Josephus Nicolaus Laurenti

Josephus Nicolaus Laurenti ( born December 4, 1735 in Vienna, † February 17, 1805, ibid; well: Joseph Nicolaus Laurenti, original name with high security Nicolaus Joseph Lorenz ) was an Austrian physician, naturalist, herpetologist and zoologist.

After his graduation in 1754 he worked for several years as a field doctor without higher medical training before he in 1768 received his doctorate of medicine.

Laurenti was the author of the scientific work Specimen Medicum, Exhibens Synopsin Reptilium Emendatam cum Experimentis about venoms. Especially the first 110 pages of this book have been very important for Herpetology, as Laurenti here first called the class of reptiles and characterized. In addition, he described in 30 species of amphibians and reptiles ( turtles without ), including some of the most well-known generic names such as Bufo, Hyla, Iguana or Natrix. The Systema Naturae Linnaeus defined only 10 genera. In addition, in the first part of Laurentis work several European amphibian and reptile species have been described for the first time. In the second part of his comprehensive work of 214 pages, he dealt with the toxicity of Austrian amphibians and reptiles, but without gaining new insights into the mode of action of the respective toxins.

In the past, the authorship Laurentis was challenged in his work several times and the Hungarian scientist József Jakab Winterl attributed, but without solid evidence.


  • Specimen Medicum, Exhibens Synopsin Reptilium Emendatam cum Experimentis about venoms ( 1768), 214 pages 5 plates ( text online in the Göttingen Digitization Center )