Croak and Dagger
September 16, 2013 12:40 AM   Subscribe

Taxonomy: The spy who loved frogs. "To track the fate of threatened species, a young scientist must follow the jungle path of a herpetologist who led a secret double life." [Via]
posted by homunculus (8 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
An interesting article, thank you. May I just say, full marks for the post title, homunculus.

My first thought was: "It ain't easy being Greene."
posted by MuffinMan at 1:14 AM on September 16, 2013 [2 favorites]

How fascinating! I really enjoyed this post - thanks.
posted by halcyonday at 2:14 AM on September 16, 2013

Plagiarist, eugenicist, antisemite, and whacked-out spy. An interesting specimen.
posted by pracowity at 2:19 AM on September 16, 2013

Too fascinating!

And yes, the post title is top notch.
posted by louche mustachio at 4:23 AM on September 16, 2013

I met Dr Taylor in 1965. A Costa-Rican aquaintance, on learning I was going to KU, told me to visit Dr Taylor, and that he was fascinating. He had stayed with his family while collecting in Costa Rica.

So one day I visited his tiny emeritus office. The filing cabinets were topped with jars of sea snakes (one I remember had a body about an inch thick, but a tiny head and about six inches of tiny 'neck'. He said this snake ate worms that lived in burrows on the sea floor)

His desk held several dozen preserved caeceilians (his emeritus study subject as noted in the article) and he pointed out two ten-gallon crocks that he said held several thousand unsorted snake specimens. He said that despite their fierce pointy teeth, caecelians do not bite in self-defense.

He was extremely voluble and enthusiastic and friendly.
posted by hexatron at 8:03 AM on September 16, 2013 [3 favorites]

This is a great story. Thanks for posting.
posted by pemberkins at 8:07 AM on September 16, 2013

What an incredibly different scientific world he lived in. There's almost no way he could what he did then today--which is good because the guy was kind of a dick (racist, anti-Semitic and, in true absentminded professor fashion, couldn't remember his own kids' names), but also bad because of the incredible amount of knowledge he helped share with the world.
posted by librarylis at 6:07 PM on September 16, 2013

I have met one of this species in the wild. They are the most glorious nutters.
posted by quarsan at 10:50 PM on September 16, 2013

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