence_23

His Colombian collections remained at the center of his research interests afterward, as he entirely revised many taxa of which he had found representatives in Colombia. Philip Hershkovitz_sentence_24

He had a good relationship with Chief Curator of the Department of Zoology Karl P. Schmidt and actively took care of his curatorial duties (appointed Associate Curator in 1954 and full Curator in 1956). Philip Hershkovitz_sentence_25

Schmidt retired in 1957 and his successor, Austin P. Rand, enjoyed a less positive relation with Hershkovitz, and the latter detached himself from the Museum's day-to-day affairs. Philip Hershkovitz_sentence_26

Ultimately, in 1962, Hershkovitz was replaced as Curator of Mammals by Joseph Moore and took the unprecedented title of Research Curator. Philip Hershkovitz_sentence_27

He worked in the field in Surinam in 1960–61 and in Bolivia in 1965–66. Philip Hershkovitz_sentence_28

Retirement and death Philip Hershkovitz_section_3

Hershkovitz retired in 1974, but continued his research unabated as Curator Emeritus, and in 1980–81 he worked in the field in Peru. Philip Hershkovitz_sentence_29

In 1987, a festschrift was published for him under the title Studies in Neotropical Mammalogy: Essays in Honor of Philip Hershkovitz, an honor that had been given to only three previous Field Museum scientists. Philip Hershkovitz_sentence_30

It included papers on some of the fields Hershkovitz had worked in, a biography and bibliography of him by Bruce Patterson, and a review, written by Hershkovitz himself, of the historical development of mammalogy in the Neotropics. Philip Hershkovitz_sentence_31

By 1987, he was still tireless, spending long days in the museum without even pausing for lunch. Philip Hershkovitz_sentence_32

He worked in Brazil on several occasions, the last in 1992, after which his health prevented him from going. Philip Hershkovitz_sentence_33

He died from complications resulting from bone cancer at the Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago on 15 February 1997, at the age of 87; he continued to work on his mammalogical research until two weeks before his death. Philip Hershkovitz_sentence_34

He was survived by two sons, a son-in-law, and two grandchildren. Philip Hershkovitz_sentence_35

Research Philip Hershkovitz_section_4

See also: :Category:Taxa named by Philip Hershkovitz Philip Hershkovitz_sentence_36

Hershkovitz published extensively on the biology of each of the twelve orders of Neotropical mammals, focusing generally on taxonomy and biogeography. Philip Hershkovitz_sentence_37

He wrote 164 papers, including both broad monographs and smaller contributions, and described 67 new species and subspecies and 13 new genera. Philip Hershkovitz_sentence_38

He was an independent researcher, writing most of his contributions alone; only three he co-authored with other scientists. Philip Hershkovitz_sentence_39

He participated in some fiery scientific debates, with views that according to Patterson's biographical note "brand him as something other than conciliatory or diplomatic". Philip Hershkovitz_sentence_40

In 1968, he published his theory of metachromism, which attempts to explain variation in fur coloration among mammals through the loss of one of two classes of pigments in the hairs. Philip Hershkovitz_sentence_41

Hershkovitz may have been most well known for his studies of primates, to the extent that many thought him a primatologist, but he was quick to point out that, as Patterson phrases it, "nothing could be further from the truth". Philip Hershkovitz_sentence_42

He had published on primates earlier, but did not give them special attention until the 1960s, when grant opportunities persuaded him to begin studying them, first Callitrichidae and later Cebidae. Philip Hershkovitz_sentence_43

In 1977, he published a review of callitrichids that according to Ronald H. Pine was "the most heroically monumental revisionary monograph ever devoted to a Neotropical group"; it was to be the first volume of a comprehensive treatment of living New World monkeys. Philip Hershkovitz_sentence_44

He continued with smaller-scale papers on cebids and assembled notes to continue his series on living New World monkeys, but eventually financial support ceased and Hershkovitz was relieved to be able to spend the last decade of his life studying the mammals that most "intrigued and animated" him—rodents and marsupials. Philip Hershkovitz_sentence_45

One of Hershkovitz's first papers was on rodents, describing two new Ecuadorean squirrels in 1938, and he continued to publish about the group, including reviews of Nectomys, Oecomys, Phyllotini, Holochilus, and scapteromyines between 1944 and 1966. Philip Hershkovitz_sentence_46

He played an important role in formalizing and defining the tribal groups within the sigmodontine rodents of South America. Philip Hershkovitz_sentence_47

However, his contributions at the time have been cited as examples of "vague notions of clade recognition", "phylogenetic transcendentalism" unsubstantiated by data, and "[misleading simplification] of a complex reality". Philip Hershkovitz_sentence_48

He was engaged in discussions on the significance of penis morphology in sigmodontines and on their origin. Philip Hershkovitz_sentence_49

Over eighty years old, he resumed studies of rodents in Brazil and discovered many additional new species. Philip Hershkovitz_sentence_50

Shortly after his death, head of the FMNH's mammal division Lawrence Heaney said "The information he gathered was the basis for much of the conservation planning that's being done now in most of the major habitats in South America." Philip Hershkovitz_sentence_51

In 1966, he published a Catalog of Living Whales; he had originally intended to review the whales living off the South American coast, but expanded the project to all the world's species. Philip Hershkovitz_sentence_52

This Catalog remains an invaluable resource for any student of cetaceans who needs to know the meaning of some obscure old name and has been called "a taxonomic Rosetta Stone". Philip Hershkovitz_sentence_53

Although Hershkovitz was not a marine mammalogist, a brief obituary on him appeared in Marine Mammals Science in 1998. Philip Hershkovitz_sentence_54

He treated many other mammals in his publications, including reviews of marsupials such as Gracilinanus, Philander, and Dromiciops, the tapirs of the Americas, some of the cottontail rabbits of South America, and also published extensively on nomenclature. Philip Hershkovitz_sentence_55

Honors Philip Hershkovitz_section_5

Hershkovitz was made a corresponding member of The Explorers Club in 1977. Philip Hershkovitz_sentence_56

In 1988, he was the Honorary President of the XIIth Congress of the International Primatological Society. Philip Hershkovitz_sentence_57

In 1991, the American Society of Primatologists named him a Distinguished Primatologist and the American Society of Mammalogists awarded him Honorary Membership. Philip Hershkovitz_sentence_58

Several animals have been named in honor of Hershkovitz: Philip Hershkovitz_sentence_59

Philip Hershkovitz_unordered_list_0


Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip Hershkovitz.