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Preparation Quote of the Day


Ernst Mayr

The Darwin of the 20th Century

I went to the museum and I met Professor Stresemann, who greatly impressed me, even though I now have reconstructed, he was only 34 years old at the time. He demanded that he could see my daily notebooks of my bird observations, which I kept very carefully and made all sorts of sketches and everything else. Then he asked me questions about birds, one after the other, then he showed me specimens, and that was the hardest part because the specimens in the trays in the museum didn't look at all like the birds in the field. But anyhow when it was all finished, he said, "Well yes, I believe you, and I'm going to publish your observation." And he said, "What you saw was a Red-crested Pochard. That's a Mediterranean duck. Every once in a long while one of them strays across the Alps to Central Europe. The last one that did so before your observation " this was 1923 " the last one before that was in 1846." So it really was a strange thing. So he published it and a little friendship developed between myself and Stresemann, who was much taken by my incredible enthusiasm.
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