Archives of natural history, Volume 40, No. 1 (April 2013)
Archives of natural history, Volume 40, No. 1 (April 2013) is available online at Edinburgh University Press.
The Patron’s Review by Joanna HENLEY: The role of the moving image in natural history.
L. J. BAACK: A naturalist of the Northern Enlightenment: Peter Forsskål after 250 years.
K. BARTHELMESS † and I. SVANBERG: A watercolour of a stranded sperm whale from the late seventeenth century.
T. R. BIRKHEAD & I. CHARMANTIER: Nicolas Venette’s Traité du rossignol (1697) and the discovery of migratory restlessness.
H. FUNK: Kaempferol: a case study of what eponyms in chemical nomenclature can tell us.
D. J. GALLOWAY: Olof Swartz’s contributions to lichenology, 1781–1811.
E. W. GROVES †: Archibald Menzies’s visit to King George Sound, Western Australia, September–October 1791.
K. J. LAMBKIN: Conrad Kelsall: “Butterflying” on Little Mulgrave River, North Queensland, in 1903.
P. G. MOORE: Seaside natural history and divinity: a science-inclined Scottish cleric’s avoidance of evolution (1860–1868).
P. G. MOORE: The Lochbuie Marine Institute, Isle of Mull, Scotland.
E. C. NELSON: Archibald Menzies’s visit to Isla del Coco, January 1795.
E. C. NELSON: Charles Whitlaw (né Whitly) (1771–1850): botanist, horticulturist, charlatan and quack.
A. RIČKIENĖ: Flora Litvanica inchoata (1781–1782) by J. E. Gilibert: preliminary census of copies in European libraries.
D. T. MOORE: Eric William Groves 1923-2012: John Thackray Medal 2002
A. RAMAN: Historical references to galls induced by Dixothrips onerosus (Thysanoptera) on the leaves of Terminalia chebula (Combretaceae) in India.
P. G. MOORE: A medical student’s zoology practical notebook from 1898.
G. MANGANELLI & A. BENOCCI: 250 years of Atti dell’Accademia dei Fisiocritici in Siena: its contribution to natural history.
G. FULTON: Dodo, Raphus cucullatus, in the Macleay Museum, The University of Sydney, Australia.
Archives of natural history, Volume 40, No. 1 (2013) Abstracts
Abstracts for 40 part 1 in publication sequence
Patron’s review *
* The Patron’s Review, instituted in 2011, represents an initiative from the Council of the Society for the History of Natural History whereby an outstanding younger scholar, nominated by Council, is invited by the Society’s Patron to write a review that advances the Society’s objects, namely “the historical and bibliographical study of the growth of all branches of natural history in all periods and cultures.”
J. HENLEY: The role of the moving image in natural history
Images of natural history are moving, in that they have the capacity to affect our emotions. It is this emotive capacity of images of the natural world, and their power to change perceptions and behaviour, that is the main focus of this article. It is suggested that images of natural history permit the creation of narratives, anthropomorphic reflection and knowledge transfer within the realms of audience experience and may potentially lead to aesthetic and emotional attachments.
Critical reflections of the history of the moving image are presented, featuring pioneering technological advancements as well as pioneering people. Instances whereby our knowledge of the natural world has been significantly advanced are described. In a contemporary context, the role of new languages of the moving image is discussed, including interpretation and interactive forms of communication, with particular reference to engaging new audiences and changing behaviours towards the natural world.
A critique is offered regarding the unpredictable and unquantifiable impact of visual narratives as well as the often false perceptions they can create. However, it is suggested that within the contexts of natural history and environmental conservation, the artistic growth of the moving image disciplines requires an innovative and transformative approach to create meaningful visual experiences for new audiences.
L. J. BAACK: A naturalist of the Northern Enlightenment: Peter Forsskål after 250 years
Peter Forsskål (1732–1763) was the naturalist on the Royal Danish Expedition to Arabia (1761–1767), a particularly rich example of the eighteenth century era of scientific exploration and a quintessential project of the Enlightenment. Forsskål is noteworthy for his early writings in philosophy and politics and for his outstanding contributions to the botanical and zoological knowledge of the Middle East, specifically Egypt and the Arabian Peninsula, principally Yemen. His biological work stands out for the large number of species identified, its attention to detail, the expansiveness of his descriptions, his knowledge and use of Arabic and his early ideas on plant geography. Forsskål’s research in the marine biology of the Red Sea was also pioneering. His publications and collections represent the single greatest contribution to the knowledge of the natural history of the Middle East in the eighteenth century and are still valued by scholars today. His skill in retaining local terminology in Arabic and his respect for the contributions of local inhabitants to this work are also worth noting. When he died of malaria in 1763 in Yemen, the eighteenth-century world of natural science lost a promising and adventurous scientist.
