Which species is named for a student who famously upset his teacher?


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Also known as the “dense-beaked whale,” the Blainville’s Beaked Whale is named for Henri Marie Ducrotay de Blainville (1777-1850), a French zoologist who was a student of Jean Léopold Nicolas Frédéric Cuvier (1769-1832). After Cuvier published his classification of animal kingdom and his theory of successive creations of the globe, Blainville refuted his teacher’s claims and attacked his theories. The enmity never abated and for the final 20 years of his life, Cuvier had a battle of words and theories with his former student. The Cuvier’s Beaked Whale is named for the former teacher.




The Living Age, Vol. 51 (Boston: Littell, Son and Company) 1856, p. 417-418.