What Is Rizal's Contribution As A Scientist?


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Jose Rizal was a Filipino linguist, naturalist and novelist who lived during the second half of the 1800s.

Rizal was widely celebrated for his many talents including medicine (which he studied at university) and was well known for his ability to speak in many languages.

In terms of science, this was not Rizal’s main focus so it could be said that Rizal’s scientific contributions were fairly minimal, but he did have some impact. Being a keen naturalist, Rizal spent much of his life collecting and studying animals and insects and most of his credited scientific work is in the field of biology. His work in this field led to the discovery of three animals:

  • draco rizali (a type of lizard also called a flying dragon)
  • apogania rizali (a beetle)
  • rhacophorus rizali (a very rare and strange species of frog). 

All of these animals were named after Rizal himself, hence the term ‘rizali’ as a suffix to denote Rizal’s findings. All of these findings came during Rizal’s time in Dapitan in the Philippines, and as such these animals are mainly rainforest-dwelling animals. As well as his work as a naturalist, Rizal was also thought to be a good inventor. Although he has not been credited with any widely popular inventions that are used today, his inventions did help the lives of his contemporaries at the time. For example, Rizal created a brick machine out of wood that allowed the production of 6,000 bricks a day. Having studied medicine at the University of Santo Tomas and Universidad Central de Madrid, Rizal became a skilled medical professional, helping many people through his knowledge of medicine.

Rizal was executed by the Spanish at an early age, just 35, for his writings and his stance on revolution and reform in the Philippines during the Spanish colonial era.

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