DAVID HORN JOHNSON

Photo of Dave Johnson

Dave was born in 1912. He was a curator of mammals at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History from 1941 (except for World War II duty) to 1965, and head of the Division of Mammals from 1948 to 1965. He earned his PhD degree at the University of California at Berkeley under Joseph Grinnell and E. Raymond Hall. His dissertation was on the chipmunks of California, and he wrote a systematic review of the genus Eutamias.

During World War II, he was assigned to Naval Medical Research Unit 2 and stationed on Guam where he developed his interests in Asiatic mammals. His publications about mammals of Korea, Nepal, and the Pacific Islands were significant contributions to our knowledge of these areas.

In 1948, Dave was a key figure in the American-Australian Scientific Expedition to Arnhem Land in northern Australia.  His marksmanship, taxidermic skills, and talents as a bushman inspired stories among the Aboriginal communities with whom he worked.  They still talk about him today.

Photo of Dave Johnson in Australia
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He died on August 12, 1996, at the age of 83.
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Dave was elected to the Washington Biologists’ Field Club in 1943, and terminated his membership in 1967.