Johann Jakob Scheuchzer

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Scheuchzer, Johann Jakob


Born Aug. 2, 1672, in Zürich; died there June 23,1733. Swiss naturalist.

Scheuchzer studied in Altdorf and Utrecht. In 1696 he became assistant municipal physician in Zürich, later assuming the head position. In 1710 he became a professor of mathematics at the Gymnasium in Zürich, and in 1733, a professor of physics.

Scheuchzer studied the glaciers and geological structure of the Alps. He published a number of works on paleontology and geology. In his theoretical ideas he was an adherent of diluvianism: he believed organisms that were extinct had perished during “the flood.” He described many different species of fossil plants and animals and was one of the first to note the plant origin of coal. In 1700 he found the skeleton of a large fossil salamander (Andrias Scheuchzeri Cuvier) and mistook it for a human skeleton.

Scheuchzer was a member of the Leopoldina German Academy of Naturalists (1697).


Physica sacra . . . , iconibus aeneis illustrata procurante . . . , vols. 1–4. Augsburg, 1731–35.


Steiger, R. Johann Scheuchzer (1672–1733). Zürich, 1927.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Maik Goth [English] studies dragons in Edmund Spenser's Renaissance epic The Faerie Queene and Paul Michel [German] provides an overview of accounts of supposed dragon encounters in the natural histories of the seventeenth-century Swiss scientist Johann Jakob Scheuchzer. These essays document how the dragon appeared in European literary and scientific texts from the twelfth century through to the cusp of the Enlightenment.
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