"My subject is a barren one – the world of nature, or in other words life; and that subject in its least elevated department, and employing either rustic terms or foreign, nay barbarian words that actually have to be introduced with an apology. Moreover, the path is not a beaten highway of authorship, nor one in which the mind is eager to range: there is not one of us who has made the same venture, nor yet one Roman who has tackled single-handed all departments of the subject."Naturalis Historia
was written by Pliny the Elder
between 77 and 79 CE and was meant to serve as a kind of proto-encyclopedia discussing all of the ancient knowledge available to him, covered in enough depth and breadth to make it by a reasonable margin the largest work to survive to the modern day from the Roman era. The work includes discussions on astronomy, meteorology, geography, mineralogy, zoology and botany organized along Aristotelian divisions of nature but also includes essays on human inventions and institutions. It is dedicated to the Emperor Titus in its epistle to the Emperor Vespasian
, a close friend of Pliny who relied on his extensive knowledge, and its unusually careful citations of sources as well as its index makes it a precursor to modern scholarly works. It was Pliny's last work, as well as sadly his sole surviving one, and was published not long before his death attempting to save a friend from the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius that destroyed Pompeii and Herculaneum
, famously recounted by Pliny's eponymous nephew Pliny the Younger
Here is a reasonable translation that is freely available to download from archive.org for your edification. [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb
on Dec 16, 2013 -
is an open database of life form silhouettes. All images are available for reuse under a Public Domain or Creative Commons license. [more inside]
posted by brundlefly
on Feb 4, 2012 -
The story of one woman's quest to photograph spider genitalia. By day, Nina is online operations manager for American Medical News, a newspaper published by the American Medical Association. But for 13 years, she’s devoted one day a week to behind-the-scenes work at the Field Museum in Chicago: sorting, identifying, and organizing spiders in the museum’s collections, and in the process turning an enthusiast’s knowledge about arachnids into a slightly demented personal project. [more inside]
posted by srboisvert
on Nov 1, 2011 -
(Sunday night arthropod terror filter): YouTube user memutic
has uploaded several dozen high-quality backyard video recordings of exotic insects, arachnids, crustaceans, and millipedes native to Central America, Southeast Asia, and the US. [more inside]
posted by Nomyte
on Jun 26, 2011 -
The Grant museum of zoology
in London has been called
"A restored Victorian treasure-house crammed with specimens from a bottle of preserved moles to extinct zebras and (just identified) the legs of a dodo. And all this was put together by the man that taught zoology to Charles Darwin"
The entire collection has been closed for almost a year as all 67,000 specimens were moved from a tiny (but charming
) space to a new larger space.
The new Grant Museum and its reopening.
posted by vacapinta
on Mar 15, 2011 -
So this new critter
, the Symbion pandora
, has such a bizarre life cycle and is just so bloody weird -unlike anything we had come across before- that its discovery
in 1995 lead to the creation of a whole new phylum in the Animal Kingdom. Meet the little monsters
If your weird-o-meter is humming, keep reading Zoologger
, a new column in NewScientist magazine that writes about about weird animals from around the globe. Selective abortion in pipefish, single-cell giants that enslave bacteria, amphibious cats, you name it.
posted by Cobalt
on Apr 28, 2010 -
is a freelance illustrator based in Oakland, California who loves to draw imaginary creatures. Metheny has taken this fascination with made-up animals
and extended it to the point of conjuring up an entire continent, Orcura
, through which flows The Morae River
. The river basin has a bestiary and a Classification of Species to describe the animals that inhabit it. (via
) (speculative zoology previously
posted by HumanComplex
on Nov 9, 2009 -
"With most animals, males duke it out and the winner gets the girls," says Holekamp. "But with hyenas, females have 100 percent say." They decide when and under what conditions they will tolerate deferential sperm donors. At age 2 or 3 a male leaves his natal clan and wanders off to beg acceptance into another clan. After vicious rejections, he eventually succeeds and reaps his reward: brutal harassment as the clan's nadir, one of the last in line for food and sex. This probation, which biologists call "endurance rivalry," is a test, Holekamp explains: "The guy who can stick it out the longest wins." The trial lasts about two years, after which some females may grant him access. "You do not want to be a male hyena," Holekamp says.
-From an article in Smithsonian Magazine, Who's Laughing Now?
Professor Holekamp's hyena site
. Also, hyena pictures
and The Hyena Pages
, a fine site about this fascinating animal.
posted by Kattullus
on May 7, 2008 -
Microorganisms as eye candy: A gallery
of illustrations from the marvelous Artforms in Nature, Kunstformen der Natur 1899-1904
by Ernst Haeckel, an eminent, prolific and very controversial German biologist, naturalist, philosopher, physician, professor and artist, who named thousands of new species, mapped
a genealogical tree
relating all life forms and coined many terms in biology, including phylum, phylogeny and ecology. [more inside]
posted by nickyskye
on Nov 8, 2007 -
The Zoology Dragon.
"Rather than, as has previously been thought, a slow process of evolution, we now know that all animals were created by the Zoology Dragon. Unfortunately, we also know that the current Zoology Dragon is a bit shit." [Flash.]
posted by homunculus
on Feb 9, 2004 -