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Steller, Georg Wilhelm

( Distinguished Biologist)

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Biography Steller, Georg Wilhelm
Virtually every educated person had heard about the fate of the sea, or the Steller's with cows as a bright example of a complete and rapid destruction of a large animal, a fallen victim to human greed and stupidity. But the little-known striking, full of dramatic events, the fate of a man named Georg Wilhelm Steller - researcher, discovered and described this remarkable animal.

Georg Wilhelm Steller was born March 10, 1709, Mr.. in Vindsgeyme, a small town in Franconia free (Germany). In five years, George joined the city school, where instruction was in Latin, and lasted 14-15 years. Steller, distinguished by a brilliant and rare work ethic, immediately became the first student in the class and retained the seat is for the entire study.

After graduating from high school in 1729, he entered the Theological Faculty at Wittenberg University, a former stronghold of Lutheranism. Heavy fire in Vindsgeyme in December 1730, Mr.. produced a heavy impression on the Steller, and he decided to leave his native city. By this time he had already realized that Vittenbersky University nothing else can give him. Steller visited universities in Leipzig and Jena, but in the end, in April 1731, Mr.. entered the theological faculty of the University of Halle. He attended the lectures not only on its faculty, but also on the medical, where he studied natural sciences. Zoology professor taught there Koshtvits, a distinguished anatomist XVIII in. He first began teaching zoology as an independent science. Under his leadership, Steller acquired deep knowledge of the anatomy of animals and humans.

Along with learning Steller had to earn a living. Thanks to Professor I. Juncker, a good friend of his elder brother Steller, Georg Wilhelm was a teacher at the famous school A.G. Franke at orphanage in Galle. Steller became the first professor of botany there. School Franke was a very unusual school, . consisted of an orphanage and elementary Germanic classes for children of rich and poor parents, . pedagogiuma - a sort of lyceum for the children of the nobility, . Latin School for Boys, . special school for girls, . Hospitals, . Pharmacies, . printing press and bookshop,
. The school enjoyed great popularity and prestige. At that time (1733), it is visited more than 2,100 students. He supervised a course of botany, who read Steller, Professor of Medicine F. Hoffmann - one of the best doctors in Europe at that time.

Steller fascinating lectures on botany attracted many listeners. However, he aspired to greater autonomy, which would give the position of professor of botany at the University of. On the advice of Georg Wilhelm Hoffman passed the qualifying exams in botany in Berlin and passed brilliantly. Hoffman has made great efforts to persuade King Friedrich Wilhelm in that it is important to the University of Halle, a professor of botany and that there is an excellent candidate in the person of Steller's, but all his efforts were in vain, the king did not agree. As a result, Steller was prepared for a different fate - full of hardship life of a traveler.

On the advice of the same Steller Hoffman decided to try his luck in Russia, where there was a vacancy of professor of botany at the Academy of Sciences. However, on a trip to Russia needed money that Steller's not there, and he decided to take a bold step. In 1734, Mr.. he reached Dantsinga, where there was the Russian army, and went to her surgeon. In November of that year, accompanying the wounded on the Russian ship, the scientist arrived in St. Petersburg. There he became close friends with a prominent educator of the Petrine era of Novgorod Archbishop Theophanes Prokopovich, played an important role in his life. Deep botanical knowledge, bright lively mind, a cheerful disposition Steller been fully evaluated Prokopovich, and the archbishop invited the young scholar to become a doctor, to which he gladly agreed. From Prokopovich Steller learned about the Second Kamchatka Expedition V. Bering and set about trying to explore the uncharted territories of Eastern Siberia. In St. Petersburg, then lived in a well-known traveler, naturalist, the first scientist who studied animals in Siberia, Daniel Gottlieb Messerschmidt. He told Steller about the incredible difficulties that involve travel to Siberia. However, this did not shake the intentions of the scientist, and through the application Prokopovich in February 1737, Mr.. He was hired by the Academy of Natural Sciences assistant professor of history at the Kamchatka expedition. In August of that year, the Senate approved the Steller's trip to Siberia.