D. J. GALLOWAY: Olof Swartz’s contributions to lichenology, 1781–1811
The Swedish botanist Olof Peter Swartz (1760–1818), a student of Carl Peter Thunberg and Carl Linnaeus the Younger at Uppsala University, developed an interest in mosses and lichens, which he made the subject of his medical dissertation. He visited Jamaica (1783–1786) where he collected all plant groups and a substantial number of lichens. Apart from the lichens that Swartz described himself, his lichen collections from Sweden, the eastern United States and Jamaica were critically examined by Erik Acharius who described many species from his material. Swartz was a key supporter of Acharius’s work on the development of a new system of lichen taxonomy between 1794 and 1814. Although he is largely known for his pioneering work on flowering plants (especially orchids) and ferns, Swartz made important contributions to late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century lichenology, publishing five major accounts describing 37 new species. Of these, 27 names are basionyms of accepted taxa.
K. BARTHELMESS & I. SVANBEG: A watercolour of a stranded sperm whale from the late seventeenth century
A manuscript album, known as Kungsboken, contains various documents of military relevance assembled during the rule of the Swedish kings Charles XI and Charles XII. Among them is a watercolour depicting a stranded sperm whale. The painting is not signed or dated but is believed to have been done around 1675. It may be an illustration of a whale that was stranded on the north German coast, then part of the Swedish empire. The painting is an interesting example of anamorphosis.
P. G. MOORE: The Lochbuie Marine Institute, Isle of Mull, Scotland
The Lochbuie Marine Institute on the Isle of Mull (Inner Hebrides), established in 1866, had links with the short-lived National Fish Culture Association of Great Britain and Ireland (inaugurated 1882). Its amalgamation with the Scottish Marine Station at Granton (Edinburgh) was informally suggested in 1887, but it ceased to exist about this time.
H. FUNK: Kaempferol: a case study of what eponyms in chemical nomenclature can tell us
Personal names (eponyms) of real or fictitious people can be found both in botanical and zoological nomenclature ever since Linnaeus’s reform efforts (and earlier too) – yet they were never uncontroversial. The same applies for scientific chemical nomenclature where the situation is more complex because besides systematic names, semi-systematic, and even non-scientific (trivial) names such as Glauber’s salt or ammonia (both derived from eponyms), are officially accepted. One of the semi-systematic names is kaempferol, the designation of a natural dyestuff (flavonoid) that occurs in numerous plants, among them Kaempferia galanga. The course of the discovery and name-giving process for this organic compound is traced, elucidating that not only Engelbert Kaempfer was involved, but a whole series of natural scientists.
P. G. MOORE: Seaside natural history and divinity: a science-inclined Scottish cleric’s avoidance of evolution (1860–1868)
The Reverend Robert William Fraser (1810–1876), a Presbyterian minister in Edinburgh, published on religious, historical and scientific (physical science, natural history) themes. His natural history titles Ebb and flow (1860), Seaside divinity (1861) and The seaside naturalist (1868) were aimed at the popular market. Appearing in the years immediately after Darwin’s On the origin of species (1859), the tone of Fraser’s books sheds light on the response of a popular, science-inclined clergyman in Scotland’s Enlightenment capital to the idea of evolution. His avoidance of the issue of evolution by natural selection is evident but was not shared by all contemporary clerics.
E. C. NELSON: Charles Whitlaw (né Whitly) (1771–1850): botanist, horticulturist, charlatan and quack
Charles Whitlaw (otherwise Whitly) was born in Yester, East Lothian, and received training in Edinburgh as a horticulturist before emigrating to North America where he spent about two decades from 1794. He collected botanical specimens, some of which are preserved in the herbarium at the National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin, Dublin. In the United States, Whitlaw obtained a patent for processing the fibres of Urtica whitlawii which was named after him by Muhlenberg. On returning to Britain, he was proposed for election as a Fellow of The Linnean Society of London, but was black-balled. Returning again to North America Whitlaw gave lectures on botanical topics to general audiences using hand-painted “transparencies” acquired from Dr Robert Thornton. Later Whitlaw established “patent medicated vapour baths” in which he employed various North American plants with reputed medicinal properties. Claiming to be able to cure diseases such as scrofula, Whitlaw outraged the medical establishment and he was branded a charlatan and a quack.
