Zug, George R. 1938–

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Zug, George R. 1938–

PERSONAL: Born 1938. Education: Attended Albright College, 1960; University of Florida, M.S., 1963; University of Michigan, graduated, 1968.

ADDRESSES: Office—Vertebrate Division, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, P.O. Box 37012, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC 37012-7012. E-mail[email protected]

CAREER: Author, herpetologist, and curator. Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Washington, DC, curator and curator-in-charge of vertebrate division, 1975–.


The Penial Morphology and the Relationships of Cryptodiran Turtles, University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, MI), 1966.

Geographic Variation in Rhineura floridana, University of Florida (Gainesville, FL), 1968.

The Distribution and Patterns of the Major Arteries of the Iguanids and Comments on the Intergeneric Relationships of Iguanids, Smithsonian Institution Press (Washington, DC), 1971.

Buoyancy, Locomotion, Morphology of the Pelvic Girdle and Hindlimb, and Systematics of Cryptodiran Turtles, University of Michigan Museum of Zoology (Ann Arbor, MI), 1971.

(With Coleman J. Goin and Olive B. Goin) Introduction to Herpetology, W. H. Freeman (San Francisco, CA), 1978.

Anuran Locomotion—Structure and Function, Smithsonian Institution Press (Washington, DC), 1978.

(With Patricia B. Zug) The Marine Toad, Bufo Marinus: A Natural History Resumé of Native Populations, Smithsonian Institution Press (Washington, DC), 1979.

(With Blair Hedges and Sara Sunkel) Variation in the Reproductive Parameters of Three Neotropical Snakes, Coniophanes fissidens, Dipsas catesbyi, and Imantodes cenchoa, Smithsonian Institution Press (Washington, DC), 1979.

(With Addison H. Wynn and Carol Ruckdeschel) Age Determination of Loggerhead Sea Turtles, Caretta caretta, by Incremental Growth Marks in the Skeleton, Smithsonian Institution Press (Washington, DC), 1986.

Lizards of Fiji: Natural History and Systematics, Bishop Museum Press (Honolulu, HI), 1991.

Herpetology: An Introductory Biology of Amphibians and Reptiles, Academic Press (San Diego, CA), 1993, second edition, 2001.

(With Carl H. Ernst) Snakes in Question: The Smithsonian Answer Book, Smithsonian Institution Press (Washington, DC), 1996, second edition, with Laurie Vitt and Jan Caldwell, 2004.

(With Carol Ruckdeschel and C. R. Shoop) Sea Turtles of the Georgia Coast, Cumberland Island Museum (St. Mary's, GA), 2000.

(With Carl H. Ernst) Snakes: Smithsonian Answer Book, Smithsonian Books (Washington, DC), 2004.

Contributor to books, including Amphibians: The World of Frogs, Toads, Salamanders, and Newts, edited by Robert Hofrichter Firefly (Tonawanda, NY), 2000.

SIDELIGHTS: With his longtime association as curator of the Vertebrate Division of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC, author and herpetologist George R. Zug has published many works covering the evolution and systematics of amphibians and reptiles, particularly species of the South Pacific, to fossil and extant turtles and Myanmar frogs.

In Snakes in Question: The Smithsonian Answer Book, Zug and coauthor Carl Ernst tackle both common and more unusual questions regarding the species. They cover everything from anatomy and physiology to folklore and the biology of venom, with the book's structure following the natural progression of questions. In a review for BioScience, David Duvall and Corey Fincher stated that "no better approach could have been used. A broad series of good questions with solid, detailed answers is a wonderful strategy for teaching readers about the biologically complex, although still poorly understood, Suborder Serpentes … the authors have hit the bull's eye." The critics went on to remark that "the handful of minor typos and oddities were trivial and did not detract at all from the quality inherent in this solid contribution to general vertebrate biology, herpetology, and human-snake anthropology." Overall, Snakes in Question was praised for providing a wealth of information that answers the questions typically raised regarding snakes, including what it means to be cold-blooded, which snakes are dangerous, and why snakes suddenly seem to appear in one's yard. Booklist reviewer Nancy Bent called Snakes in Question "a well-written book on an extremely popular subject," and stated that it "should be in every library."



BioScience, October 1997, David Duvall, Corey Fincher, review of Snakes in Question: The Smithsonian Answer Book, p. 624.

Booklist, January 1, 1997, Nancy Bent, review of Snakes in Question, p. 795.

Publishers Weekly, August 14, 2000, "In Defense of Frogs, Squirrels, and Dolphins," review of Amphibians: The World of Frogs, Toads, Salamanders, and Newts, p. 345.

Quarterly Review of Biology, December 1997, Louis L. Jacobs, review of Snakes in Question, p. 479.


GulfBase.org, http://www.gulfbase.org/ (July 26, 2004), "George Zug."

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History Web site, http://www.nmnh.si.edu/ (July 26, 2004), "George Zug."