Edoardo Zavattari (1883-1972). His Scientific Work Fifty Years after his Death


  • Pierangelo Crucitti Società Romana di Scienze Naturali, Roma, I
  • Spartaco Gippoliti Società Italiana per la Storia della Fauna "G. Altobello" , Roma, I


Tropical biology, Libya, Ethiopia, Colonialism, One health


EDOARDO ZAVATTARI (1883-1972): HIS SCIENTIFIC WORK FIFTY YEARS AFTER HIS DEATHEdoardo Zavattari graduated at Turin University first in Medicine in 1908 and later in Natural Sciences in 1911. His earlier papers dealt  with systematics of Hymenoptera but from the beginning he showed a growing interest in tropical biology and in 1913 he specialized in Tropical Medicine in London. After the First World War, he travelled extensively in Europe, the Near East and Africa while holding the chair of Zoology at Pavia University in 1923. His scientific interests met the political wish of the Fascist Regime to expand Italian colonial power in Africa. After several expeditions in Fezzan and other Libyan regions, in 1934 Zavattari published a complete overview of the zoological knowledge of Libya (Prodromo della Fauna della Libia). Starting from 1935 he was director of the Institute of Zoology at Rome University and founded the journal Rivista di Biologia Coloniale. After the conquest of Ethiopia, he led two important biological expeditions - Borana (1937) and Sagan-Omo (1939) in the littleknown southern regions of the country, under the auspices of the Reale Accademia d’Italia - Centro Studi Africa Orientale Italiana. His view of the need for a holistic approach to biological research that encompasses not only Zoology and Botany, but also humans, domestic animals and their parasites, makes Zavattari a precursor of a One Health approach to environmental research and public health. After the Second World War, he directed his scientific main interests towards biogeographical relationships of some Italian small islands. Zavattari’s adherence to the Manifesto della Razza that in 1938 put Italy in line with the racial policy of the Nazi Regime represents an enduring stain in the scientist’s personal history.