Steller's go off in January, 1938. From St. Petersburg to Moscow, then on the Oka and the Volga to Kazan, then Ekaterinburg, Tobolsk, Kurgut, Narym and Tomsk, where the scientist, arrived in autumn 1938. In Tomsk, Steller very seriously ill (doctors feared for his life), but managed to recover and in January came in Yeniseysk, where at that time were academicians G.F. Miller and IG. Gmelin. In his book, 'Reise durch Sibirien' IG. Gmelin recalls Steller, noting its remarkable simplicity, rare stamina, performance and amazing adaptability to travel. However, this feature was written much later, and then, a year after the first meeting between the scientists caused a serious quarrel. From Yeniseisk Steller traveled to Irkutsk and the summer of 1939. traveled Transbaikalia, gathering a collection of plants and animals. Fearing for the safety of the material, the scientist sent collections from Irkutsk to St. Petersburg, is not acquainted with them academics, wintered in Krasnoyarsk. This is, in general, was a serious violation of subordination, but Steller was a man of extraordinarily proud and independent and thought that by concluding a separate contract with the academy, no need for intermediaries and the controllers. Especially since he was about the same age with the academicians and in no way inferior to them in knowledge. Gmelin, learned about sending collections of letters Steller, flew into a rage. Along with Miller, they were sent to the Senate and the Academy of Sciences of complaint about the conduct of associate. And when the Steller's luggage in January 1740, Mr.. arrived in Krasnoyarsk, academics, intercepted him, looked over the collection and wrote to the Office of the relation of Irkutsk, which require or permit the Steller's trip to Kamchatka, as it is in their confidence, not able to work independently.

But not in the nature of Steller had to retreat. In early 1740, Mr.. he had a meeting with M. Spanberg - second assistant on the Bering Kamchatka expedition, and Steller has the same permission to go to Kamchatka. In May, he arrived in Yakutsk, and from there went to Udomsk, and then in the Okhotsk. In September 1740, Mr.. Okhotsk Sea Steller reached Kamchatka. In Kamchatka scientist met with Behring, who treated him with complete indifference, but agreed to take on board as naturalist.

The famous journey began June 4, 1741, when the packet-boat 'St. Peter' under the command of Bering went from Kamchatka to America. During the expedition Steller kept diaries in which records information about the course of the ship encountered the islands, their flora and fauna, the natives, and much more.

Moving east and north-east Bering soon approached the ridge of the Aleutian Islands and then to the Alaska Peninsula, but managed to pass them by without even noticing - see the close ground fog prevented. Steller, however, wrote in his diary, 'sailed along the ground' and drew the attention brought by the officers on the north algae and departing in the direction of birds. But Bering not consider it necessary to listen to the advice of a naturalist, and Steller, whose pride was wounded, began to act boldly and arrogantly. In general, as they say, 'the scythe on the stone'. Sumey two researchers to agree among themselves, and the fate of the expedition would have been quite different and it could save the lives of many people, including myself captain commander.

But it so happened that only six weeks after the voyage, July 16, 1741, with 'Peter's' seen on the horizon, snow-covered mountain ranges. Four days later, the ship approached the island of Kodiak, which the Russian sailors then gave the name of St. Elias. Before the Bering it is not been no European. However, the captain had little interest in research of the island, and Steller had a scandal to get permission for at least 6 hours go into uncharted land. During this time he was able to describe the flora and fauna of the island, finding 160 species of plants. Steller said that on the coast of America fir forests grow up to 60o N, while on the shores of Kamchatka they are no longer at 51o. Such differences have been linked to more temperate climates of the American coast, there is a predominance of moist winds. Subsequently, his assumption was confirmed. Attracted the attention of Steller's and a new kind of raspberry with very large and tasty berries. 'It would be worth taking a few bushes of raspberries and bring in the box to the ground in St. Petersburg, not my fault that they did not have room, because I myself ... served on the ship too much space '- the researcher wrote, alluding to its uncomplicated relationship with the Captain-Commander. Later, on 30 August, the vessel was at anchor near one of the Shumagin Islands, so named by the name of the first victim of scurvy sailor. Here Steller found sorrel and possesses antiscorbutic property Gentian. He requested a sailor to make the supply of herbs for the whole team, but was refused. Quarrel with self-confident and sarcastic naturalist led Bering neglected reasonable proposals.

Among the animals found on Kodiak Island and in coastal waters, Steller said gophers, sea otters, seals, whales, large and small sharks. During his short visit to Kodiak Steller managed to describe and life of its inhabitants. Samih natives could not see then, they hid themselves, but scientists have discovered a kind of primitive dwellings and utensils. Meet Aboriginal travelers could only September 4. For singles sent the boat ashore. Steller left the description of the appearance of the natives, their clothing, jewelry and kayaks that differ astonishing ease and speed of the.

