Natural history
Natural history is the scientific research of plant
Plants are living organisms belonging to the kingdom Plantae. Precise definitions of the kingdom vary, but as the term is used here, plants include familiar organisms such as trees, flowers, herbs, bushes, grasses, vines, ferns, mosses, and green algae. The group is also called green plants or...

s or animal
Animals are a major group of multicellular, eukaryotic organisms of the kingdom Animalia or Metazoa. Their body plan eventually becomes fixed as they develop, although some undergo a process of metamorphosis later on in their life. Most animals are motile, meaning they can move spontaneously and...

s, leaning more towards observation
Observation is either an activity of a living being, such as a human, consisting of receiving knowledge of the outside world through the senses, or the recording of data using scientific instruments. The term may also refer to any data collected during this activity...

al rather than experiment
An experiment is a methodical procedure carried out with the goal of verifying, falsifying, or establishing the validity of a hypothesis. Experiments vary greatly in their goal and scale, but always rely on repeatable procedure and logical analysis of the results...

al methods of study, and encompasses more research published in magazines
Science Magazine
Science Magazine was a half-hour television show produced by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation from 1975 to 1979.The show was hosted by geneticist David Suzuki, who previously hosted the daytime youth programme Suzuki On Science...

 than in academic journals
Scientific journal
In academic publishing, a scientific journal is a periodical publication intended to further the progress of science, usually by reporting new research. There are thousands of scientific journals in publication, and many more have been published at various points in the past...

. Grouped among the natural sciences, natural history is the systematic study of any category of natural objects or organisms. That is a very broad designation in a world filled with many narrowly focused disciplines. So while modern natural history dates historically from studies in the ancient Greco-Roman world
Greco-Roman world
The Greco-Roman world, Greco-Roman culture, or the term Greco-Roman , when used as an adjective, as understood by modern scholars and writers, refers to those geographical regions and countries that culturally were directly, protractedly and intimately influenced by the language, culture,...

 and the medieval Arabic world
Muslim Agricultural Revolution
The Arab Agricultural Revolution is a term coined by the historian Andrew Watson in his influential 1974 paper postulating a fundamental transformation in agriculture from the 8th century to the 13th century in the Muslim...

 through to the scattered European Renaissance
The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...

 scientists working in near isolation, today's field is more of a cross discipline umbrella of many specialty sciences. For example, geobiology
Broadly defined, geobiology is an interdisciplinary field of scientific research that explores interactions between the biosphere and the lithosphere and/or the atmosphere....

 has a strong multi-disciplinary nature combining scientists and scientific knowledge of many specialty sciences.

A person who studies natural history is known as a naturalist or "natural historian".


The English term 'natural history' is a translation of the Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 naturalis historia. Its meaning has narrowed considerably over time (see also History below). In antiquity
Classical antiquity
Classical antiquity is a broad term for a long period of cultural history centered on the Mediterranean Sea, comprising the interlocking civilizations of ancient Greece and ancient Rome, collectively known as the Greco-Roman world...

, it covered more-or-less anything which is connected with nature
Nature (philosophy)
Nature is a concept with two major sets of inter-related meanings, referring on the one hand to the things which are natural, or subject to the normal working of "laws of nature", or on the other hand to the essential properties and causes of those things to be what they naturally are, or in other...

 or which uses materials drawn from nature; see for example the contents of Pliny
Pliny the Elder
Gaius Plinius Secundus , better known as Pliny the Elder, was a Roman author, naturalist, and natural philosopher, as well as naval and army commander of the early Roman Empire, and personal friend of the emperor Vespasian...

's encyclopedia of this title, published circa
c. may refer to:* Circa: in genealogy and historical writing, c. means circa, and is used when the dates of events are approximately known...

 AD 77-79.

Until well into the nineteenth century, knowledge was considered by Europeans to have two main divisions: the humanities
The humanities are academic disciplines that study the human condition, using methods that are primarily analytical, critical, or speculative, as distinguished from the mainly empirical approaches of the natural sciences....

