The Great Naturalists

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Robert Huxley
Thames & Hudson, 2007 - Biography & Autobiography - 304 pages
2 Reviews
The story of natural history as seen through the lives, observations, and discoveries of the world's greatest naturalists.
We owe a debt of gratitude to the great naturalists who described, experimented, and collected, who gave us the means to understand the natural world and the potential not only to exploit it but also to conserve it. They came from all over Europe and America, from Classical times to the end of the nineteenth century when natural history changed from a mainly amateur pursuit to today's specialized scientific profession.
Braving dangers from storms, pirates, and disease in their pursuit of cataloging the natural world, pioneers such as Alexander von Humboldt and Charles Darwin changed the course of science with their daring travels and groundbreaking theories. This book includes many who are well known, such as the earliest great natural historian, Aristotle; Carl Linnaeus, the man who brought order to nature; the great voyager and collector Joseph Banks; and Georges Cuvier, who established the concept of extinction. But others are now given their rightful place: Antony van Leeuwenhoek, who made his own microscopes and discovered bacteria; Nicolas Steno, who opened the door to the earth's geological past; and Mary Anning, "the princess of palaeontology," who had an amazing, self-taught talent for finding fossils.
Many whose lives are described here were great artists as well as naturalists, and the book is illustrated with beautiful and precise paintings and drawings of birds, animals, fossils, fish, shells, and rocks selected from the unparalleled picture archives and collections of the Natural History Museum, London, as well as other sources. 194illustrations, 137 in color.

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Review: The Great Naturalists: From Aristotle to Darwin

User Review  - Susanne - Goodreads

Fascinating stories and historical accounts of the first natural scientists with beautiful pictures. Read full review

Review: The Great Naturalists: From Aristotle to Darwin

User Review  - Tina - Goodreads

I thought this book was very well done. Each naturalist was covered by a different essayist, and all were interesting to read. Many illustrations were included, and they enhanced the text. I would recommend this book as a gift to anyone who likes natural history. Read full review


Pliny the Elder

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About the author (2007)

Robert Huxley is Head of Collections, Department of Botany, The Natural History Museum, London.

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