Finally, on 6 September 'St. Peter' weighed anchor and headed west. The way back was very difficult. Long voyage without fresh food has caused the majority of the team scurvy. About a month the ship was in the zone of storms, and sick people have suffered terrible tortures. Like last time, travelers are not lucky - they passed numerous islands of the Aleutian chain, and only two months later, the crew saw the land. Situation of the vessel was catastrophic, practically all the team members were sick and completely exhausted. Behring, is also gravely ill, decided to land on the shore of an unknown island, which later got his name. Shortly after landing the captain commander died.

And people from his crew continued an unrelenting struggle for life. Bering Island was a treeless, desolate and uninhabited land. People were forced to live in holes dug in the sand, covered with canvas, and suffered greatly from the severe storms and snowfall. The majority of the team members were sick (during the voyage and the winter killed thirty people) and get food for them was a big problem. The food consisted mainly of meat sea otters (sea otters) that's being hunted by those who could still walk. Ate everything, including the interior, as the portions were very small. Fortunately, the bank threw a large whale, and although it has some fat podtuh, and people ate it and even called this the carcass 'refreshment shop'. In these difficult conditions to show exceptional composure, courage and industriousness Steller. He hunted animals, gathered plants, because, as
botanist, well versed in them. Of the herbs he was preparing his comrades tea, which was very useful to them. In addition, since the first days on the island of scholars have begun to explore. He studied the topography and geology of the island, described its flora and fauna, assembled a large herbarium, and numerous collections of fish, animals and birds. Among the birds are of particular interest to scientists open endemic Bering Island - points more or Steller, Cormorant. This large, weighing 12-14 pounds, the bird because of the small wings almost was not able to fly. It is known only through science Steller's description - he was the only naturalist who saw her alive

. What will and courage possessed Steller, . if, . clearly assessing the situation, . nevertheless persevered to investigate the nature of the island! Subsequently, he wrote: 'I was one, . outdoors, . had to sit on the ground, . I interfered cold, . rain, . snow and often troubled beasts I did not have the necessary tools, . moreover, I did not expect, . that someday my work became known and brought someone benefit ',

Great value Steller research related to the study of mammalian behavior. He left interesting records of fox islands of Bering. There were a lot of. They penetrated day and night in the dugout and pulled everything they come across on the eyes, even these seemingly useless items for them, as knives, sticks, bags. When people to skin the dead animal, arctic foxes spun immediately and tried to snatch the meat straight from the hands. If meat is buried in the ground and put the top rocks, arctic foxes together, pushes them. They were dragged from the heads of people sleeping on air caps, blankets from beaver skins, pulling things out from under the head. To protect the animal from svezheubitogo foxes, people went to sleep straight at him, but contrived to foxes eat away the meat, even under a sleeping man. So people had to go to bed with a stick in his hand, that at any moment to be able to drive the insolent beast.

Especially in detail in his diary Steller described the behavior of marine mammals, and in particular sea cow. His observations on these animals, he began with the first days of winter. However, to get the first cow could only in mid-May. Steller wrote: "It has become so useful to us in the animal reached a length of 8-10 m and a circumference around the navel - 9 m. Weight, according to my calculations, including the skin, fat, meat and entrails, up to 200 pounds. The skull looked like a horse, covered with wool and meat, it is to some extent, especially the lips, like a buffalo head. Mouth instead of teeth on each side of two broad, longish, flat fragile bones, one of which is attached to the sky, the other - to the lower jaw. Both are numerous, obliquely at an angle passing borozdochki and convex corn, through which the animal grinds his usual food - marine plants ... The eyes of this huge animal no more than sheep, they are deprived of eyelashes. Ear holes are small, and external ear is not at all. The head is connected to the rest of the body a short neck and legs are composed of two joints, of which the deadline is very similar to the horse's leg. Through these pads, which are supplied from the bottom like a scraper from numerous short and densely planted bristles, the animal swims forward. Under the front legs are black breasts, . wrinkled, . two inches long nipples, . to the ends of which there are countless channels of dairy, . containing a great abundance of milk, . surpassing his sweetness and fat content of milk animals, . living on earth, . in other respects quite similar to them ..,

These animals, like cattle, live in the sea in herds; usually male and female move next; cubs are being driven to a. The back half of the body and must be constantly above the water. The only occupation of these animals - the search for food. They eat like animals, living on the earth, slowly moving, the feet, they rip off the sea grass with stones and constantly chewing her ... When eating, they constantly move the head and neck, as the bulls, and every 4-5 minutes peeks her head out of the water to collect the fresh air, accompanying this neighing like a horse. When the water recedes, they go to sea, and when the water arrives, they appear again on the shore and come so close that we could get and beat them with sticks. They have no fear of man '

. A detailed description of the sea cow, . and lions, . northern fur seal, . and sea otters (sea otters) Steller gave in his immortal work 'De bestiis marinis' ( 'On the sea mammals') - the classic work on teriologii XVIII century., . he began writing on the island of Bering,

When spring came to the island, survivors of Bering's expedition decided to build a new boat, dismantling the old pre -. Expedition members knew that the earth is near, as in clear weather from the west were the outlines of snowy mountains.

