Corals are still seen by most people as still mineral-plants, not keystone animals. Changing our intuitive understandings of the value of natural things - which seems to have moved on little from the medieval Great Chain of Being- might help to stop biodiversity losses.
Dippy, the iconic cast of a diplodocus skeleton that has inhabited Natural History Museum's Hintze Hall for over a century, has been replaced by the sinuous curve of a blue whale skeleton diving from the ceiling. The decision has been a contentious one, leaving many long-time visitors to the museum feeling bereft of their favourite... Continue Reading →
"To the far north, on the coast of Norway, there lives a mighty creature, as big as an elephant, called the walrus or 'morse', perhaps so named for its sharp bite; for if it glimpses a man on the seashore and can catch him, it jumps on him swiftly, rends him with its teeth, and kills him in an instant"
Why do we want to bring extinct animals back from the dead? We already know how to play jiggsaw with genomes, roll out herds of clones, or store the biosphere's blueprints in gene banks, but resurrection or de-extinction is the ultimate reconstruction.
The Exoticorum libri decem (Ten books of exotics) (1605) was one of the first natural history works published in Europe dealing exclusively with novel exotic plants and animals. It was published by the scholar and naturalist Carolus Clusius (1526-1609), professor of botany at Leiden University, who's extensive network of merchants, scholars, collectors and apothecaries helped... Continue Reading →