Driving along Palma’s Passeig Marítim, just after you pass Ca’n Barbarà, you’ll find the statue of an important looking guy on your right. The statue is in honour of Emil G. Racovitza, a scientist of quite some stature from Romania. In case you wondered what this monument is all about, read on.
Emil Racovitza conducted a number of expeditions during his lifetime and held several posts in a number of European scientific institutions, garnering some well-deserved fame as a scientist. He came to Mallorca for only three days in July 1904 during the course of a French oceanographic expedition, but he did leave an impression nevertheless. During his brief visit he was invited to visit the Covas del Drac, near Portocristo. In these caves, Monsieur Racovitza took samples of some of the organisms he found there. The following year he presented the description of a new and hitherto unknown species of a crustacean that he called Typhlocirolana moraguesi in homage to the naturalist Ferran Moragues, the owner of the Drach caves.
The discovery of this small shrimp-like creature turned the scientist’s attention to the study of cave animal life in general. The publication of his work Essai sûr les problèmes bioespéleologiques (1907) laid the foundations for biospeleology (the study of organisms that live in caves) as a separate scientific discipline.
In case you should be interested in seeing a crustacean of the Typhlocirolana moraguesi kind, you could see a photograph on the Internet.
On your next visit to the Cuevas del Drach you will find it somewhat hard to discover an as yet unknown species of whatever. Please don’t be surprised if a monument is not dedicated to you, here or anywhere.
The photo was taken in Palma de Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: June 3rd, 2009. The time was 15:08:45.