Construction of a new boat ended August 9, but he was too small even for 46 people, not to mention collected painstakingly collections. People had to take only the most necessary, research materials were left on the island of Steller. Two days later, after a ship is suddenly allowed to run: were thrown overboard blankets, pillows, dresses, barely managed to close up the hole. August 17 people saw the land - Kronotsky Cape, and on Aug. 26 entered the bay of Petropavlovsk.

Arriving to Kamchatka, Steller again energetically set research Peninsula. In the period from August 1742 to August 1744, Mr.. Steller along and across the Kamchatka proceeded and traveled and visited almost all the forts (settlements), collecting anywhere collections of plants and animals, producing ethnographic, historical and linguistic studies. In an effort to gather as much material on the Kamchatka Peninsula, Steller save on everything. Most of his travels, he walked.

Steller tried his best to prevent the harassment from servicemen Kamchatkans people and some officers who abused their power.

Considering Kamchatka important for Russia's economic edge, he advocated a more complete its economic development, where cattle breeding, construction of new Russian settlements. One obstacle to the settlement of the peninsula Russian was the high cost of their staple food - bread (grain had to drive from Yakutsk). To resolve this issue, whether settlers could do without bread, using local foods, Steller made a hike from the Upper Bolsheretsk Kamchatsky jail 242 miles long, during which I did not eat bread.

In August 1744, Mr.. Steller leaves Kamchatka and goes way back: to Okhotsk, and from there to Yakutsk and then. But in Irkutsk scientist expecting trouble. During his stay in Kamchatka Steller wrote to the Senate that some Midshipman Khmelevskii fails to comply with government regulations and oppressed natives. In retaliation Khmelevskii sent to the Senate a denunciation in which he accused Steller that he illegally without anyone's permission, released Kamchatkans, the main instigators of the rebellion against Russian. The Senate ordered the Irkutsk Office to interrogate strictly Steller. But after his explanation The local officials have found that the 'guilt Steller's not recognized', as 30 January 1746, Mr.. and sent a report to the Senate.

Scientist was carrying Kamchatka than collections of animals, minerals, and also herbarium specimens of rare plants for the botanical garden of the Academy of Sciences. He expected to arrive in St. Petersburg in the winter or early spring, but now his plans upset. Lost a lot of time in Irkutsk, Steller only in January, was able to get to Krasnoyarsk. In March, he arrived in Tobolsk, in April - in Solikamsk.

Set of samples, which was carrying Steller, thawing and began to deteriorate, and also disappeared and seedlings ... Academic nothing to do but stay in Solikamsk and plant seedlings - 80 he had collected rare plant species - in the garden Demidova.

Stopping for a few months in the Perm region, Steller returned to his scientific researches. In Solikamsk he returned in August and planned to continue their journey to St. Petersburg, but here he caught a courier, who arrived on the orders of the Senate in order to take the scientist back to Irkutsk for the production of his investigation. It turned out that the Senate received the news from Siberian order that Steller March 25 Verkhoturye passed through on their way to St. Petersburg, while a report of the Irkutsk Office of the innocence of the Steller reach the Senate had not yet. Accompanied by a bailiff scientist was forced to go back to Irkutsk. About Tara Steller caught up with the permission of the Senate to return to St. Petersburg, but to get to the capital of Russia Steller never managed. In Tyumen Steller died. He was only 37 years old.

Titanic labor Steller's not gone for science. Numerous drafts of the manuscript and writing the researcher were transferred to the Academy of Sciences (now stored in its archives in St. Petersburg). The materials used by many Russian academics: S.P. Krasheninnikov (in his book 'Description of Kamchatka Land'), Academician P.S. Pallas, KM. Baer, F.F. Brandt, п░.п╓. Middendorf. World famous compositions were Steller 'Description of Kamchatka Land' *, . 'Topographical and physical description of Bering Island', . 'Blogs sea voyage from the harbor of Petropavlovsk in Kamchatka to America and Events, . occurred on the way back ', . published in German, . and especially his famous work 'De bestiis marinis', . originally printed in 1751, Mr.,
. in Latin, and then, in 1753, translated into German. This work Steller's not only had a significant importance for the formation of national mammalogy, but also made an enormous contribution to world science.

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