Mathurin Jacques Brisson

Mathurin Jacques Brisson (30 April 1723 – 23 June 1806) was a French zoologist and natural philosopher.

Brisson was born at Fontenay-le-Comte. The earlier part of his life was spent in the pursuit of natural history, his published works in this field included Le Règne animal (1756) [1] and the highly regarded Ornithologie (1760).[2]

As a young man, he was a disciple and assistant of René Antoine Ferchault de Réaumur. For a period of time he was an instructor of physical sciences and natural history to the family of the monarch.[3] He held the chair of physics at the College of Navarre, and from 1759 was a member of the Academy of Sciences.

A significant work involving the "specific weight of bodies" was his Pesanteur Spécifique des Corps (1787).[4] In his investigations of electricity, Brisson was opposed to the theories of Priestley and Franklin.[5]

He died at Croissy-sur-Seine near Paris.

Mathurin Jacques Brisson
Brisson Mathurin Jacques 1723-1806
Born30 April 1723
Died23 June 1806 (aged 83)
Known forOrnithologie
Scientific career
FieldsZoology, ornithology, entomology
Author abbrev. (botany)Briss.
Author abbrev. (zoology)Brisson


  • Regnum animale in classes IX distributum sive Synopsis methodica. Haak, Paris, Leiden 1756–62.
  • Ornithologia, sive Synopsis methodica sistens avium divisionem in ordines, sectiones, genera, species, ipsarumque varietates. Bauche, Paris, Leiden 1760–63, with engraved illustrations by François-Nicolas Martinet.
  • Supplementum Ornithologiæ sive Citationes, descriptionesque antea omissæ & species de novo adjectæ, ad suaquaque genera redactæ. Paris 1760.
  • Lettres de deux Espagnols sur les manufactures. Vergera 1769.
  • Dictionnaire raisonné de physique. Thou, Paris 1781–1800.
  • Observations sur les nouvelles découvertes aërostatiques. Lamy, Paris 1784.
  • Pesanteur spécifique des corps. Paris 1787.
  • Traité élémentaire ou Principes de physique. Moutard & Bossange, Paris 1789–1803.
  • Trattato elementare ovvero Principi di fisica. Grazioli, Florenz 1791.
  • Die spezifischen Gewichte der Körper. Leipzig 1795.
  • Suplemento al Diccionario universal de física. Cano, Madrid 1796–1802.
  • Principes élémentaires de l'histoire naturelle et chymique des substances minérales. Paris 1797.
  • Anfangsgründe der Naturgeschichte und Chemie der Mineralien. Mainz 1799.
  • Instruction sur les nouveaux poids et mesures. Paris 1799.
  • Elémens ou Principes physico-chymiques. Bossange, Paris 1800.
  • Elements of the natural history and chymical analysis of mineral substances. Ritchie, Walker, Vernor & Hood, London 1800.
  • Tratado elemental ó principios de física. Madrid 1803/04.


  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Brisson, Mathurin Jacques" . Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
  1. ^ Google Books La Regne Animal.
  2. ^ Brisson, Mathurin Jacques (1760). Ornithologie, ou, Méthode contenant la division des oiseaux en ordres, sections, genres, especes & leurs variétés (in French and Latin). (Volumes 1-6 and Supplement). Paris: Jean-Baptiste Bauche. doi:10.5962/bhl.title.51902.
  3. ^ Swainson, William. Taxidermy : bibliography and biography. London: Longman, Orme, Brown, Green & Longmans. pp. 139–141. Note that page 141 is before page 140.
  4. ^ Gallica Pesanteur Spécifique des Corps.
  5. ^ The English Cyclopædia: A New Dictionary of Universal Knowledge ..., Volume 6 edited by Charles Knight

External links

1723 in France

Events from the year 1723 in France

Anser (bird)

The waterfowl genus Anser includes all grey geese (and sometimes the white geese). It belongs to the true geese and swan subfamily (Anserinae). The genus has a Holarctic distribution, with at least one species breeding in any open, wet habitats in the subarctic and cool temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere in summer. Some also breed further south, reaching into warm temperate regions. They mostly migrate south in winter, typically to regions in the temperate zone between the January 0 °C (32 °F) to 5 °C (41 °F) isotherms.