 (including theology
Theology is the systematic and rational study of religion and its influences and of the nature of religious truths, or the learned profession acquired by completing specialized training in religious studies, usually at a university or school of divinity or seminary.-Definition:Augustine of Hippo...

), and studies of nature. Studies of nature could in turn be divided, with natural history being the descriptive counterpart to natural philosophy
Natural philosophy
Natural philosophy or the philosophy of nature , is a term applied to the study of nature and the physical universe that was dominant before the development of modern science...

 which was the analytical study of nature. In modern terms, natural philosophy roughly corresponded to modern physics
Physics is a natural science that involves the study of matter and its motion through spacetime, along with related concepts such as energy and force. More broadly, it is the general analysis of nature, conducted in order to understand how the universe behaves.Physics is one of the oldest academic...

 and chemistry
Chemistry is the science of matter, especially its chemical reactions, but also its composition, structure and properties. Chemistry is concerned with atoms and their interactions with other atoms, and particularly with the properties of chemical bonds....

, while natural history included the biological
Biology is a natural science concerned with the study of life and living organisms, including their structure, function, growth, origin, evolution, distribution, and taxonomy. Biology is a vast subject containing many subdivisions, topics, and disciplines...

 and geological
Geology is the science comprising the study of solid Earth, the rocks of which it is composed, and the processes by which it evolves. Geology gives insight into the history of the Earth, as it provides the primary evidence for plate tectonics, the evolutionary history of life, and past climates...

 sciences. The two were strongly associated. During the heyday of the gentleman scientist
Gentleman scientist
A gentleman scientist is a financially independent scientist who pursues scientific study as a hobby. The term arose in post-Renaissance Europe but became less common in the 20th century as government and private funding increased.-History:...

s, many figures contributed to both fields, and early papers in both were commonly read at professional science society
Academy of Sciences
An Academy of Sciences is a national academy or another learned society dedicated to sciences.In non-English speaking countries, the range of academic fields of the members of a national Academy of Science often includes fields which would not normally be classed as "science" in English...

 meetings such as the Royal Society
Royal Society
The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, known simply as the Royal Society, is a learned society for science, and is possibly the oldest such society in existence. Founded in November 1660, it was granted a Royal Charter by King Charles II as the "Royal Society of London"...

 and the French Academy of Sciences
French Academy of Sciences
The French Academy of Sciences is a learned society, founded in 1666 by Louis XIV at the suggestion of Jean-Baptiste Colbert, to encourage and protect the spirit of French scientific research...

 – both founded during the seventeenth century.

Natural history had been encouraged by practical motives, such as the work of Linnaeus motivated by the desire to improve the economical condition of the Swedish kingdom. Similarly, the Industrial Revolution
Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution was a period from the 18th to the 19th century where major changes in agriculture, manufacturing, mining, transportation, and technology had a profound effect on the social, economic and cultural conditions of the times...

 prompted the development of the science of geology through the need to analyze rock strata
In geology and related fields, a stratum is a layer of sedimentary rock or soil with internally consistent characteristics that distinguish it from other layers...

 (layers) in order to find mineral
A mineral is a naturally occurring solid chemical substance formed through biogeochemical processes, having characteristic chemical composition, highly ordered atomic structure, and specific physical properties. By comparison, a rock is an aggregate of minerals and/or mineraloids and does not...



Modern definitions of natural history come from a variety of fields and sources, and many of the modern definitions emphasize a particular aspect of the field, creating a plurality of definitions with a number of common themes among them. For example, while natural history is most often defined as a type of observation and a subject of study, it can also be defined as a body of knowledge, and as a craft or a practice, in which the emphasis is placed more on the observer than on the observed.

