The Department of Herpetology was started by Louis Agassiz in 1859 when the MCZ was founded. Throughout its history, the herpetological collection has grown steadily with holdings influenced by the research interests and efforts of its researchers. From inception, the collections were primarily established to actively support and complement scientific research and teaching activities at Harvard. The department has a profound history of prominently dynamic curators: Louis Agassiz (1859-1873) Samuel Garman (1874-1911) Thomas Barbour (1911-1927) Arthur Loveridge (1927-1957) Ernest Williams (1957-1980) Pere Alberch (1980-1987) James J. McCarthy (Acting Curator) (1987-1993) John E. Cadle (1993-1999) Jonathan B. Losos (2006–2017) James Hanken (1999–Present)