Who discovered the zebra fish?

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Case study number:
0003
Case study provider:
Thomas Garnett, Smithsonian Institution Libraries. garnettt@si.edu
Case study title:
Who discovered the zebra fish?
Actor(s):
Falmouth Public Library, Massachusetts, Jill Erickson
Location(s):
Massachusetts, USA
Objective:
Who discovered the zebra fish?
Actions:
"We recently were asked the question: who discovered the zebra fish? In searching the Encyclopedia of Life I kept seeing the phrase “Hamilton, 1822” next to the “Danio rerio”. Wondering who Hamilton was, I searched WorldCat and discovered that Hamilton was Francis Hamilton who had published in 1822 An account of the fishes found in the river Ganges and its branches. I looked at the EOL record and clicked on the Biodiversity Heritage Library link. One of the links was to a Hamilton book! In 1878 the book The Fishes of India was published which included a description and an image of the Danio rerio. Links were provided to the exact place in the text where the fish was mentioned, as well as to the plate with the fish itself illustrated. Not only that, but I could send the patron the exact link to both pages which described her fish. How remarkable it was to find this Harvard University book available so easily through the Biodiversity Heritage Library. A great success for our patron, and we looked like magicians bringing the book to her."