Reuss, August Emanuel

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(b. Bilina [German Bilin], Bohemia [now Czechoslovakia], 8 July 1811; d. Vienna, Austria, 26 November 1873)

micro-paleontology, paleontology, stratigraphy.

Reuss’s father, Franz Ambrosius Reuss, was a physician at Bilin, a spa in northern Bohemia. He was also a serious student of geology and mineralogy who contributed considerably to the geological exploration of Bohemia. He tutored his son in these subjects and also in the standard curriculum.

Reuss completed his secondary schooling at the University of Prague, where he studied philosophy, science, and medicine from 1825 to 1833, receiving his M.D. degree on 10 November 1833. Following his father’s death, Reuss took over the medical practice in Bilin. In his free time, however, he studied mineralogy, geology, and paleontology; and as early as 1837 he was able to report his first mineralogical and geological findings in northern Bohemia to the Vereinigung der Naturforscher in Prague. These findings inspired him to continue his research, and in 1849 he accepted the chair of mineralogy of the University of Prague. Thus he could give up his medical practice and devote himself entirely to science.

In 1863 Reuss was appointed professor of mineralogy at the University of Vienna, where he remained until his death. He accepted this post (as he had done at Prague) even though his principal areas of research were paleontology and stratigraphy—until the middle of the nineteenth century there were no chairs in paleontology, and geology and mineralogy still constituted a single field.

On 16 February 1841 Reuss married Anna Schubert, who also came from Bilin; they had two sons and three daughters. During the last years of his life, Reuss was forced because of ill health to curtail his academic activities. He died of a lung hemorrhage.

Reuss’s scientific achievements brought him many honors, including honorary doctorates from the universities of Breslau and Vienna. He was rector of the University of Prague in 1859–1860, and he was knighted by the Emperor Franz Joseph in 1870. Thereafter he published under the name of A. E. Ritter von Reuss.

In his first publications Reuss treated topics related to the geology and mineralogy of the region around Bilin; in fact, some sixty titles, just over half of his total production, were devoted to this, his native region. His interests soon turned to paleontology, however, the subject to which he made his greatest contribution. In the monograph Die Versteinerungen der böhmischen Krede-Fornmation (1845–1846) he described and illustrated 776 species in fifty-one tables, arranged according to their stratigraphic occurrence. Even in this early work, which is still useful, he devoted particular attention to the micro-fossils (particularly Foraminifera and Ostracoda).

Reuss’ studies covered a wide variety of topics: the stratigraphy of the Silurian near Prague; coprolites, Foraminifera, and Ostracoda of the Permian in Bohemia and Germany; corals and crabs of the Alpine Triassic: Bryozoa, corals, sponges, crabs, and snails of the Polish, Moravian, and Alpine Jurassic: and fishes and many invertebrate groups of the Cretaceous, not only of Bohemia but also from deposits in Poland, the Austrian Alps, and northern Germany. His studies of the Tertiary invertebrates were similarly wideranging, covering Foraminifera, corals, Bryozoa. mollusks. Ostracoda, and decapods, and including stratigraphic observations of the Tertiary in Bohemia, the Vienna and Mainz basins, the Austrian Alps, northern and central Germany, Galicia, Bessarabia, Hungary, and the Antwerp region. These investigations of marine invertebrates and the associated stratigraphic problems were supplemented by research on the Tertiary freshwater deposits of Bohemia and Bohemia and the fauna contained in them, especially mollusks.

Reuss was most interested in the Foraminifera of the Cretaceous and, particularly, of the Tertiary. In his monographs he enlarged a number of genera and groups (Peneroplidae, Lugcnidae, and Ataxophrag-mhtm ) and provided numerous descriptions of Foraminifera from various levels of the Cretaceous and Tertiary in northern and central Germany, Austria,and Belgium. His work contributed to an understanding of their taxonomy and biostratigraphy and exhibited many facts relating to their paleoecology and biogeography.

The classification of Foraminifera that Reuss proposed in 1861-1862 greatly influenced research on this order for decades, although his scheme is now considered to be an artificial one. He divided the fossil Foraminifera into twenty-one families encompassing 109 genera, arranged in accordance with the following criteria: the presence or absence of pores in the shell walls (Perforata, Imperforata); the composition and structure of the casing shell; the shell form; and disposition of the chambers.