The genus Anser was introduced by the French zoologist Mathurin Jacques Brisson in 1760. The name was derived by tautonymy from the specific epithet of the greylag goose Anas anser introduced by Linnaeus in 1758. Anser is the Latin word for "goose".The genus contains 11 living species, which span nearly the whole range of true goose shapes and sizes. The largest is the greylag goose at 2.5–4.1 kg (5.5–9.0 lb). All have legs and feet that are pink, or orange, and bills that are pink, orange, or black. All have white under- and upper-tail coverts, and several have some extent of white on their heads. The neck, body and wings are grey or white, with black or blackish primary—and also often secondary—remiges (pinions). The closely related "black" geese in the genus Branta differ in having black legs, and generally darker body plumage.


Brisson is a surname. Notable people with the surname include:

Barnabé Brisson (1531–1591), French jurist and politician

Barnabé Brisson (engineer) (1777-1828), French engineer

Antoine-François Brisson (1728–1796), French lawyer

Mathurin Jacques Brisson (1723–1806), French zoologist

Louis Brisson (1817–1908), French cleric later sainted

Eugène Henri Brisson (1835–1912), Prime Minister of France

Jean-Paul Brisson (1918–2006), French historian of Roman history

Gerry Brisson (1937–2013), Canadian hockey player and coach

Jean-Serge Brisson (born 1954), Canadian politician

François Brisson (born 1958), French footballer

Thérèse Brisson (born 1966), Canadian ice hockey player


Bucco is a genus of birds in the puffbird family Bucconidae. Birds in the genus are native to the Americas.

The genus Bucco was introduced by the French zoologist Mathurin Jacques Brisson in 1760 with the collared puffbird as the type species. The name is from the Latin bucca for "cheek".


Calicalicus is a genus of bird in the Vangidae family. It contains two species, both of which are endemic to Madagascar:

Red-tailed vanga (Calicalicus madagascariensis)

Red-shouldered vanga (Calicalicus rufocarpalis)The genus was introduced by the French naturalist Charles Lucien Bonaparte in 1854 with the red-tailed vanga as the type species. The name Calicalicus is from the Malagasy word Cali-cali reported by the French zoologist Mathurin Jacques Brisson for the male red-tailed vanga.


The genus Carduelis

is a group of birds in the finch family Fringillidae.

The genus Carduelis was introduced by the French zoologist Mathurin Jacques Brisson in 1760 by tautonomy based on Carl Linnaeus's specific epithet for the European goldfinch Fringilla carduelis. The name carduelis is the Latin word for the European goldfinch.A large number of bird species were at one time assigned to the genus but it became clear from phylogenetic studies of mitochondrial and nuclear DNA sequences that the genus was polyphyletic. The polyphyletic nature of the genus was confirmed by Dario Zuccon and coworkers in a comprehensive study of the finch family published in 2012. The authors suggested splitting the genus into several monophyletic clades, a proposal that was accepted by the International Ornithologists' Union. The siskins and goldfinches from the Americas formed a distinct clade and were moved to the resurrected genus Spinus, the greenfinches were moved to the genus Chloris, the twite and linnets formed another clade and were moved to the genus Linaria and finally the redpolls were moved to the genus Acanthis.The genus Carduelis is now restricted to three European species:

European goldfinch, Carduelis carduelis

Citril finch, Carduelis citrinella

Corsican finch, Carduelis corsicana

François-Nicolas Martinet

François-Nicolas Martinet (1731 - 1800) was a French engineer, engraver and naturalist.

Martinet engraved the plates for numerous works on natural history, especially ornithology. Notable in particular are those for l'Ornithologia, sive Synopsis methodica of Mathurin Jacques Brisson (1760-63).


Glareola is a genus of birds in the family Glareolidae. The pratincoles are a group of birds consisting of the seven species of this genus and the Australian pratincole, the only species of the genus Stiltia.

The genus Glareola was introduced by the French zoologist Mathurin Jacques Brisson in 1760 with the collared pratincole (Glareola pratincola) as the type species. The genus name is a diminutive of Latin glarea, "gravel", referring to a typical nesting habitat.


Hyaena is a genus comprising two of the living species of hyenas: the striped hyena (Hyaena hyaena) from western Asia and northern Africa and the brown hyena (Hyaena brunnea) from southern Africa. The brown hyena has sometimes been placed in a separate genus Parahyaena, or even included in the otherwise fossil genus Pachycrocuta, but recent sources have tended to place it in Hyaena.

