Adolf Bernhard Meyer

Adolf Bernhard Meyer ( born October 11, 1840 in Hamburg, † February 5, 1911 in Berlin) was a German naturalist and anthropologist. His author abbreviation is " Meyer, A. ". Within the zoology he was particularly in the fields of primatology, bird and insect customer operates and undertook for this purpose in the early 1870s, extensive research trips in the Malay Archipelago. He had a second major creative period as director of the museum in Dresden.


Meyer studied at the universities of Göttingen, Vienna, Berlin and Zurich medicine and natural sciences. His broad interest in geography, ethnography, and last but not least the animal science brought forth in him the desire to travel into unknown areas of the world and to explore it.

A first major expedition led him in 1870 in the north of the island of Sulawesi, located on the equator, then still known as Celebes, and on the north neighboring Philippines. Two years later, Meyer traveled to New Guinea and crossed the island as the first at its narrowest point.

In 1874, Meyer became the successor Heinrich Gottlieb Ludwig Reichenbach's as director of the Royal Natural History Museum in Dresden and transformed it radically. First, he founded a year later in the course of progressive differentiation of natural and social sciences, the ethnological collections as a new part of the museum, which was then renamed in 1878 in Royal Zoological and Anthropological- Ethnographic Museum. This museum was the common ancestor of today's Museums of Ethnology and of Zoology Dresden, both of which emerged after 1945. The botanical collections of objects, however, were at that time under Meyer's leadership at the Royal Polytechnic Dresden and the Botanical Library of the Royal Library on.

Under aegis Meyers appeared in 1875 for the first time a museum's magazine that " releases from the Royal Zoological Museum in Dresden '. Around 1880, he translated the works of Philip Sclater Lutley, Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace, and became an advocate of Darwinian theories. In 1897, Meyer organized a large ornithologists Congress in Dresden and headed for this significant contributions to the theory of Artbegriffs at.

After Meyer had done in 1900 two longer study trips to major European and North American natural history museums, he had her brought up to the latest state of research, the Dresden Museum. Among other things, he separated the objects into a permanent collection for the public and a scientific study collection for research purposes, he also led a dust-and fire-proof steel cabinets.

Meyers transition into retirement in 1906 meant for this Dresden Museum, the end of an era. Five years later he died.


A variety of animals has been described by Meyer for the first time and also provided with a taxon. The bird species are features such as the Carola - rays Bird of Paradise ( Parotia carolae ), the pennant carrier ( Pteridophora alberti ), Princess Stephanie Bird of Paradise ( Astrapia step haniae ), the Red Caps - Mistelfresser ( Dicaeum geelvinkianum ), the Südinseltakahe ( Porphyrio hochstetteri ) and the Salvadori White-eye ( Zosterops salvadorii ).

In addition to his bird studies, he also dealt with primates. In this field he named, among others, the Sangihe Tarsier ( Tarsius sangirensis ), the Wolf guenon ( Cercopithecus wolfi ) and the Tonkean Macaque (Macaca tonkeana ).

In addition, he collected mainly during his research trips to Southeast Asia birds, beetles and butterflies. All this is now part of the collections of the Museum of Zoology Dresden. More collection tours led him through the Netherlands, Switzerland and Denmark.


The living in New Guinea, 1884 discovered narrow tail sickle head, one of the birds of paradise is called meyeri by Meyer as Epimachus.

The warehouse and administration building of the State Natural History Collections in the northern district of Dresden Klotzsche called Adolf Bernard Meyer construction. Here, next to the Museum of Zoology and the Museum of Ethnology and the Museum of Mineralogy and Geology Dresden, the Dresden State Museum of Prehistory and the Natural History Central Library Dresden their depots.

Writings (selection )

  • The inhibition nervous system of the heart. Berlin 1869.
  • Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace. Your First publications of on the " Origin of Species ", together with a sketch of your life and a directory of your writings. Erlangen 1870.
  • Pictures of bird skeletons.. 2 vols, Dresden 1879-1890 doi: 10.5962/bhl.title.51853
  • About the name Papua, Dayak and Alfuren. . Vienna 1882 ( online at, PDF, 1.3 MB)
  • Gedächtnißrede at James Cook held on March 8, 1879. Habel, Berlin 1882 ( digitized )
  • The deer antler collection to Moritzburg. 2 vols, Dresden from 1883 to 1887.
  • Publications of the Royal Ethnographical Museum of Dresden. 9 vols, Dresden from 1881 to 1903.
  • Together with George of the Gabelentz: Contributions to the knowledge of the Melanesian, Micronesian and Papuan languages ​​, a first supplem to Hans Conon 's from the Gabelentz works " The Melanesian languages ​​". In: Proceedings of the Philological and Historical Class of the Royal Saxon Society of Sciences Leipzig, Vol 8, No. 4, 1882.
  • Gurina in Obergailthal, Carinthia. Dresden 1885.
  • The cemetery of Hallstatt, Dresden 1885.
  • Album of Philippines types I. 1885.
  • Our capercaillie, black grouse and doctor blade and its variants. With illustrations Gustav Mützels. Vienna 1887.
  • Album of Celebestypen. Dresden 1889.
  • Album of Philippines types II Dresden 1891.
  • Together with Lionel William Wiglesworth: The Birds of Celebes and the Neighbouring Islands. Berlin 1898.
  • Album of Philippines types III. Dresden 1904.
  • American libraries and their aspirations. In 1906.
  • Roman town Agunt. , 1908.