Reuss was among the first to practice “applied micropaleontology”—an approach that has played an important role since the 1920’ in petroleum geology and in other branches of applied biostratigraphy. He was also the first to use Foraminifera to determine the age of Tertiary deposits in northern and central Germany, regions where macrofossils are rare.

Reuss’s publications, especially those on the Foraminifera, are noted for their clarity and exactness of description and are still indispensable in the study of micropaleontology and other branches of paleontology and of biostratigraphy.


I. Original Works. A partial bibliography of Reuss’ works is given in Poggendorff, III , 1112. His major works include Geognastische Skizzen aus Bohmen. I, Die Umgebung von Teplitz unit Bilin (Prague-Litomefice-Teplitz, 1840); Die Versteinerimgen der bohmischen Kreide-Formation (Stuttgart, 1845–1846); “Neue Foramini-feren aus den Schichten des osterreichischen Tcrtiar-heckens,”inDenkschriften der Akudemie der Wissen-schafteiu1 ( 1849), 365–390, with 6 plates; “Beitrage zur Charakteristik der Kreideschichten in den Ostalpen,” ibid., 7 (1854), 1–156, with 31 tables; “Zur Kenntniss fossiler Krabben,” ibid., 17 (1859), 90 pp., with 24 plates; “Die marinen Tertiarschichten Bohmens und ihre Vcrsteinerungen” in Sitzungsbrcrichte der Akademie der Wissenschaften in Wien, 39 (1860), 207–288, with 8 plates; “Die fossilen Molluskcn der tertiaren Susswasserkalke in Bahmen,”ibid, ,42 (1860), 55–85, with 3 plates; “Entwurf einer systematischen Zusammenstellung der Foramini-feren,” ibid., 43 (1861); “Die Foraminiferen des nord-deutschen Hils und Gaults,” ibid., 46 (1863), 5–100, with 13 plates; and “Die Foraminiferenfamilie der Lageniden,” ibid., 44 (1862), 308–342, with plates 1–7.

Subsequent writings are “Ueber die Paragenese der auf den Erzgängen von Přibram einbrechenden Mineralien,”ibid., 47 (1863), 13–76; “Beitrage zur Kenntniss der tertiären Foraminiferenfauna,”ibid.,48 (1863), 36–71, with 8 plates;Kurze Übersicht der geognostisehen Verhältinisse Bohmens (Prague, 1854), with maps; “Die Bryozoen, Anthozoen und Spongiarien des braunen Juras von Balin bei Krakau,” in Denkschriften der Akademie der Wissenschaften, 26 (1866), with 4 plates; “Beiträge zur Charakteristik der Tertiärschichten des nordlichen und mittleren Deutschlands,” in Sitzungsberichte der Akademie der Wissenschaften in Wien.,18 (1855), 197–272, with plates 1–12; “Die fossile Fauna der Steinsalzablagerungen von Wieliczka in Galizien,”ibid., 55 (1866), with 8 plates; “Die fossilen Molluskcn des Tertiärbeckens von Wien. Nr. 9, 10. Bivalven,” in Abhandlungen der Königlichen Kaiserlichen Geohgischen Reiehsanstalt, 4 (1870), 431–479, plates 68–85; “Die fossilen Korallen des österreichisch-ungarischen Miozäns,” in Denkschriften der Akademie der Wissenschaften, 31 (1871), with 21 plates; “Paläontologische Studien über die älteren Ter-iärschichten der Alpen, III. Theil.” ibid., 33 (1872); ’Die Foraminiferen, Bryozoen und Ostracoden des mittleren und oberen Pläner“in Geinitz, “Das Elbthal-Gebirge in Sachsen,” in Paldontographica. Beitrage der Salurgesehiehu der Vorzeit, 20 (1874), 73–157, plates 10–28; and “Die Bryozoen des osterreichisch-ungarischen Miozäns,” in Denkschriften der Akademie der Wissenschaften33 (1874).

II. Secondary Literature. On Reuss and his work, see H. Bartenstein, in Paläontologische Zeitschrift35 (1961), 148–250, with portrait; H. B. Geinitz, in Leopoldina, 9 1874). 67-72. with bibliography; G. C Laube, in Mitteiungen des Vereins zur Gesechichte der Deutschen in Bohmen, 12 , no. 5 (1874), 193–205; A. Schrö tter Ritter von Cristelli, in Almanach der kaiserlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften24 (1874), 129–151; and a bibliography in Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society of London, 30 (1874), xlvii-xlviii.

Heinz Tobien

W. S. Dallas