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Niko Tinbergen: A Message in the Archives
- Burkhardt, Richard W., Jr.
- Journal of the history of biology 2016 v.49 no.4 pp. 685-703
- biologists, death, research, researchers
- Just as biologists have their favored places for doing research, so do historians. As someone who likes working in archives, the most surprising thing the present author ever found was a particular letter that had been written to him by the ethologist Niko Tinbergen—but that Tinbergen had never sent. The letter included a detailed critique of the intellectual style and conceptual shortcomings of Tinbergen’s career-long friend and colleague Konrad Lorenz. The present author first saw the letter 3 years after Tinbergen’s death and 10 years after the letter was composed. Here we discuss the contents and historical context of that letter.