Saburo Hatta studied zoology (embryology) and received a science doctorate. He was born in 1865, the son of a retainer of the Kumamoto Domain (his given name was Sabutaro Matsumura but he changed it after being adopted into the Hatta household). He entered the Zoological Lab at Tokyo Imperial University and graduated from the same university in 1891, subsequently becoming a teacher at the Kyushu Gakuin Lutheran High School the same year. He assumed a post at Sapporo Agricultural College in 1904. In 1908, he became a teacher at the college and became director of the college museum. He studied in Europe and America from 1912 to 1915, becoming a member of the Belgian Royal Society (a zoological association). Hatta retired from Hokkaido Imperial University in 1929 and died in 1935. Hatta had researched the embryology of lampreys, a topic considered highly problematic at the time. He demonstrated that there are differences between the amphibians and reptiles of Hokkaido and those of Sakhalin, which is across the Soya Strait from Hokkaido. The biogeographical boundary dividing the two was subsequently named the Hatta Line. While there were discoveries of species in each zone with common characteristics, this was interpreted as a reflection of the geographical history in which Hokkaido was at times connected to the continent.
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