Modern definitions from biologists often focus on the scientific study of individual organisms in their environment, as seen in this definition by M. Bates: "Natural history is the study of animals and Plants - of organisms. ... I like to think, then, of natural history as the study of life at the level of the individual - of what plants and animals do, how they react to each other and their environment, how they are organized into larger groupings like populations and communities" and this more recent definition by D.S. Wilcove and T. Eisner: "The close observation of organisms—their origins, their evolution, their behavior, and their relationships with other species". This focus on organisms in their environment is also echoed by H.W. Greene and J.B. Losos: "Natural history focuses on where organisms are and what they do in their environment, including interactions with other organisms. It encompasses changes in internal states insofar as they pertain to what organisms do". Some definitions go further, focusing on direct observation of organisms in their environment, both past and present, such as this one by G.A. Bartholomew: "A student of natural history, or a naturalist, studies the world by observing plants and animals directly. Because organisms are functionally inseparable from the environment in which they live and because their structure and function cannot be adequately interpreted without knowing some of their evolutionary history, the study of natural history embraces the study of fossils as well as physiographic and other aspects of the physical environment". A common thread in many definitions of natural history is the inclusion of a descriptive component, as seen in a recent definition by H.W. Greene: "Descriptive ecology and ethology".

Recently, several authors have argued for a more expansive view of natural history, including S. Herman, who defines the field as "the scientific study of plants and animals in their natural environments. It is concerned with levels of organization from the individual organism to the ecosystem, and stresses identification, life history, distribution, abundance, and inter-relationships. It often and appropriately includes an esthetic component", and T. Fleischner, who defines the field even more broadly, as “A practice of intentional, focused attentiveness and receptivity to the more-than-human world, guided by honesty and accuracy". These definitions explicitly include the arts in the field of natural history, and are aligned with the broad definition outlined by B. Lopez, who defines the field as the "Patient interrogation of a landscape" while referring to the natural history knowledge of the Eskimo.

A slightly different, but equally expansive framework for natural history is also implied in the scope of work encompassed by many leading natural history museums, which often include elements of Anthropology, Geology, Paleontology and Astronomy along with Botany and Zoology, or include both cultural and natural components of the world.

The plurality of definitions for this field has recently been recognized as both a weakness and a strength, and a range of definitions have recently been offered by practitioners in a recent collection of views on natural history.


Natural history begins with Aristotle
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

 and other ancient philosophers who analyzed the diversity of the natural world. Natural history, as a discipline, had existed since classical times, and fifteenth-century Europeans were very familiar with Pliny the Elder's Historia Naturalis. From the ancient Greeks until the work of Carolus Linnaeus (also known as Carl Linnaeus, or Carl von Linné) and other 18th century naturalists, the main concept of natural history was the scala naturae or Great Chain of Being
Great chain of being
The great chain of being , is a Christian concept detailing a strict, religious hierarchical structure of all matter and life, believed to have been decreed by the Christian God.-Divisions:...

, a conceptual arrangement of minerals, vegetables, more primitive forms of animals, and more complex life forms on a linear scale of increasing "perfection", culminating in our species.

Pedanius Dioscorides
Pedanius Dioscorides was a Greek physician, pharmacologist and botanist, the author of a 5-volume encyclopedia about herbal medicine and related medicinal substances , that was widely read for more than 1,500 years.-Life:...

' De Materia Medica is often said to be the oldest and most valuable work in the history of botany. A Greek manuscript of Aristotle's Biological Works, written in Constantinople
Constantinople was the capital of the Roman, Eastern Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman Empires. Throughout most of the Middle Ages, Constantinople was Europe's largest and wealthiest city.-Names:...

 in the mid-9th century, and preserved at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, is probably the oldest surviving manuscript of texts that founded the science of biology.

While natural history was basically static in medieval Europe, it continued to be developed by Arabic scholars during the Arab Agricultural Revolution.
Al-Jāḥiẓ was an Arabic prose writer and author of works of literature, Mu'tazili theology, and politico-religious polemics.In biology, Al-Jahiz introduced the concept of food chains and also proposed a scheme of animal evolution that entailed...

 described early natural history ideas such as the "struggle for existence" (Malthus' phrase), and the idea of a food chain
Food chain
A food web depicts feeding connections in an ecological community. Ecologists can broadly lump all life forms into one of two categories called trophic levels: 1) the autotrophs, and 2) the heterotrophs...

