Alexander Garden: A Linnaean in South Carolina and Captain Baker’s Eels

Stanley Finger and Marco Piccolino

in The Shocking History of Electric Fishes

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780195366723
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199897087 | DOI:
Alexander Garden: A Linnaean in South Carolina and Captain Baker’s Eels

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The previous chapter showed the first of the important North American contributions to the electric fish story, specifically a series of experiments conducted by members of the American Philosophical Society, including one showing that the discharge from an eel could jump a minute gap in a wire, even though no spark was perceived at that time. This chapter now turns to what transpired in South Carolina, and specifically the role played by Alexander Garden in the continuing saga of how these eels increasingly became to be perceived as electrical in America and in Europe. Garden was an ardent follower of Carl Linnaeus, and although not an experimentalist of the first rank, he was a superb naturalist with exceptionally sharp eyes who was very interested in classification and preservation, especially when it came to nature's oddities from the New World.

Keywords: South Carolina; electric eel; Alexander Garden; electricity; Carl Linnaeus

Chapter.  9947 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Neuroscience

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