Hobart M. Smith2019-02-12T03:10:14+00:00
Hobart M. Smith 1912-2013
On the morning of March 4, Hobart Smith, “Smitty”, passed away peacefully in Boulder, Colorado. With Hobart Smith’s passing, a generation of herpetologist comes to an end. Hobart contributed to the study and development of Mexican herpetology in peerless form. He pioneered herpetological fieldwork in Mexico in the 1930s and 1940s, research that provided him with enough material and interest in Mexico to publish the first completed checklist and keys to Mexican amphibians and reptiles, which he published with his major professor, E.H. Taylor. Later on, Hobart and his wife Rozella were pioneers in putting together an electronic bibliographic index of the literature pertaining to the herpetofauna of Mexico, Synopsis of the Herpetofauna of Mexico, which has taken more than 20 years, unfortunately, remained uncompleted.
Hobart promoted herpetology among several generations of youngsters in the US and other parts of the world with his popular books. He collaborated with a seemingly endless number of colleagues and students and had an especially encouraging attitude towards young scientists. His professional contributions are to be found in the fields of taxonomy, biogeography, evolutionary biology, comparative anatomy; totaling more than 1,600 articles and 29 books. Hobart described more than 100 new species, mostly from Mexico and Central America, and five species have been named after him. His library was donated to the Museo de Zoología, Facultad de Ciencias at UNAM.
Hobart was diagnosed with bronchitis a few days before his death. He entered hospice care by his own decision and donated his body to the Colorado Anatomical Society. A memorial service was held Saturday, 9 March, in Boulder, Colorado, and a memorial is expected to be held in Mexico in the near future, possible in collaboration with the Mexican Herpetological Society. He is survived by his son Bruce Smith, a daughter Sally Nadvornik, five grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren.
By Oscar Flores-Villela, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Biología Evolutiva, 12 March 2013