Clinton Hart Merriam
(December 5 1855-March 19 1942) was an American zoologist,
ornithologist, entomologist and ethnographer.
born in New York
City in 1855.
His father, Clinton Levi Merriam
, was a U.S.
congressman. He studied biology and anatomy at Yale University and went on to obtain an M.D. from the School of Physicians and
Surgeons at Columbia University
he became the first chief of the Division of Economic Ornithology
and Mammalogy of the United States
Department of Agriculture, predecessor to the National Wildlife Research
Center and the United States Fish and
Wildlife Service. He was one of the original founders of the
Geographic Society in 1888.
He developed the "life zones
" concept to classify biomes
found in North
. In mammalogy
, he is known as
an excessive splitter
proposing, for example, tens of different species of North American
in several genera.
In 1899, he helped railroad magnate E. H.
Harriman to organize an exploratory voyage along the
For a time
Merriam was a professor at Harvard University.
Some species of animals that bear his name are Merriam's Wild
Turkey Meliagris gallopavo meriami
, the now extinct
Merriam's Elk Cervus elaphus merriami
, and Merriam's
Chipmunk Tamias merriami
. Much of his detail-oriented
taxonomy continues to be influential within mammalogical and
Later in life, funded by the Harriman family, Merriam's focus
shifted to studying and assisting the Native American
in the western United States. His contributions on the myths of
central California and on ethnogeography were particularly
His sister Florence
Augusta Merriam Bailey
was a pioneering ornithologist who
introduced the idea of popular field guides for bird
He died in
Berkeley, California in 1942.
- Bean, Lowell John. 1993. "Introduction". In The Dawn of the
World: Myths and Tales of the Miwok Indians of California, by
C. Hart Merriam, pp. 1-12. University of Nebraska Press,
- Kroeber, A. L. 1955. "C. Hart Merriam as Anthropologist". In
Studies of California Indians, by C. Hart Merriam, pp.
vii-xiv. University of California Press, Berkeley.
- Sterling, Keir B. 1974. The Last of the Naturalists: The
Career of C. Hart Merriam. Arno Press, New York.
- Anon. 1942 [Merriam, C. H.] Ent. News
- Anon. 1942 [Merriam, C. H.] Science 95: 318
- Daubunnire, R. F. 1938: [Merriam, C. H.]. Quart.
Rev. Biol. 13:327-332