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Encyclopedia > Natural history
Table of natural history, 1728 Cyclopaedia

Natural history is an umbrella term for what are now often viewed as several distinct scientific disciplines of integrative organismal biology. Most definitions include the study of living things (e.g. biology, including botany and zoology); other definitions extend the topic to include paleontology, ecology or biochemistry, as well as parts of geology, astronomy, and physics, and even climatology. A person interested in natural history is known as a naturalist or natural historian. Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1602x2580, 1276 KB) This article incorporates content from the 1728 Cyclopaedia, a publication in the public domain. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1602x2580, 1276 KB) This article incorporates content from the 1728 Cyclopaedia, a publication in the public domain. ... 1913 advertisement for Encyclopædia Britannica. ... The expression umbrella term means a word that provides a superset or grouping of related concepts. ... Contents   Overviews   Academia   Topics   Basic topics   Glossaries   Portals   Categories // This is a list of academic disciplines. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Pinguicula grandiflora Botany is the scientific study of plantlife. ... Zoology (rarely spelled zoölogy) is the biological discipline which involves the study of non-human animals. ... Paleontology, palaeontology or palæontology is the study of prehistoric life forms on Earth through the examination of plant and animal fossils. ... Ernst Haeckel coined the term oekologie in 1866. ... Biochemistry is the study of the chemical processes and transformations in living organisms. ... This article includes a list of works cited but its sources remain unclear because it lacks in-text citations. ... A giant Hubble mosaic of the Crab Nebula, a supernova remnant Astronomy is the science of celestial objects (such as stars, planets, comets, and galaxies) and phenomena that originate outside the Earths atmosphere (such as auroras and cosmic background radiation). ... Physics (Greek: (phúsis), nature and (phusiké), knowledge of nature) is the science concerned with the fundamental laws of the universe. ... Climatology is the study of climate, scientifically defined as weather conditions averaged over a period of time,[1] and is a branch of the atmospheric sciences. ...


"Natural history is the scientific study of plants and animals in their natural environments. It is concerned with levels of organization from the individual organism to the ecosystem, and stresses identification, life history, distribution, abundance, and inter-relationships. It often and appropriately includes an esthetic component." (Herman 2002)

Contents

History of natural history

The roots of natural history go back to Aristotle and other ancient philosophers who analyzed the diversity of the natural world. From the ancient Greeks until the work of Carolus Linnaeus and other 18th century naturalists, the central concept tying together the various domains of natural history was the scala naturae or Great Chain of Being, which arranged minerals, vegetables, animals, and higher beings on a linear scale of increasing "perfection." Natural history was basically static through the Middle Ages, when the work of Aristotle was adapted into Christian philosophy, particularly by Thomas Aquinas, forming the basis for natural theology. In the Renaissance, scholars (herbalists and humanists, particularly) returned to direct observation of plants and animals for natural history, and many began to accumulate large collections of exotic specimens and unusual monsters. The rapid increase in the number of known organisms prompted many attempts at classifying and organizing species into taxonomic groups, culminating in the system of Linnaeus. Aristotle (Greek: AristotélÄ“s) (384 BC – March 7, 322 BC) was a Greek philosopher, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. ... Carolus Linnaeus, also known after his ennoblement as  , (May 23, 1707[1] – January 10, 1778), was a Swedish botanist, physician and zoologist[2] who laid the foundations for the modern scheme of nomenclature. ... 1579 drawing of the great chain of being from Didacus Valades, Rhetorica Christiana The great chain of being or scala naturæ is a classical and western medieval conception of the order of the universe, whose chief characteristic is a strict hierarchical system. ... Saint Thomas Aquinas [Thomas of Aquin, or Aquino] (c. ... Natural theology is the knowledge of God accessible to all rational human beings without recourse to any special or supposedly supernatural revelation. ... The Renaissance (French for rebirth, or Rinascimento in Italian), was a cultural movement in Italy (and in Europe in general) that began in the late Middle Ages, and spanned roughly the 14th through the 17th century. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Look up taxonomy in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...


