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Who was Taning?

Petersen, Mary E. {ZMUC} mepetersen at ZMUC.KU.DK
Thu Jun 6 09:36:35 EST 1996

Richard Ellis <rellis at tribeca.ios.com> Fax: (212) 243-6932 wrote:

>I' am trying to identify the "Taning" whose name was applied to a genus of
>large squids (Taningia), and also to a species of fish, Monognathus 
>Can anyone tell me who he was?

The following is plucked from an English-language obituary on Taaning by 
Arni Fridriksson (1959) in Journal du Conseil 24: 211-214, 1 portrait.  All 
the others at hand are in Danish.  I think this must be the person you are 

Aage Vedel Taaning (original spelling at his christening; the single letter 
A /a with what looks like a degree sign over it is a later change) (27 July 
1890 - 26 September 1958) was a Danish fisheries biologist and at the time 
of his death Director for the Danish Institute for Fisheries and Marine 
Research, President of ICES (International Council for the Exploration of 
the Sea), Editor of "The Carlsberg Foundation's Oceanographical Expedition 
round the World 1928-1930" and Editor of the "Dana" Reports.  He held many 
offices and was an active and  valued member of a large number of societies, 
committees, and commissions at home and abroad.  In addition to his research 
in fisheries, he was a competent marine biologist, ichthyologist and 
ornithologist, as witnessed by the topics treated in his 97papers.

Taaning's deep interest in marine research appears to have started when he 
first became associated with Professor Johannes Schmidt in 1916, and he 
cooperated with him until Schmidt's death in 1933.  In 1929 he received his 
doctorate from the University of Copenhagen, based on a thesis dealing with 
"Plaice Investigations in Icelandic Waters", which received much praise.  He 
appears to have enjoyed the respect and admiration of colleagues both 
locally and internationally, and had also received a number of orders: 
Commandor of (1) the Danish Order of Dannebrog [= name of the Danish flag], 
(2) the Icelandic Falcon Order, (3) the Norwegian St. Olaf's Order, and (4) 
the Swedish Nordstjerne [North Star] Order, and Officer of the Dutch 
Oranje-Nassau Order and of the French M`rite Maritime.

I can't see that Taaning himself worked on cephalopods, but in light of all 
he seems to have done, it seems natural to honor him in this way, also with 
fish names.  A complete list of his publications, most of which are in 
English, is given after the Danish-language obituary by Ragnar Spa"rck 
(1959) in Vidensk. Medd. fra Dansk naturh. Foren. 120: v-xiv, 1 portrait 
(different from that in the obituary by Fridriksson).

(In Danish, the Aa or aa is written as a single letter with a small circle 
over it, like the sign for angstrom; the alternative, mainly older, Danish 
useage is as two letters; according the the ICZN, only German letters with 
diacriticals were to be transposed in Latin names, not ones in other 
languages, thus the single "a" in Taningia, which really should have been 
Taaningia and pronounced more like Toeningia! - the aa has a long "o" sound 
like in toe.)

Hope this helps!

Best regards,

Mary E. Petersen
Zoological Museum, University of Copenhagen
Universitetsparken 15, DK-2100 Copenhagen O, Denmark
Tel +45-35 32 10 67 --- Fax +45-35 32 10 10
E-mail  <mepetersen at zmuc.ku.dk>

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