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List of Famous Naturalists

This list of famous naturalists and naturalism authors includes photos, bios, and other information, when available. Who are the top naturalists in the world? This includes the most prominent naturalists, living and dead, both from America and abroad. You might also enjoy these highly evolved facts about evolution and our list of the best nature TV shows. This list of notable naturalists is ordered by their level of prominence, and can be sorted for various bits of information, such as where these historic naturalists were born and what their nationality is. The famous naturalist writers on this list are from different countries, but what they all have in common is that they're all renowned naturalists.

Whether you're looking for American naturalists, that British naturalist whose name you can't quite remember, or female naturalists who have left their mark, this list is sure to help. Among the naturalist people, authors, writers, and thinkers on this list are Charles Darwin and Steve Irwin. Many of the following people specializing in naturalistic research have had significant impact on science. 

From reputable, prominent, and well known naturalists to the lesser known naturalists of today, these are some of the best professionals in field of naturalism and nature writing. Who are the most famous naturalists ever? What are the names of famous naturalists? The list below has all the great naturalists, who have influenced the way humans interact with and relate to the natural world around us all.

  • Charles Robert Darwin, (; 12 February 1809 – 19 April 1882) was an English naturalist, geologist and biologist, best known for his contributions to the science of evolution. His proposition that all ...more
  • Stephen Robert Irwin (22 February 1962 – 4 September 2006), nicknamed "The Crocodile Hunter", was an Australian zookeeper, conservationist and television personality. Irwin achieved worldwide fame ...more
  • Sir David Frederick Attenborough (; born 8 May 1926) is an English broadcaster and natural historian. He is best known for writing and presenting, in conjunction with the BBC Natural History Unit, ...more
  • Stephen James Backshall (born 21 April 1973) is a BAFTA-winning English naturalist, writer and television presenter, best known for BBC TV's Deadly 60. His other BBC work includes being part of the ...more
  • Friedrich Wilhelm Heinrich Alexander von Humboldt (, also US: , UK: , German: [ʔalɛkˈsandɐ fɔn ˈhʊmbɔlt] (listen); 14 September 1769 – 6 May 1859) was a Prussian polymath, geographer, naturalist, ...more
  • Edward Osborne Wilson (born June 10, 1929), usually cited as E. O. Wilson, is an American biologist, theorist, naturalist and author. His biological specialty is myrmecology, the study of ants, on ...more
  • David M. Carroll (born 5 January 1942) is an American naturalist, author and illustrator. He has investigated for the endangered species programs of New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, the Environmental ...more
  • John James Audubon (born April 26, 1785 – January 27, 1851) was an American ornithologist, naturalist, and painter. He was notable for his extensive studies documenting all types of American birds ...more
  • Terri Raines Irwin (born July 20, 1964) is an American-Australian naturalist, conservationist, author, and the owner of Australia Zoo in Beerwah, Queensland. A native Oregonian from the United ...more
  • Jean Léopold Nicolas Frédéric, Baron Cuvier (French: [kyvje]; 23 August 1769 – 13 May 1832), known as Georges Cuvier, was a French naturalist and zoologist, sometimes referred to as the "founding ...more
  • Maria Sibylla Merian (2 April 1647 – 13 January 1717) was a German-born naturalist and scientific illustrator, a descendant of the Frankfurt branch of the Swiss Merian family. Merian was one of the ...more
  • Ed Laurent is a Spatial Ecologist who develops and delivers collaborative, science-based recommendations and tools that enable the implementation and evaluation of conservation activities. His ...more
  • Alfred Russel Wallace (8 January 1823 – 7 November 1913) was a British naturalist, explorer, geographer, anthropologist, and biologist. He is best known for independently conceiving the theory of ...more
  • DeWitt Clinton (March 2, 1769 – February 11, 1828) was an American politician and naturalist who served as a United States Senator, Mayor of New York City and sixth Governor of New York. In this last ...more
  • Minakata Kumagusu (南方 熊楠, May 18, 1867 – December 29, 1941) was a Japanese author, biologist, naturalist and ethnologist.
  • Archibald Menzies ( MING-iss; 15 March 1754 – 15 February 1842) was a Scottish surgeon, botanist and naturalist. He spent many years at sea, serving with the Royal Navy, private merchants, and the ...more
  • Florentino Ameghino (September 19, 1853 – August 6, 1911) was an Argentine naturalist, paleontologist, anthropologist and zoologist, whose fossil discoveries on the Argentine Pampas, especially on ...more
  • Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon (French pronunciation: ​[ʒɔʁʒ lwi ləklɛʁ kɔ̃t də byfɔ̃]; 7 September 1707 – 16 April 1788) was a French naturalist, mathematician, cosmologist, and ...more
  • Christopher Gary Packham CBE (born 4 May 1961) is an English naturalist, nature photographer, television presenter and author, best known for his television work including the CBBC children's nature ...more
  • Edwin Way Teale (June 2, 1899 – October 18, 1980) was an American naturalist, photographer and writer. Teale's works serve as primary source material documenting environmental conditions across North ...more
  • Francis Harper (17 November 1886 – 17 November 1972) was an American naturalist known for the study of the 18th-century American naturalists John and William Bartram. His research included studies of ...more
  • Kim Williams was an American naturalist, writer, and the longest-ever running guest commenter on NPR where she was a guest commentator on the radio show All Things Considered for over ten and a half ...more
  • Albrecht von Haller (also known as Albertus de Haller; 16 October 1708 – 12 December 1777) was a Swiss anatomist, physiologist, naturalist, encyclopedist, bibliographer and poet. A pupil of Herman ...more
  • Diane Ackerman (born October 7, 1948) is an American poet, essayist, and naturalist known for her wide-ranging curiosity and poetic explorations of the natural world.
  • Henry Walter Bates (8 February 1825 in Leicester – 16 February 1892 in London) was an English naturalist and explorer who gave the first scientific account of mimicry in animals. He was most famous ...more