Peter Ouwens

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Pieter Antonie Ouwens (14 February 1849, Amsterdam – 5 March 1922, Buitenzorg) was a Dutch scientist. He was Director of the Java Zoological Museum and Botanical Gardens. He is best known for writing the first formal description of the Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis) in 1912.

Family[change | change source]

Ouwens was the child of Pieter Anthonis Ouwens, accountant in Amsterdam, and Caroline Reiniera Nagels. He studied at the Royal Military Academy in Breda from 1867. In 1871, he became lieutenant at the Infantry in the Dutch East Indies. In 1883 he was promoted to captain. In January 1879 he married Johanna Vosmaer at Banda Aceh. They divorced a month after the birth of their only child in 1882 in Salatiga. Ouwens then married Jeanne Dikkers in December 1883 in Purworejo.[1][2] He married again in 1902 with Anna Josephina Soesman.[3]

Komodo dragon[change | change source]

Ouwens became curator of the Zoological Museum in Buitenzorg. (Buitenzorg is now called Bogor). Lieutenant Jacques Karel Henri van Steyn van Hensbroek was the first Westerner to see Komodo dragons. Hensbroek sent a photo and a skin of a Komodo dragon to Ouwens. He then sent a collector to Komodo who returned to Java with two adults and a young lizard.[4] Ouwens named the species Varanus komodoensis in a publication of 1912.[5] Ouwens became Officer of the Order of Orange-Nassau and died in Buitenzorg in 1922.[3]

References[change | change source]

  1. "Ouwens, Pieter Antonie" genealogy Archived 2015-12-08 at the Wayback Machine at
  2. Genealogie van het geslacht Ouwens in "Algemeen Nederlands Familieblad", Volume 5, The Hague, 1888, page 75
  3. 3.0 3.1 Pieter Antonie Ouwens in nl:De Nederlandse Leeuw, Volumes 88-93, nl:Koninklijk Nederlandsch Genootschap voor Geslacht- en Wapenkunde, 1971, page 512
  4. Varanus komodoensis Archived 2017-09-11 at the Wayback Machine. (2007-08-24). Retrieved on 2013-04-30.
  5. Ouwens, Pieter Antonie (1912). "On a large Varanus species from the island of Komodo". Bulletin de l'Institut botanique de Buitenzorg. 2. 6: 1–3. Retrieved 6 March 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)