Joel Asaph Allen

Joel Asaph Allen
Joel Asaph Allen 1838-1921.png
Joel Asaph Allen
Born(1838-07-19)July 19, 1838
DiedAugust 29, 1921(1921-08-29) (aged 83)
Alma materHarvard University
Known forAllen's rule
Scientific career
InstitutionsAmerican Academy of Arts and Sciences
Museum of Comparative Zoology
American Association for the Advancement of Science
Audubon Society
American Philosophical Society
Joel Asaph Allen seated at desk while reading in 1890

Joel Asaph Allen (July 19, 1838 – August 29, 1921) was an American zoologist, mammalogist, and ornithologist. He became the first president of the American Ornithologists' Union, the first curator of birds and mammals at the American Museum of Natural History, and the first head of that museum's Department of Ornithology. He is remembered for Allen's rule, which states that the bodies of endotherms (warm-blooded animals) vary in shape with climate, having increased surface area in hot climates to lose heat, and minimized surface area in cold climates, to conserve heat.

Early life

Allen was born in Springfield, Massachusetts, the son of Harriet Trumbull and Joel Allen. He studied and collected specimen of natural history early in life, but he was forced to sell his relatively large collection so that he could attend the Wilbraham & Monson Academy in 1861. The following year, he transferred to Harvard University, where he studied under Louis Agassiz.[1]