Constantine Samuel Rafinesque-Schmaltz, as he is known in Europe (October 22, 1783 – September 18, 1840), was a nineteenth-century polymath who made notable contributions to botany, zoology, the study of prehistoric earthworks in North America and ancient Mesoamerican linguistics.
Rafinesque was eccentric, and is often portrayed as an "erratic genius". He was an autodidact who excelled in various fields of knowledge, as a zoologist, botanist, writer and polyglot. He wrote prolifically on such diverse topics as anthropology, biology, geology, and linguistics, but was honored in none of these fields during his lifetime. Today, scholars agree that he was far ahead of his time in many areas.