How Zoologists Organize Things

The Art of Classification

David Bainbridge
NZD $45.00

Discover how categorisation has shaped our view of the natural world with How Zoologists Organize Things. The book unveils wild truths and even wilder myths about animals, as perpetuated by zoologists - revealing how much more there is to learn, and unlearn.

Humankind's fascination with the animal kingdom began as a matter of survival - differentiating the edible from the toxic, the ferocious from the tractable. Since then, our compulsion to catalogue wildlife has played a key role in growing our understanding of the planet and ourselves, inspiring religious beliefs and evolving scientific theories. The book unveils wild truths and even wilder myths about animals, as perpetuated by zoologists - revealing how much more there is to learn, and unlearn.

Animals were among the first subjects ever drawn by humans. Long before Darwin or Watson and Crick, our ancestors studied the visual similarities and differences between the creatures which inhabit the Earth alongside us. Early savants could sense there was an order, a scheme, which unified all life. The schemes they formulated often tell us as much about ourselves as they do about the animals depicted, highlighting obsessions, fears, revelations and hopes.

The human quest to classify living beings has left us with a rich artistic legacy in four great stages-the folklore and religiosity of the ancient and Medieval world; the naturalistic cataloguing of the Enlightenment; the evolutionary trees and maps of the nineteenth century; and the modern, computer-hued classificatory labyrinth.

The aim of this book is to tell the story of our systematisation of the beasts. These charts of the zoological world parallel prevailing artistic trends and scientific discoveries, woven together with philosophical threads that run throughout: animal life as parable, a tree, a maze, a terra incognita, a mirror upon ourselves.

Author bio:

David Bainbridge is a reproductive biologist, popular science writer, and the Clinical Veterinary Anatomist, the world-top-ranked Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience at the University of Cambridge. As well as many academic and clinical publications, he has written seven popular science books, widely reviewed, discussed and translated. He is a fellow of St Catharine's College, Cambridge, whose alumni include John Ray, the originator of the biological term “species.” David Bainbridge is the definitive voice on zoology classification.

Category: Popular science
ISBN: 9780711252264
Publisher: Quarto UK
Imprint: White Lion Publishing
Pub Date: June 2020
Page Extent: 256
Format: Hard Cover
Subject: Taxonomy & systematics