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Japetus Steenstrup

Japetus Steenstrup
Born March 8, 1813 (1813-03-08)
Vang, Thy, Denmark
Died June 20, 1897
Residence Copenhagen, Denmark
Fields Bacteriology
Doctoral advisor Template:If empty
Doctoral students Hans Christian Gram

Johannes Japetus Smith Steenstrup (1813–1897) was a Danish zoologist, biologist, and professor.

Born in Vang (Thy) on March 8, 1813 he held a lectorate in mineralogy in Sorø until 1845 [1] when he became a professor of zoology at the University of Copenhagen. He worked on a great many subjects, including cephalopods, but also in genetics, where he discovered the principle of the alternation of generations in some parasitic worms in 1842.

Steenstrup discovered (1842) the possibility of using the subfossils of the Postglacial as a means of interpreting climate changes and correlated vegetation change, which he called succession in the recent past.[2] Two of Steenstrup's students, Christian Vaupell and Eugen Warming further developed this line of research.

Japetus Steenstrup was a professor to zoologist Johan Erik Vesti Boas, who was also a student of zoologist Carl Gegenbaur, and Hans Christian Gram, inventor of the Gram stain. [3]

Together with Johan Lange, Steenstrup was the publisher of Flora Danica fasc. 44.

In 1857, he was elected a foreign member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. He died on June 20, 1897 in Copenhagen.


  1. ^ Brockhaus' Konversations-Lexikon. 14th ed., Leipzig, Berlin and Vienna 1894; Vol. 15, p. 219
  2. ^ Cowles, Henry C. (1911) The causes of vegetational cycles. Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 1 (1): 3-20 [1]
  3. ^ "Biographical Etymology of Marine Organism Names. B" (biographies of scientists with names beginning "B"), Hans G. Hansson, TJärnö Marine Biological Laboratory, Göteborg University and Stockholm University, webpage: TMBL-P-Etymol-B.
  • Steenstrup, J.J.S. (1842) Geognostisk-geologisk Undersøgelse af Skovmoserne Vidnesdam og Lillemose i det nordlige Sjælland, ledsaget af sammenlignende Bemærkninger hentede fra Danmarks Skov-, Kjær og Lyngmoser i Almindelighed. Kongelige Danske Videnskabernes Selskabs Afhandlinger, 9: 17-120.
  • Spärck, R. (1932) Japetus Steenstrup, pp. 115–119 in: Meisen, V. Prominent Danish Scientists through the Ages. University Library of Copenhagen 450th Anniversary. Levin & Munksgaard, Copenhagen.

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