Jean Jaques Dussumier's independent voyages
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Other participant(s):
Jean Jacques Dussumier
Time period:
1816 to 1840
Georges Cuvier; Buffon
Area surveyed:
Indian Ocean
Expedition type:
Jean Jacques Dussumier was a ship-owner and merchant at Bordeaux who made at least eleven commercial voyages between 1816-1840 on his own vessels the Buffon and the Georges Cuvier, in the Indian Ocean and as far as the China Seas. Cuvier (1830) described the first 6 voyages of Dussumier which contributed most to the natural history collections of the museum in Paris. Dussumier's first voyage provided a specimen of a tailless monkey, with the head like that of a ‘Cynocéphale’ from the small archipelago of ‘Solo’ as well as many rare birds and beautiful highly priced shells. On his second voyage, he brought back a ‘cerf’ of the Philippines, then new to science as well as many rare birds from China and the Philippines, some of which were already described by Sonnerat, but which still did not exist in the collections in Europe. His third voyage provided a larger number of birds, fishes from the Ganges (many of which were used afterwards by Hamilton Buchanan), ‘Liliacées, and a large number of standing crops of a mulberry tree variety (mûrier). In the 4th voyage, Dussumier went to the Seychelles and brought back a considerable amount of fish specimens, the bulk of which were new to science, and some of which were only seen and studied by Commerson. In the 5th, Dussumier being interested particularly in the history of fishes, provided one of the most remarkable and richest collections of fishes. He obtained 200 species from the Malabar coast, and in the freshwaters of the Indian peninsula, especially in ‘Maissour’, most useful for the study of ichthyology, because then, the voyageur-naturalists always had difficulties obtaining samples from inland waters. All of these species were accompanied with notes on their natural living colors, on the period when they seem to appear in the areas were they were captured, and on their use as food and in commerce. In this same voyage, he observed small cetaceans still little known by naturalists and obtained 6 species of dolphins (Delphinaptères). Dussumier's 6th voyage was the longest and the most successful of all. In this voyage Dussumier brought back 1500 specimens making up 481 species of fish, all perfectly conserved complimented with notes on their taste, abundances, and all that he could understand about their life history in the various coasts they inhabited. This collection also contained 83 mollusks; 12 cephalopods; 7 pteropods; many salps; ‘firoles’; ascidians; 15 worms; 10 annelids; 251 crustacean specimens making up 79 species of which 39 were absent from the museum's collection at the time and 10 were new to science; 11 turtles of which 10 were new to science; 2 ‘sauriens’; 16 species of snakes; 42 dried bird specimens making up 32 species of which 15-16 were absent from the museum’s collections; 13 species or varieties of dolphins, in spirits and with their skeletons; 21 quadrupeds in spirits; 27 dried mammal specimens making up 15 species and of which 18 were housed in the cabinet d’histoire naturelle’ in Paris. He also brought back 12 large and live animals including 1 'ours jongleur'; 2 new species of ‘cerfs’; a gazelle of Bassora; female ‘cerf’ of Muntjac; the ‘hyène tachetée des tortues’, etc. (See Cuvier 1830).
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