. He was an early adherent of environmental determinism
Environmental determinism
Environmental determinism, also known as climatic determinism or geographical determinism, is the view that the physical environment, rather than social conditions, determines culture...

. Al-Dinawari
Ābu Ḥanīfah Āḥmad ibn Dawūd Dīnawarī was a Persian polymath excelling as much in astronomy, agriculture, botany and metallurgy and as he did in geography, mathematics and history. He was born in Dinawar, . He studied astronomy, mathematics and mechanics in Isfahan and philology and poetry in...

 is considered the founder of Arabic botany
Botany, plant science, or plant biology is a branch of biology that involves the scientific study of plant life. Traditionally, botany also included the study of fungi, algae and viruses...

 for his Book of Plants, in which he described at least 637 plants and discussed plant development
Plant morphology
Plant morphology or phytomorphology is the study of the physical form and external structure of plants. This is usually considered distinct from plant anatomy, which is the study of the internal structure of plants, especially at the microscopic level...

 from germination (sprouting) to death, describing the phases of plant growth and the production of flowers and fruit. Abu al-Abbas al-Nabati developed an early scientific method
Scientific method
Scientific method refers to a body of techniques for investigating phenomena, acquiring new knowledge, or correcting and integrating previous knowledge. To be termed scientific, a method of inquiry must be based on gathering empirical and measurable evidence subject to specific principles of...

 for botany, introducing empirical
The word empirical denotes information gained by means of observation or experimentation. Empirical data are data produced by an experiment or observation....

 and experimental techniques in the testing, description and identification of numerous materia medica
Materia medica
Materia medica is a Latin medical term for the body of collected knowledge about the therapeutic properties of any substance used for healing . The term 'materia medica' derived from the title of a work by the Ancient Greek physician Pedanius Dioscorides in the 1st century AD, De materia medica libre...

, and separating unverified reports from those supported by actual tests and observations. His student Ibn al-Baitar wrote a pharmaceutical
Pharmacy is the health profession that links the health sciences with the chemical sciences and it is charged with ensuring the safe and effective use of pharmaceutical drugs...

 encyclopedia describing 1,400 plants, food
Food is any substance consumed to provide nutritional support for the body. It is usually of plant or animal origin, and contains essential nutrients, such as carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, or minerals...

s, and drug
A drug, broadly speaking, is any substance that, when absorbed into the body of a living organism, alters normal bodily function. There is no single, precise definition, as there are different meanings in drug control law, government regulations, medicine, and colloquial usage.In pharmacology, a...

s, 300 of which were his own original discoveries. A Latin translation of his work was useful to European biologists and pharmacists in the 18th and 19th centuries. Earth science
Earth science
Earth science is an all-embracing term for the sciences related to the planet Earth. It is arguably a special case in planetary science, the Earth being the only known life-bearing planet. There are both reductionist and holistic approaches to Earth sciences...

s such as geology were also studied extensively by Arabic geologists
Islamic geography
Geography and cartography in medieval Islam refers to the advancement of geography, cartography and the earth sciences in the medieval Islamic civilization....

, but by Avicenna's time, around 1000, the Arab Empire was in decline and scientists were not free to publish their ideas.
From the 13th century, the work of Aristotle was adapted rather rigidly into Christian philosophy
Christian philosophy
Christian philosophy may refer to any development in philosophy that is characterised by coming from a Christian tradition.- Origins of Christian philosophy :...

, particularly by Thomas Aquinas
Thomas Aquinas
Thomas Aquinas, O.P. , also Thomas of Aquin or Aquino, was an Italian Dominican priest of the Catholic Church, and an immensely influential philosopher and theologian in the tradition of scholasticism, known as Doctor Angelicus, Doctor Communis, or Doctor Universalis...

