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Bernard Stürtz

Bernard Stürtz, prominent German paleontologist and dealer in minerals and fossils, was born in Eschweiler/Nord Eifel on April 29, 1845. He apparently had some experience as a merchant before entering the Prussian military to serve during the wars of 1864-1866 and 1870-1871, and by 1872 he had established himself as a mineral dealer in Bonn am Rhein, in a dealership that had been founded by his wife in 1866. His shop was located at 2 Reisstrasse, at the corner of Hofgartenstrasse. He was also located later at Coblenzerstrasse (listed there as a mineral dealer in Dagincourt's Annuaire Geologique Universel, 1886). Stürtz was proprietor of what he called his Mineralogisches und palaeontologisches Comptoir ("Mineralogical and paleontological office"), dealing in "minerals, meteorites, rocks, ores, fossils, models, scientific instruments and preparations." His company was awarded a prize at the Chicago World's Fair of 1893. He issued periodic catalogs; the 12th edition appeared in 1894, and the 14th edition (in three languages) appeared in 1920.

Self-taught as a paleontologist, Stürtz was particularly interested in the study and description of various pyritized species of starfish from the Bundenbach Slate. He published his findings in 1886 and 1890 in Palaeontographica, in 1886 in Neues Jahrbuch für Mineralogie, and likewise in 1893 and 1900 in the Verhandlungen des Naturhistorischen Vereins der preußischen Rheinlande und West-phalens. His study specimens are preserved today in the universities in Bonn and Berlin, and in collections outside of Germany.

It is worth noting that several Devonian species and genera were named after Stürtz, including the sea-lily Taxocrinus stuertzi, the sand star Stuertzaster, the original sea-star Stuertzura, the crab Nahecaris stuertzi, and the two "tank fish" Gemuendina stuertzi and Stuertzaspis. He also did considerable work on the geology of the Tertiary deposits of brown coal in the Rheinland area, and published two guidebooks to the Siebengebirge area.

Through the recommendation of the Bonn Mining and Smelting Association, Stürtz was hired in 1902 to manage a cement works in Oberkassel near Bonn. Founded by Hermann Bleibtrau in 1856, it was the oldest cement works in Germany, and was still in operation in the 1980s. Stürtz rose to the position of chairman of the governing board of the company, a post he held for many years. He also became involved in the development and expansion of the Rheinischen National Park at Siebengebirge, where today there is a market square named B.-Stürtz-Platz in his honor. In 1919 the University of Bonn bestowed on him an honorary doctorate in recognition of his work.

Bernard Stürtz died on February 13, 1928 in Bonn, very wealthy but alone (his only daughter lived in Italy). He is buried in a simple grave in Bad Honnef-Rhöndorf, not far from the grave of Konrad Adenauer.

LANGER, W. (1994) Bernard Stürtz. Ein ungewöhnlicher Erforscher der Hunsruckschiefer-Fauna. Natur und Museum (Frankfurt am Main) 124(1), January 1994, p. 17-20.
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A label give the "Dr." title, awarded in 1919.
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