In the 18th century and well into the 19th century, natural history as a term was frequently used to refer to all descriptive aspects of the study of nature, as opposed to political or ecclesiastical history; it was the counterpart to the analytical study of nature, natural philosophy. As such, the subject area would include aspects of physics, astronomy, archeology, etc.; this broad usage is still used for some institutions including museums and societies. Beginning in Europe, professional disciplines such as physiology, botany, zoology, geology, and later cytology and embryology, formed. Natural history, formerly the main subject taught by college science professors, was increasingly scorned by scientists of a more specialized manner and relegated to an "amateur" activity, rather than a part of science proper. Particularly in Britain and America, this grew into specialist hobbies such as the study of birds, butterflies and wildflowers; meanwhile, scientists tried to define a unified discipline of biology (though with only partial success, at least until the modern evolutionary synthesis). Still, the traditions of natural history continued to play a part in late 19th- and 20th-century biology, especially ecology, ethology, and evolutionary biology, and re-emerges today as Integrative Organismal Biology. (17th century - 18th century - 19th century - more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 18th century refers to the century that lasted from 1701 through 1800. ... Alternative meaning: Nineteenth Century (periodical) (18th century — 19th century — 20th century — more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 19th century was that century which lasted from 1801-1900 in the sense of the Gregorian calendar. ... Natural philosophy or the philosophy of nature, known in Latin as philosophia naturalis, is a term applied to the objective study of nature and the physical universe that was regnant before the development of modern science. ... A giant Hubble mosaic of the Crab Nebula, a supernova remnant Astronomy is the science of celestial objects (such as stars, planets, comets, and galaxies) and phenomena that originate outside the Earths atmosphere (such as auroras and cosmic background radiation). ... Archaeology or sometimes in American English archeology (from the Greek words αρχαίος = ancient and λόγος = word/speech) is the study of human cultures through the recovery, documentation and analysis of material remains, including architecture, artefacts, biofacts, human remains, and landscapes. ... Leonardo da Vincis Vitruvian Man, an important early achievement in the study of physiology. ... Pinguicula grandiflora Botany is the scientific study of plantlife. ... Zoology (rarely spelled zoölogy) is the biological discipline which involves the study of non-human animals. ... This article includes a list of works cited but its sources remain unclear because it lacks in-text citations. ... Cytology (also known as Cell biology) is the scientific study of cells. ... This article or section is in need of attention from an expert on the subject. ... Ornithology (from the Greek ornis = bird and logos = word/science) is the branch of zoology concerned with the scientific study of birds. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... The modern evolutionary synthesis (often referred to simply as the new synthesis, the modern synthesis, the evolutionary synthesis, neo-Darwinian synthesis or neo-Darwinism), generally denotes the integration of Charles Darwins theory of the evolution of species by natural selection, Gregor Mendels theory of genetics as the basis... Ernst Haeckel coined the term oekologie in 1866. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Evolutionary biology is a subfield of biology concerned with the origin and descent of species, as well as their change, multiplication, and diversity over time. ...


Amateur collectors and natural history entrepreneurs played an important role in building the large natural history collections of the 19th and early-20th centuries, particularly the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History. The Smithsonian Institution Building or Castle on the National Mall serves as the Institutions headquarters. ... Inside the National Museum of Natural History, underneath the rotunda. ...


Natural history museums

The term "natural history" forms the descriptive part of institution names, such as the Natural History Museum in London, the Humboldt Museum für Naturkunde in Berlin, the Grigore Antipa Museum of Natural History in Bucharest, the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C., the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture in Seattle, the Peabody Museum of Natural History in New Haven, and the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, which also publishes a magazine called Natural History. For other similarly-named museums see Museum of Natural History. ... This article is about the capital of England and the United Kingdom. ... The Museum für Naturkunde (in English, the Museum of Natural History), widely known as the Humboldt Museum of Berlin, is the first national museum in the world, with a massive collection of more than 25 million zoological, paleontological, and minerological specimens, including more than ten thousand type specimens. ... The Cleveland Museum of Natural History is a natural history museum located approximately 5 miles (8 km) east of downtown Cleveland, Ohio in University Circle, a 500 acre (2 km²) concentration of educational, cultural and medical institutions. ... The Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh are operated by the Carnegie Institute and located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. ... Nickname: Steel City, Iron City, Steel Town, City of Champions, City of Bridges, City of Colleges, The Burgh Motto: Benigno Numine (With the Benevolent Deity) Location in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania Coordinates: Country United States State Pennsylvania County Allegheny County Founded November 25, 1758 Incorporated April 22, 1794 (borough)   March 18... Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago The Field Museum of Natural History, in Chicago, Illinois, USA, sits on Lake Shore Drive next to Lake Michigan, part of a scenic complex known as Museum Campus Chicago. ... Flag Seal Nickname: The Windy City Motto: Urbs In Horto (Latin: City in a Garden), I Will Location Location in Chicagoland and northern Illinois Coordinates , Government Country State Counties United States Illinois Cook, DuPage Mayor Richard M. Daley (D) Geographical characteristics Area     City 606. ... The Thomas Burke Memorial Washington State Museum is a museum in the northwest corner of the campus of the University of Washington, at the intersection of N.E. 45th Street and 15th Avenue N.E. in Seattle, Washington, USAs University District. ... City nickname Emerald City City bird Great Blue Heron City flower Dahlia City mottos The City of Flowers The City of Goodwill City song Seattle, the Peerless City Mayor Greg Nickels County King County Area   - Total   - Land   - Water   - % water 369. ... The Peabody Museum of Natural History at Yale University was founded by the philanthropist George Peabody in 1866 at the behest of his nephew Othniel Charles Marsh, the early paleontologist. ... This article is about the city in Connecticut. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... New York, NY redirects here. ...


Natural history museums, which evolved from cabinets of curiosities, played an important role in the emergence of professional biological disciplines and research programs. Particularly in the 19th century, scientists began to use their natural history collections as teaching tools for advanced students and the basis for their own morphological research. Musei Wormiani Historia, the frontispiece from the Museum Wormianum depicting Ole Worms cabinet of curiosities. ... The term morphology in biology refers to the outward appearance (shape, structure, colour, pattern) of an organism or taxon and its component parts. ...