, forming the basis for natural theology
Natural theology
Natural theology is a branch of theology based on reason and ordinary experience. Thus it is distinguished from revealed theology which is based on scripture and religious experiences of various kinds; and also from transcendental theology, theology from a priori reasoning.Marcus Terentius Varro ...

. During the Renaissance, scholars (herbalists and humanists, particularly) returned to direct observation of plants and animals for natural history, and many began to accumulate large collections of exotic specimens and unusual monsters. Andrea Cesalpino
Andrea Cesalpino
Andrea Cesalpino was an Italian physician, philosopher and botanist....

 was the creator of one of the first herbaria and the inventor of botanical systematics. Leonhart Fuchs
Leonhart Fuchs
Leonhart Fuchs , sometimes spelled Leonhard Fuchs, was a German physician and one of the three founding fathers of botany, along with Otto Brunfels and Hieronymus Bock .-Biography:...

 was one of the three founding fathers of botany, along with Otto Brunfels
Otto Brunfels
Otto Brunfels was a German theologian and botanist...

 and Hieronymus Bock
Hieronymus Bock
Hieronymus Bock was a German botanist, physician, and Lutheran minister who began the transition from medieval botany to the modern scientific worldview by arranging plants by their relation or resemblance....

. Important contributors to the field were also Valerius Cordus
Valerius Cordus
Valerius Cordus was a German physician and botanist who authored one of the greatest pharmacopoeias and one of the most celebrated herbals in history...

, Konrad Gesner (Historiae animalium
Historiae animalium (Gesner)
Historiae animalium published at Zurich in 1551-58 and 1587, is an encyclopedic work of "an inventory of renaissance zoology" by Conrad Gesner, a doctor and professor at the Carolinum, the precursor of the University of Zurich...

), Frederik Ruysch
Frederik Ruysch
Frederik Ruysch was a Dutch botanist and anatomist, remembered for his developments in anatomical preservation and the creation of dioramas or scenes incorporating human parts...

, or Gaspard Bauhin
Gaspard Bauhin
Gaspard Bauhin, or Caspar Bauhin , was a Swiss botanist who wrote Pinax theatri botanici , which described thousands of plants and classified them in a manner that draws comparisons to the later binomial nomenclature of Linnaeus...

. The rapid increase in the number of known organisms prompted many attempts at classifying and organizing species into taxonomic groups
Taxonomy is the science of identifying and naming species, and arranging them into a classification. The field of taxonomy, sometimes referred to as "biological taxonomy", revolves around the description and use of taxonomic units, known as taxa...

, culminating in the system of the Swedish naturalist Carl Linnaeus.

In modern Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

, professional disciplines such as physiology
Physiology is the science of the function of living systems. This includes how organisms, organ systems, organs, cells, and bio-molecules carry out the chemical or physical functions that exist in a living system. The highest honor awarded in physiology is the Nobel Prize in Physiology or...

, botany, zoology
Zoology |zoölogy]]), is the branch of biology that relates to the animal kingdom, including the structure, embryology, evolution, classification, habits, and distribution of all animals, both living and extinct...

, geology, and palaeontology were formed. Natural history, formerly the main subject taught by college science professors, was increasingly scorned by scientists of a more specialized manner and relegated to an "amateur" activity, rather than a part of science proper. In Victorian Scotland it was believed that the study of natural history contributed to good mental health. Particularly in Britain and the United States, this grew into specialist hobbies such as the study of birds
Ornithology is a branch of zoology that concerns the study of birds. Several aspects of ornithology differ from related disciplines, due partly to the high visibility and the aesthetic appeal of birds...

, butterflies, seashells (malacology
Malacology is the branch of invertebrate zoology which deals with the study of the Mollusca , the second-largest phylum of animals in terms of described species after the arthropods. Mollusks include snails and slugs, clams, octopus and squid, and numerous other kinds, many of which have shells...

Conchology is the scientific or amateur study of mollusc shells. Conchology is one aspect of malacology, the study of molluscs, however malacology studies molluscs as whole organisms, not just their shells. Conchology pre-dated malacology as a field of study. It includes the study of land and...

