Andrew Smith (zoologist)

Sir Andrew Smith ( born December 3, 1797 in Hawick, Scotland, † August 11 1872 in London) was a British military doctor of surgery, zoologist and explorer.

From 1821 Smith spent 16 years as a military doctor stationed in South Africa. At Fort Pitt, Chatham (Kent), he became medical director in 1837, in 1845 a Deputy Inspector General. In 1853, Smith was appointed for 5 years as Director General of the Royal Army Medical Department ( British Medical Services). In this long tenure, Smith was an authority in the field of Zoology of South Africa. In 1857 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society. For his services he was beaten by Queen Victoria in 1859 knighted.

Smith was the author of the monumental work Illustrations of the zoology of South Africa. ( 1838-49 ). In the chapter hippopotamus. he wrote about the withdrawal behavior of hippopotamus Hippopotamus amphibius (Linnaeus 1758). In it, he realized that before colonization of the Cape of Good Hope by the Dutch hippos there occurred everywhere in all the major rivers, whereas in 1849 were all gone except for a few Partly there. He also told that this kind great ingenuity proves during their migration, when danger threatens by settlers with guns. So massive as they are, they can still quickly great distances over land from one pool to the next, which is left in the dry river bed, to cover; but in the water they can best move, either in rivers or on the seashore. Smith has also been observed that hippos in areas inhabited by humans eating only at night; mainly grasses, but also scrub.


  • Illustrations of the zoology of South Africa. Smith, Elder & Co., London, 1838-49.