For more museums, see Natural history museums


Natural history societies

The term "natural history" alone, or sometimes together with archaeology, forms the name of many national, regional and local natural history societies that maintain records for birds (ornithology), mammals, insects (entomology), fungi (mycology) and plants (botany). They may also have microscopical and geological sections. For other meanings of bird, see bird (disambiguation). ... Ornithology (from the Greek ornis = bird and logos = word/science) is the branch of zoology concerned with the scientific study of birds. ... Subclasses Allotheria* Order Multituberculata (extinct) Order Volaticotheria (extinct) Order Palaeoryctoides (extinct) Order Triconodonta (extinct) Order Docodonta (extinct) Prototheria Order Monotremata Theria Infraclass Trituberculata (extinct) Infraclass Marsupialia Infraclass Eutheria The mammals are the class of vertebrate animals characterized by the production of milk in females for the nourishment of young, from... Orders See taxonomy Insects (Class Insecta) are a major group of arthropods and the most diverse group of animals on the Earth, with over a million described species—more than all other animal groups combined. ... Not to be confused with Etymology, the study of the origin of words. ... Divisions Chytridiomycota Zygomycota Ascomycota Basidiomycota The Fungi (singular: fungus) are a large group of organisms ranked as a kingdom within the Domain Eukaryota. ... Mycology (from the Greek mykes, meaning fungus) is the study of fungi, their genetic and biochemical properties, their taxonomy, and their use to humans as a source for medicinals (see penicillin) and food (beer, wine, cheese, edible mushrooms), as well as their dangers, such as poisoning or infection. ... Divisions Green algae Chlorophyta Charophyta Land plants (embryophytes) Non-vascular plants (bryophytes) Marchantiophyta—liverworts Anthocerotophyta—hornworts Bryophyta—mosses Vascular plants (tracheophytes) †Rhyniophyta—rhyniophytes †Zosterophyllophyta—zosterophylls Lycopodiophyta—clubmosses †Trimerophytophyta—trimerophytes Pteridophyta—ferns and horsetails Seed plants (spermatophytes) †Pteridospermatophyta—seed ferns Pinophyta—conifers Cycadophyta—cycads Ginkgophyta—ginkgo Gnetophyta—gnetae Magnoliophyta—flowering plants... Pinguicula grandiflora Botany is the scientific study of plantlife. ... Robert Hookes microscope (1665) - an engineered device used to study living systems. ... Geology (from Greek γη- (ge-, the earth) and λογος (logos, word, reason)) is the science and study of the Earth, its composition, structure, physical properties, history, and the processes that shape it. ...


Examples of these societies in Britain include the British Entomological and Natural History Society founded in 1872, Birmingham Natural History Society, Glasgow Natural History Society, London Natural History Society founded in 1858, Manchester Microscopical and Natural History Society established in 1880, Scarborough Field Naturalists' Society and the Sorby Natural History Society, Sheffield, founded in 1918. The growth of natural history societies was also spurred due to the growth of British colonies in tropical regions with numerous new species to be discovered. Many civil servants took an interest in their new surroundings, sending specimens back to museums in Britain. (See also Indian natural history) Birmingham (pron. ... Glaswegian redirects here. ... This article is about the capital of England and the United Kingdom. ... This article is becoming very long. ... SFNS Logo Scarborough Field Naturalists Society (SFNS) are the wildlife group behind the Scarborough Wildlife website, and are based in Scarborough, North Yorkshire, England. ... For other uses, see Sheffield (disambiguation). ... A civil servant or public servant is a civilian career public_sector employee working for a government department or agency. ... This article explores the history and people involved in the study of natural history in India. ...


See also

Natural philosophy or the philosophy of nature, known in Latin as philosophia naturalis, is a term applied to the objective study of nature and the physical universe that was regnant before the development of modern science. ... The lunar farside as seen from Apollo 11 Natural science is the rational study of the universe via rules or laws of natural order. ... Naturalism is any of several philosophical stances, typically those descended from materialism and pragmatism, that do not distinguish the supernatural (including strange entities like non-natural values, and universals as they are commonly conceived) from nature. ... A nature documentary is a documentary film about animals, plants, or other non-human living creatures, usually concentrating on film taken in their natural habitat. ... Nature writing is traditionally defined as nonfiction prose writing about the natural environment. ... Galunggung in 1982, showing a combination of natural events. ... The nature study movement was a popular education movement in America in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. ... Big History is a discreet field of historical study that arose in the late 1980s. ...

References

  • Herman, Stephen G. "WILDLIFE BIOLOGY AND NATURAL HISTORY: TIME FOR A REUNION". JOURNAL OF WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT 66(4):933–946
  • Kohler, Robert E. Landscapes and Labscapes: Exploring the Lab-Field Border in Biology. University of Chicago Press: Chicago, 2002.
  • Mayr, Ernst. The Growth of Biological Thought: Diversity, Evolution, and Inheritance. The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press: Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1982.
  • Rainger, Ronald; Keith R. Benson; and Jane Maienschein, editors. The American Development of Biology. University of Pennsylvania Press: Philadelphia, 1988.

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to:
Natural history

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