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Xantus János was a Hungarian naturalist, traveler, founding member of MTA [Hungarian Academy of Sciences].

János finished his studies at the gymnasiums of the Benedictine monks in Győr and the Cistercians in Pécs. After his legal studies in Kaposvár, he volunteered for the national army, where he became a national guard officer. After the defeat of the Hungarian Revolution of 1848, he emigrated, initially to the United States and later traveled to more distant parts of America and the Far East. During his travels, he collected plant and animal specimens, which he donated to the Hungarian National Museum.

He later became the director of the National Museum's Department of Ethnography and then became a member of the Hungarian Geographical Society.