), beetles and wildflowers; meanwhile, scientists tried to define a unified discipline of biology (though with only partial success, at least until the modern evolutionary synthesis
Modern evolutionary synthesis
The modern evolutionary synthesis is a union of ideas from several biological specialties which provides a widely accepted account of evolution...

). Still, the traditions of natural history continue to play a part in the study of biology, especially ecology (the study of natural systems involving living organisms and the inorganic components of the Earth's biosphere that support them), ethology
Ethology is the scientific study of animal behavior, and a sub-topic of zoology....

 (the scientific study of animal behavior), and evolutionary biology (the study of the relationships between life-forms over very long periods of time), and re-emerges today as integrative organismal biology.

Amateur collectors and natural history entrepreneurs played an important role in building the large natural history collections of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, such as the Smithsonian Institution
Smithsonian Institution
The Smithsonian Institution is an educational and research institute and associated museum complex, administered and funded by the government of the United States and by funds from its endowment, contributions, and profits from its retail operations, concessions, licensing activities, and magazines...

's National Museum of Natural History
National Museum of Natural History
The National Museum of Natural History is a natural history museum administered by the Smithsonian Institution, located on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., United States. Admission is free and the museum is open 364 days a year....



Natural history museum
A museum is an institution that cares for a collection of artifacts and other objects of scientific, artistic, cultural, or historical importance and makes them available for public viewing through exhibits that may be permanent or temporary. Most large museums are located in major cities...

s, which evolved from cabinets of curiosities
Cabinet of curiosities
A cabinet of curiosities was an encyclopedic collection in Renaissance Europe of types of objects whose categorical boundaries were yet to be defined. They were also known by various names such as Cabinet of Wonder, and in German Kunstkammer or Wunderkammer...

, played an important role in the emergence of professional biological disciplines and research programs. Particularly in the 19th century, scientists began to use their natural history collections as teaching tools for advanced students and the basis for their own morphological
Morphology (biology)
In biology, morphology is a branch of bioscience dealing with the study of the form and structure of organisms and their specific structural features....



The term "natural history" alone, or sometimes together with archeology, forms the name of many national, regional and local natural history societies that maintain records for birds (ornithology
Ornithology is a branch of zoology that concerns the study of birds. Several aspects of ornithology differ from related disciplines, due partly to the high visibility and the aesthetic appeal of birds...

), mammal
Mammals are members of a class of air-breathing vertebrate animals characterised by the possession of endothermy, hair, three middle ear bones, and mammary glands functional in mothers with young...

s (mammalogy), insect
Insects are a class of living creatures within the arthropods that have a chitinous exoskeleton, a three-part body , three pairs of jointed legs, compound eyes, and two antennae...

s (entomology
Entomology is the scientific study of insects, a branch of arthropodology...

), fungi (mycology
Mycology is the branch of biology concerned with the study of fungi, including their genetic and biochemical properties, their taxonomy and their use to humans as a source for tinder, medicinals , food and entheogens, as well as their dangers, such as poisoning or...

) and plants (botany). They may also have microscopical
A microscope is an instrument used to see objects that are too small for the naked eye. The science of investigating small objects using such an instrument is called microscopy...

 and geological sections.

Examples of these societies in Britain include the Natural History Society of Northumbria founded in 1829, British Entomological and Natural History Society
British Entomological and Natural History Society
The British Entomological and Natural History Society or BENHS is a British entomological society. It is based at Dinton Pastures Country Park in Reading.-History:BENHS was founded in 1872 as the South London Entomological and Natural History Society....

 founded in 1872, Birmingham
Birmingham is a city and metropolitan borough in the West Midlands of England. It is the most populous British city outside the capital London, with a population of 1,036,900 , and lies at the heart of the West Midlands conurbation, the second most populous urban area in the United Kingdom with a...

 Natural History Society, Glasgow
Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland and third most populous in the United Kingdom. The city is situated on the River Clyde in the country's west central lowlands...

