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The Wall of the Dead:

A Illustrated Memorial to Fallen Naturalists

Based on work by Richard Conniff

Dalton (or Dorlton), George (17??-1769), a black servant and specimen collector for botanist Joseph Banks aboard Capt. Cook’s HMS Endeavour, he was frozen to death, age unknown, on Banks’s ill-considered collecting expedition in Tierra del Fuego.

Darling, Samuel Taylor (1872-1925), “Darling of Panama,” U.S. medical entomologist and member of the League of Nations Malaria commission killed, age 53, in the same car accident with Norman Lothian in Beirut, while researching malaria mosquito epidemiology in the Middle East.   The Lothian Scholarship and Darling Prize for malaria research were created in their honor.

Dawson, Elmer Yale(1918–1966), Smithsonian Institution phycologist, age 48, drowned while diving for seaweeds in the Red Sea.

Défago,Gérard (?-1942), Swiss entomologist working with Karl Roos on DDT.  Both died, ages unknown, in an unexplained car crash near Heidelberg, Germany. The Swiss chemical company Geigy, which would eventually sell DDT to both sides in the war, had apparently sent them on a clandestine mission to inform the Nazi government of their research.  The Germans hoped to use DDT against the potato beetle, which they apparently feared the Allies would employ as a weapon of biological warfare.  One theory is that the visiting Swiss scientists learned something that day about Germany’s own plans for biological warfare.

de Filippi, Filippo (1814 – 1867), an Italian doctor, traveler, and zoologist, set out in 1866 on a government-sponsored scientific voyage to circumnavigate the globe, died, age 53, in Hong Kong from dysentery, cholera, or liver problems, according to various accounts.  But his assistant said simply that  he“ fell, as a soldier on the field of battle, a victim to his love of Natural Science.”  De Filippi’s Petrel (Pterodroma defilippiana) is named in his honor.

DeGruy, Mike (1951-2012), a National Geographic cinematographer who introduced viewers to remarkable species and behaviors hidden beneath the sea, he died, age 60, in a helicopter crash while filming in Australia.

Denno, Bob (1945–2008)  influential entomologist, died of a heart attack, age 62, while collecting butterflies in Georgia.   Asked the point was of all his hard work on ecology, Denno once said it was “because of the jazz.  The ‘jazz’ is “when you figure something out, when you discover one small part of how life works on this planet.”

Devaney, Dennis M. (1938-1983) an invertebrate zoologist at Bishop Museum specializing in ophiuroids, disappeared, age 45, on a dive collecting trip at north end of the island of Hawaii.  Several species and the genus Devania are named for him.

Dodson, Stanley (19442009) , a University of Wisconsin freshwater ecologist who focused on zooplankton, community ecology, and population ecology of Daphnia, died, age 65,  following a bicycle accident in Colorado.

Doerksen, George (1940-1981), a Canadian entomologist specializing in dragonflies, was working on the northern border of British Columbia, when he was attacked and killed, age 41, by a grizzly bear.

Doherty, William (1857–1901), American lepidopterist and specimen hunter for Walter Rothschild, of dysentery, age 44, in Kenya’s Aberdare Mountains.

D’Osery, Eugene (1818-1846), a French traveler and collector, was killed, age 28, by Indians while a member of Francis de Laporte de Castelnau’s collecting expedition (1843-1847) to the source of the Amazon. D’Osery has two birds, plants, fish, and other taxa named after him.

Douglas, David(1799–1834), Scottish botanist and explorer, said to be the greatest plant collector ever, died age 35, on falling into a pit trap already occupied by a bull, in Hawaii.

Drummond,Thomas (ca. 1790-1835), Scottish naturalist who collected 750 New World species of plants and 150 specimens of birds,  had hoped to make a complete botanical survey of Texas, but died, about age 45, in Havana, Cuba, in March 1835, while making a collecting tour of that island, of unknown cause.