The brown hyena's skull is larger than that of the striped hyena. The male brown hyena is slightly larger than the female, while the sexes of the striped hyena are equally sized. Both species are smaller than the spotted hyena (Crocuta crocuta), but larger than the aardwolf (Proteles cristata). They are predominantly scavengers.


The genus Hydrochoerus contains two living and two extinct species of capybaras from South America, the Caribbean island of Grenada, and Panama. Capybaras are the largest living rodents in the world. The genus name is derived from the Greek ὕδωρ (hýdor, water) plus χοίρος (choíros, pig).

Meles (genus)

Meles is a genus of badgers containing three living species, the Japanese badger (Meles anakuma), Asian badger (Meles leucurus), and European badger (Meles meles). In an older categorization, they were seen as a single species with three subspecies (Meles meles anakuma, Meles meles leucurus and Meles meles meles). There are also several extinct members of the genus. They are members of the subfamily Melinae of the weasel family, Mustelidae.

Northern giraffe

See Giraffe for details of how this proposed taxonomy fits with the currently accepted taxonomy of giraffes.

The northern giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis), also known as three-horned giraffe, is a proposed species of giraffe native to North Africa.

In the current IUCN taxonomic scheme, there is only one species of giraffe with the name G. camelopardalis and nine subspecies.Once abundant throughout Africa since the 19th century, it ranged from Senegal, Mali and Nigeria from West Africa to up north in Egypt. The West African giraffes once lived in Algeria and Morocco in ancient periods until their extinctions due to the Saharan dry climate. It is isolated in South Sudan, Kenya, Chad and Niger.

All giraffes are considered Vulnerable to extinction by the IUCN. In 2016, around 97,000 individuals from all subspecies were present in the wild. There are currently 5,195 northern giraffes.

Nutcracker (bird)

The nutcrackers (Nucifraga) are a genus of three species of passerine bird, in the family Corvidae, related to the jays and crows.

The genus Nucifraga was introduced by the French zoologist Mathurin Jacques Brisson in 1760 with the spotted nutcracker (Nucifraga caryocatactes) as the type species. The genus name is a New Latin translation of German Nussbrecher, "nut-breaker".

Pica (genus)

Pica is the genus of seven species of birds in the family Corvidae in both the New World and the Old.

The genus Pica was introduced by the French zoologist Mathurin Jacques Brisson in 1760. The name was derived by tautonymy from the specific epithet of the Eurasian magpie Corvus pica introduced by Linnaeus in 1758. Pica is the Latin word for the Eurasian magpie.They have long tails and have predominantly black and white markings. One species ranges widely from Europe through Asia, one occurs in western North America, one is restricted to California, one is restricted to southwestern Saudi Arabia, and one occurs across North Africa; the last two are often considered subspecies of the Eurasian. They are usually considered closely related to the blue and green magpies of Asia, but recent research suggests their closest relatives are instead the Eurasian crows.Two or three species were generally recognized, the yellow-billed and one or two black-billed ones. Recent research has cast doubt on the taxonomy of the Pica magpies. P. hudsonia and P. nuttalli are each other's closest relatives, but may not be different species. If they are, however, at least the Korean race of P. pica would have to be considered a separate species, too.

Southern giraffe

See Giraffe for details on how this proposed taxonomy fits within the currently accepted taxonomy of giraffes.The southern giraffe (Giraffa giraffa), also known as two-horned giraffe, is a proposed species of giraffe native to Southern Africa. However, the IUCN currently recognizes only one species of giraffe with nine subspecies.Southern giraffes have rounded or blotched spots, some with star-like extensions on a light tan background, running down to the hooves. They range from South Africa, Angola, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique. Their approximate population is composed of 44,500 individuals.All giraffes are considered Vulnerable to extinction by the IUCN.


Stilt is a common name for several species of birds in the family Recurvirostridae, which also includes those known as avocets. They are found in brackish or saline wetlands in warm or hot climates.

They have extremely long legs, hence the group name, and long thin bills. Stilts typically feed on aquatic insects and other small creatures and nest on the ground surface in loose colonies.