 Natural History Society, London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

 Natural History Society founded in 1858, Manchester
Manchester is a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England. According to the Office for National Statistics, the 2010 mid-year population estimate for Manchester was 498,800. Manchester lies within one of the UK's largest metropolitan areas, the metropolitan county of Greater...

 Microscopical and Natural History Society established in 1880, Scarborough Field Naturalists' Society and the Sorby Natural History Society, Sheffield
Sheffield is a city and metropolitan borough of South Yorkshire, England. Its name derives from the River Sheaf, which runs through the city. Historically a part of the West Riding of Yorkshire, and with some of its southern suburbs annexed from Derbyshire, the city has grown from its largely...

, founded in 1918. The growth of natural history societies was also spurred due to the growth of British colonies in tropical regions with numerous new species to be discovered. Many civil servants took an interest in their new surroundings, sending specimens back to museums in Britain. (See also Indian natural history
Indian natural history
Natural history in India has a long heritage with a recorded history going back to the Vedas. Natural history research in early times included the broad fields of paleontology, zoology and botany...


See also

  • Big History
    Big History
    Big History is a field of historical study that examines history on large scales across long time frames through a multidisciplinary approach, focusing on both the history of the non-human world and on major adaptations and alterations in the human experience...

  • Evolutionary history of life
    Evolutionary history of life
    The evolutionary history of life on Earth traces the processes by which living and fossil organisms have evolved since life on Earth first originated until the present day. Earth formed about 4.5 Ga and life appeared on its surface within one billion years...

  • Natural environment
    Natural environment
    The natural environment encompasses all living and non-living things occurring naturally on Earth or some region thereof. It is an environment that encompasses the interaction of all living species....

  • Natural landscape
    Natural landscape
    A natural landscape is a landscape that is unaffected by human activity. A natural landscape is intact when all living and nonliving elements are free to move and change. The nonliving elements distinguish a natural landscape from a wilderness. A wilderness includes areas within which natural...

  • Natural science
    Natural science
    The natural sciences are branches of science that seek to elucidate the rules that govern the natural world by using empirical and scientific methods...

  • Naturalism (philosophy)
    Naturalism (philosophy)
    Naturalism commonly refers to the philosophical viewpoint that the natural universe and its natural laws and forces operate in the universe, and that nothing exists beyond the natural universe or, if it does, it does not affect the natural universe that we know...

  • Nature documentary
    Nature documentary
    A natural history film or wildlife film is a documentary film about animals, plants, or other non-human living creatures, usually concentrating on film taken in their natural habitat...

  • Nature writing
    Nature writing
    Nature writing is generally defined as nonfiction prose writing about the natural environment. Nature writing often draws heavily on scientific information and facts about the natural world; at the same time, it is frequently written in the first person and incorporates personal observations of and...

  • Nature
    Nature, in the broadest sense, is equivalent to the natural world, physical world, or material world. "Nature" refers to the phenomena of the physical world, and also to life in general...

  • Nature study
    Nature study
    The nature study movement was a popular education movement in America in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Nature study attempted to reconcile scientific investigation with spiritual, personal experiences gained from interaction with the natural world...

  • Prehistoric life
  • Terra: The Nature of Our World
    Terra: The Nature of Our World
    Terra: The Nature of Our World, launched in October 2005 and was one of the first video podcasts. TERRA is a highly successful weekly video show about science and natural history,It is produced in conjunction with the , , and ....

     (video podcast)
  • Timeline of evolution
    Timeline of evolution
    This timeline of evolution of life outlines the major events in the development of life on planet Earth since it first originated until the present day. In biology, evolution is any change across successive generations in the heritable characteristics of biological populations...

- - - - -
  • Parson-naturalist
    Parson-naturalists were a group of 19th Century parsons who saw the study of science as an extension of their religious work. The philosophy entailed the belief that God, as the Creator of all things, wanted man to understand his Creations and thus to study them through scientific techniques.These...

  • Russian naturalists

External links

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