Emil Racovita has explored 1,200 caves in Europe and Africa, has amassed a collection of 5,000 underground animals studied and has published over 66 papers on underground fauna. He is the founder of Biospeleology and the first biologist in the world who has studied the life of animals and birds in Antarctica.
He was born in Iasi on November 15, 1868 in a wealthy family. He spent his childhood on the family estate at Suranesti, Vaslui, and trying to please his father, he went to the "Law School" in Paris.
In parallel he attended the courses of The "Anthropology School", after which, he also follows the "Sciences Faculty" of the Sorbonne University, in Paris, from where he received his diploma in 1891. He took his doctorate (Phd) in 1896. In all of this time he was also working on the marine biology station in Banyuls-sur-Mer, where he was diving at a depth of 10 m, to study the underwater life.
He participated as a naturalist in the Belgian Antarctic expedition between 1897-1899 aboard the Belgica research ship. He performed there complex research on flora and fauna in Chile, on the shores of the Magellan Strait.
During this expedition, Emil Racoviţă discovered the beaked whale.
After his return in the country, in 1920 he became a professor at the Faculty of Sciences, University of Cluj, where he established the first biospeleological institute in the world.
The great Romanian scholar and explorer died on 17 November 1947 in Cluj.
Bibliography: Institutul de Speologie Emil Racovita, THE EXPLORER-Documentary
Translated and arranged after a report by: Madalina Diaconu