Most sources recognize 6 species in 2 genera, although the white-backed and Hawaiian stilts are occasionally considered subspecies of the black-necked stilt.

The genus Charadrius was introduced by the French zoologist Mathurin Jacques Brisson in 1760 with the black-winged stilt (Himantopus himantopus) as the type species. The generic name Himantopus comes from the Ancient Greek meaning "strap-leg".


Porphyrio is the swamphen or swamp hen bird genus in the rail family. It includes some smaller species which are usually called "purple gallinules", and which are sometimes separated as genus Porphyrula or united with the gallinules proper (or "moorhens") in Gallinula. The Porphyrio gallinules are distributed in the warmer regions of the world.

The genus Porphyrio was introduced by the French zoologist Mathurin Jacques Brisson in 1760 with the western swamphen (Porphyrio porphyrio) as the type species. The genus name Porphyrio is the Latin name for "swamphen", meaning "purple".


Tragulus is a genus of even-toed ungulates in the family Tragulidae that are known as mouse-deer. In Ancient Greek τράγος (tragos) means a male goat, while the Latin diminutive –ulus means 'tiny'. With a weight of 0.7–8.0 kg (1.5–17.6 lb) and a length of 40–75 cm (16–30 in), they are the smallest ungulates in the world, though the largest species of mouse-deer surpass some species of Neotragus antelopes in size. The mouse-deer are restricted to Southeast Asia from far southern China (south Yunnan) to the Philippines (Balabac) and Java. Following recent taxonomic changes, several of the species in this genus are poorly known, but all are believed to be mainly nocturnal and feed on leaves, fruits, grasses, and other vegetation in the dense forest undergrowth. They are solitary or live in pairs, and the males have elongated canine teeth (neither gender has horns or antlers) that are used in fights. Unlike other members of their family, the Tragulus mouse-deer lack obvious pale stripes/spots on their upper parts.


Turnstones are two bird species that comprise the genus Arenaria in the family Scolopacidae. They are closely related to calidrid sandpipers and might be considered members of the tribe Calidriini.The genus Arenaria was introduced by the French zoologist Mathurin Jacques Brisson in 1760 with the ruddy turnstone (Arenaria interpres) as the type species. The genus name arenaria is from Latin arenarius, "inhabiting sand", from arena, "sand".The genus contains two species: the ruddy turnstone (Arenaria interpres) and the black turnstone (Arenaria melanocephala). Both birds are distinctive medium-sized waders. Their length is typically between 20 and 25 cm, with a wingspan between 50 and 60 cm and a body mass between 110 and 130gm. For waders their build is stocky, with short, slightly upturned, wedge shaped bills. They are high Arctic breeders, and are migratory. Their strong necks and powerful, slightly upturned bills are adapted to their feeding technique. As the name implies, these species overturn stones, seaweed, and similar items in search of invertebrate prey. They are strictly coastal, prefer stony beaches to sand, and often share beach space with other species of waders such as purple sandpipers.

Their appearance in flight is striking, with white patches on the back, wings and tail.

The ruddy turnstone (or just turnstone in Europe), Arenaria interpres, has a circumpolar distribution, and is a very long distance migrant, wintering on coasts as far south as South Africa and Australia. It is thus a common sight on coasts almost everywhere in the world.

In breeding plumage, this is a showy bird, with a black-and-white head, chestnut back, white underparts and red legs. The drabber winter plumage is basically brown above and white below.

This is a generally tame bird and is an opportunist feeder. Unlike most waders, it will scavenge, and has a phenomenal list of recorded food items, including human corpses and coconut.

The call is a staccato tuck- tuck- tuck.

The ruddy turnstone is one of the species to which the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) applies.

The black turnstone (Arenaria melanocephala) has a similar structure to its widespread relative, but has black upperparts and chest, and white below. It has a much more restricted range than the ruddy turnstone, breeding in western Alaska, and wintering mainly on the Pacific coast of the United States.

There exists a fossil bone, a distal piece of tarsometatarsus found in the Edson Beds of Sherman County, Kansas. Dating from the mid-Blancan some 4-3 million years ago, it appears to be from a calidriid somewhat similar to a pectoral sandpiper, but has some traits reminiscent of turnstones. Depending on which traits are apomorphic and plesiomorphic, it may be an ancestral representative of either lineage.

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