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Re: Botanist Longevity in Borneo

  • Subject: Re: Botanist Longevity in Borneo
  • From: Peter Boyce <phymatarum@googlemail.com>
  • Date: Fri, 15 Oct 2010 05:38:13 +0800

Dear Ted:

Fascinating stuff!

Sir Hugh Low: 1824 - 1905; died less than a month short of his 81st year.


-----Original Message-----
From: aroid-l-bounces@www.gizmoworks.com
[mailto:aroid-l-bounces@www.gizmoworks.com] On Behalf Of Theodore Held
Sent: Friday, 15 October, 2010 1:48 AM
To: Discussion of aroids
Subject: [Aroid-l] Botanist Longevity in Borneo

Dear List,

Is there something about field work in Borneo that is healthy to human
longevity? If the narrative in the latest Aroideana is any guide, one
might want to think about spending some time there. If you are reading
this and are not a member of the International Aroid Society you
should change your ways, if only to be the recipient of our excellent

That aside, the other day I happened to peruse the lead article in
Aroideana 33 by Peter Boyce, et al. The introduction contains a nice
summary of the history of botanical exploration of Borneo. As I was
reading I was struck by the life dates of the early scientists there.
I have extracted them here to emphasize the life spans. The names are
listed chronologically according to birth year.

Pieter Willem Korthals (1807 - 1892, 85 years)
James Motley (1822 - 1859, a short 37 years, but death due to murder)
Odorado Becari (1843 - 1920, 77 years)
Henry Nicholas Ridley (1855 - 1956, 101 years)
Gustav Adolf Frederik Molengraff (1860 - 1942, 82 years)
Willem Karel van Alderwerelt van Rosenburgh (1863 - 1936, 71 years)
Anton Willem Niewenhuis (1864 - 1953, 89 years)
Johann Gottfried Hallier (1868 - 1932, 64 years)
Caetano Xavier Dos Remedios Furtado (1897 - 1980, 83 years)

Excluding the murdered Mr. Motley, and Sir Hugo Low, another
individual in the article for whom no life dates were mentioned, we
have an average longevity of 81.5 years. This is at a time when life
expectancy for a European male was perhaps on the order of 55 years
(my guess).

Isn't that interesting?

Of course, the article goes on and talks about the various aroids
found in Borneo, and includes loads of interesting pictures. And "The
Araceae of Borneo - The Genera" is only one of the many excellent
articles, covering 272 luscious pages, in our latest issue. One is
hard-pressed to understand why any plant lover would not want to be a
member and receive one of these books in the mail.

Ted Held.
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