This Day in History: 1732-01-11

Peter Forsskål was born on this day. A Swedish naturalist and orientalist, considered an apostle of Carl Linnaeus. He was the naturalist of the Royal Danish expedition of 1761 – 1767 to Arabia, where in addition to his role of describing new species he was tasked with recording their local names both in Arabic and in Latin characters. In many cases these names were used in his notes as a stop-gap measure and are now considered to be, “… a proxy to be later replaced by a Latin equivalent.” Regardless, when Descriptiones animalium, Flora Aegyptiaco-Arabica and Icones rerum naturalium was published posthumously, he died in 1763 during the expedition, many of his Arabic fish names were retained such as, Abudefduf, asfur, kasmira, louti, Siganus, and teira.