K. J. LAMBKIN: Conrad Kelsall: “Butterflying” on the Little Mulgrave River, north Queensland, in 1903
In 1900, an English immigrant, Conrad Kelsall (1873–1936), settled on a block of virgin lowland rainforest on the Little Mulgrave River in tropical north Queensland. Four letters written to his family in Devon in 1903 tell of his butterfly collecting, both as a personal interest and a potential commercial activity. He supplied specimens to local natural history dealer, Alfred Bernie Bell, who sold them to major Australian butterfly collectors, G. A. Waterhouse and George Lyell, English natural history dealers Watkins and Doncaster, and famed lepidopterist Walter Rothschild. One letter also records Kelsall’s contact with little-known Australian beetle collector, Horace Brown. The four letters provide a glimpse of the local enthusiasm for “butterflying” in north Queensland in the early twentieth century, as well as a record of how north Queensland specimens found their way to some of the major butterfly collectors of the day. Annotated transcripts of the letters are provided.
A. RIČKIENĖ: Flora Litvanica inchoata (1781–1782) by J. E. Gilibert: preliminary census of copies in European libraries
Jean-Emmanuel Gilibert (1741–1814) was a French botanist, physician, and politician who lived in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth between 1775 and 1783, where he organized studies on medicine and natural sciences. During this time, he collected local plants, and in 1781–1782, published a two-volume compendium: Flora Litvanica inchoata. One hundred copies of the first volume and an unknown number of the second volume were issued. In 1925, Polish botanist Slawiński noted five libraries holding copies of Flora Litvanica. The current census shows at least 18 European libraries holding original copies of the book.
Prancûzų botanikas, medikas ir politikas Jean-Emmanuel Gilibert (1741–1814) 1775–1783 m. gyveno ir dirbo Lenkijos-Lietuvos valstybėje. Čia jis organizavo medicinos ir gamtos mokslų studijas. Gyvendamas Gardine ir Vilniuje jis rinko vietinius augalus ir 1781–1782 m. publikavo dviejų dalių veikalą Flora Litvanica inchoata. 1781 m. buvo publikuota 100 pirmosios dalies, 1782 m. – nežinomas skaičius antrosios dalies kopijų. 1925 m., straipsnyje apie Gilibert gyvenimą ir veiklą, lenkų botanikas Slawiński paminėjo penkias bibliotekas, kurių fondai turėjo Flora Litvanica. Šiuo metu mažiausiai aštuoniolika Europos bibliotekų saugo originalias šių knygų kopijas.
T. R. BIRKHEAD & I. CHARMANTIER: Nicolas Venette’s Traité du rossignol (1697) and the discovery of migratory restlessness
We identify the little known, anonymous author of a treatise on nightingales, Traité du rossignol, as Nicolas Venette (1633– 1698), a physician based in La Rochelle, France. As well as writing about nightingales, Venette had a wide range of scientific interests, and produced several other books, including an extraordinarily popular sex manual. In his nightingale monograph Venette made observations and wrote in a logical, “scientific” manner, critically assessing previous speculations about the causes of migration in birds. In addition, he was the first to describe the phenomenon of migratory restlessness and to accurately identify its biological significance. Venette is therefore one of a small number of individuals who began the development of scientific ornithology in the seventeenth century.
E. W. GROVES †: Archibald Menzies’s visit to King George Sound, Western Australia, September–October 1791
This paper gives a daily account of an eighteenth-century naval surgeon/botanist’s visit to King George Sound, Western Australia, from 29 September to 11 October 1791, followed by list of the herbarium specimens extant in various British herbaria.
E. C. NELSON: Archibald Menzies’s visit to Isla del Coco, January 1795
Archibald Menzies landed twice at Chatham Bay, Isla del Coco, in January 1795. A small number of his herbarium specimens are extant, including the type specimen of Callicosta rugifolium (Bryophyta; Daltoniaceae) and perhaps also that of Octoea insularis (Angiospermae; Lauraceae), indicating that he was probably the first to make scientific collections on the island.