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Ferdinand Stoliczka

ferdinand stoliczka barb, ferdinand stoliczka's bushchat
Ferdinand Stoliczka Czech written Stolička, June 7, 1838 – June 19, 1874 was a Moravian palaeontologist who worked in India on paleontology, geology and various aspects of zoology, including ornithology, Malacology and herpetology He died of high altitude sickness during an expedition across the Himalayas


  • 1 Early life
  • 2 Career in India
  • 3 Expeditions
  • 4 Last expedition
  • 5 Ornithological contributions
  • 6 Herpetological contributions
  • 7 Eponymous species and subspecies
  • 8 See also
  • 9 References
  • 10 Other sources
  • 11 External links

Early lifeedit

Stoliczka was born at the lodge Zámeček near Kroměříž in Moravia12 Stoliczka, whose father was a forester who took care of the estate of the Archbishop of Olomouc, 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 there3

Stoliczka studied geology and palaeontology at Prague and the University of Vienna under Professor Eduard Suess and Dr Rudolf Hoernes He graduated with a Ph D from the University of Tübingen on 14 November 18614 His early 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 Hungary3

Career in Indiaedit

Stoliczkia borneensis belongs to the genus named after Ferdinand Stoliczka The Geological Survey of India in 1870 Standing: F Stoliczka, R B Foote, W Theobald, FR Mallet, V Ball, W Waagen, WL Willson Sitting: A Tween, W King, T Oldham, HB Medlicott, CA Hackett

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 1500 quarto size pages with 178 plates5 Among these works was the osteological description of Oxyglossus pusillus,6 a fossil frog from the Deccan Traps of Bombay3

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 journal3


He visited Burma, Malaya 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 islands3

Last expeditionedit

Paleontologia Indica 1871

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 Thomas Douglas Forsyth and to Yakub Beg, the ruler of Chinese Turkestan3 The mission included 350 support staff and 550 animals3 The expedition also needed 6476 porters and 1621 horses and it is said that the Ladakh economy took four years to recover from the losses incurred3 The seven sahibs on the mission, in addition to Forsyth and Stoliczka, were Thomas E Gordon, John Biddulph, Henry Bellew, Henry Trotter, and R A Champman7

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 Report by Frederic Moore on the Lepidoptera collected on the mission

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 pm 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 later3

Dr Stoliczka left and Captain Biddulph right in Kashgar

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 case3

In his report on the expedition, Thomas E Gordon touched on the death of his "highly valued friend and talented companion" 8

Memorial at the Moravian cemetery at Leh

Ornithological contributionsedit

Stolickza's Bushchat at Kutch, where it winters

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 Valley3

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' Inscription on the memorial at Leh

A granite obelisk is erected in his memory at the Moravian mission cemetery in Leh An obituary was published in Nature, on July 9, 1874 by W T Blanford5

A partial list of his publications on birds include

  • Stoliczka, F 1873: Letters to the Editor Stray Feathers 15:425-427
  • Stoliczka, F 1874: Letters to the Editor Stray Feathers 24&5:461-463
  • Stoliczka, F 1874: Letters to the Editor Stray Feathers 24&5:463-465
  • Stoliczka, F 1875: The avifauna of Kashgar in winter Stray Feathers 31,2&3:215-220
  • Stoliczka, F 1872: Notice of the mammals and birds inhabiting Kachh Cutch Jour Asiatic Soc Bengal 412:211-258
  • Stoliczka, F 1868: Ornithological observations in the Sutlej valley, NW Himalayas Jour Asiatic Soc Bengal 372:1-70

Herpetological contributionsedit

In the scientific field of herpetology Stoliczka described many new species of amphibians and reptiles, and several species and a genus have been named in his honor by other herpetologists910

Eponymous species and subspeciesedit

Some of the species and subspecies named after Stoliczka are listed below Not all names may be currently valid

Parnassius stoliczkanus Triplophysa stoliczkai Paralaudakia stoliczkana
  • The snake genus Stoliczkia11
  • The ammonite genus Stoliczkaia
  • Ladakh banded apollo, Parnassius stoliczkanus C & R Felder 1864
  • Orange clouded yellow, Colias stoliczkana
  • Stoliczka's crab spider, Thomisus stoliczka
  • Stoliczka's barb, Pethia stoliczkanus
  • Frontier bow-fingered gecko, Cyrtodactylus stoliczkai11
  • Stoliczka's loach, Triplophysa stoliczkai
  • Stoliczka's bushchat, Saxicola macrorhyncha
  • Stoliczka's stripe-necked snake, Liopeltis stoliczkae11
  • Stoliczka's tawny cat snake, Boiga ochracea stoliczkae11
  • Stoliczka's treecreeper, Certhia nipalensis
  • Stoliczka's trident bat, Aselliscus stoliczkanus
  • Stoliczka's mountain vole, Alticola stoliczkanus
  • Mongolian rock agama, Paralaudakia stoliczkana11

See alsoedit

  • Stoliczka Island Остров Столичка


  1. ^ "KDO BYL KDO - čeští a slovenští orientalisté, afrikanisté a iberoamerikanisté" Libricz 1962-12-18 Retrieved 2013-11-19 
  2. ^ "Stolička Ferdinand : První Čech v Himálaji - Cestovatelské legendy a současní cestovatelé - cestování, poznávání, dobrodružství" Hedvabnastezkacz Retrieved 2013-11-19 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Hruby, Jiri 2005 "Ferdinand Stoliczka" Birding Asia 3: 50–56 
  4. ^ 1dead link
  5. ^ a b "Problem while searching in History of Science" Digicolllibrarywiscedu Retrieved 2013-11-19 
  6. ^ Stoliczka, F 1869 "Osteological notes on Oxyglossus pusillus Rana pusilla Owen, from the tertiary frog-beds in the Island of Bombay" Mem Geol Survey of India 6: 387–394 
  7. ^ 1917 "The Amir Yakoub Khan and Eastern Turkestan in Mid-Nineteenth Century" Journal of the Royal Central Asian Society Vol 4 No 4 pp 95-112
  8. ^ Thomas Edward Gordon 1876 The roof of the world: being a narrative of a journey over the high plateau of Tibet to the Russian frontier and the Oxus sources on Pamir Edinburgh, Edmonston and Douglas p 171
  9. ^ Amphibian Species of the World 55, an Online Reference researchamnhorg/vz/herpetology/amphibia/
  10. ^ The Reptile Database wwwreptile-databaseorg
  11. ^ a b c d e Beolens, Bo; Watkins, Michael; Grayson, Michael 2011 The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press xiii + 296 pp ISBN 978-1-4214-0135-5 "Stoliczka", p 255

Other sourcesedit

  • Kolmas, Josef 1982 Ferdinand Stoliczka 1838–1874 the life and work of the Czech explorer in India and high Asia Arbeitskreis Fur Tibetische und Buddhistische Studien Universitat Wien Vienna

External linksedit

  • 2 Scientific results of the second Yarkand Mission; 1891 Birds
  • Herbert Giess, Early Modern European Explorers at the Mountain Jade Quarries in the Kun Lun Mountains in Xinjiang, China
  • Genera proposed by Stoliczka
  • 1871 Paleontologia Indica Cretaceous fauna of southern India Volume 3

ferdinand stoliczka barb, ferdinand stoliczka's bushchat, ferdinand stoliczkae's barb, ferdinand stoliczkaia

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Ferdinand Stoliczka

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    Ferdinand Stoliczka beatiful post thanks!


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