The American Naturalist

The American Naturalist is a monthly peer-reviewed scientific journal that was established in 1867. It is published by the University of Chicago Press on behalf of the American Society of Naturalists. The journal covers research in ecology, evolutionary biology, population, and integrative biology. As of 2018, the editor-in-chief is Daniel I. Bolnick. According to the Journal Citation Reports, the journal had a 2017 impact factor of 4.265, ranking it 26th out of 158 journals in the category "Ecology"[1] and 11th out of 49 journals in the category "Evolutionary Biology".[2]

The American Naturalist
DisciplineEcology, evolution, population biology
Edited byDaniel I. Bolnick
Publication details
4.265 (2017)
Standard abbreviations
ISO 4Am. Nat.
OCLC no.45446849


The journal was founded by Alpheus Hyatt, Edward S. Morse, Alpheus S. Packard Jr., and Frederick W. Putnam at the Essex Institute in Salem, Massachusetts.[3] The first issue appeared in print dated March 1867.[4]

In 1878 the journal was for sale and Edward Cope bought half the rights. He moved the journal to Philadelphia and arranged to edit it jointly with Professor Alpheus S. Packard Jr. Cope became editor-in-chief in 1887 and continued in that capacity until his death in 1897.[5]

In 1897, a group of professors from M.I.T., Harvard, and Tufts bought the rights from the Cope estate and kept the journal in publication until 1907 when J. McKeen Cattell acquired control.[6] Cattell's son Jacques became co-editor and publisher with his father in 1939.[7]

Although the ASN became increasingly involved in editing The American Naturalist through changes in 1941 and 1951, the journal remained with the Cattell family until 1968, when the University of Chicago Press took it over after Jacques Cattell's death.[7]


  1. "Journals Ranked by Impact: Ecology". 2017 Journal Citation Reports. Web of Science (Science ed.). Thomson Reuters. 2017.
  2. "Journals Ranked by Impact: Evolutionary Biology". 2017 Journal Citation Reports. Web of Science (Science ed.). Thomson Reuters. 2017.
  3. Dunn, L. C. (Sep–Oct 1966). "The American Naturalist in American Biology". The American Naturalist. 100 (915): 481–492. doi:10.1086/282444. JSTOR 2459204.
  4. "American Naturalist," in International Magazine Co., Periodicals, vol. 1, no. 1 (October-December 1917), pg. 5.
  5. National Academy of Sciences Biographical Memoir of Edward Drinker Cope
  6. Conklin, Edwin G. (1943). "The Early History of The American Naturalist". The American Naturalist. 78 (774): 29–37. doi:10.1086/281164.
  7. American Society of Naturalists (2012). "History of the ASN". Retrieved 5 December 2013.
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