N A

quxcunquc ad lNstciA eoiumquc mutationes lpe¿tant, dilucide cx fanioris philofo-phi;e & experiencia? principiis explicantur, Cum Figuris & tndiabm necejjariis , Ex Bélgica Latinam fecit HENR1CUS CHRISTIANUS HENNIN1US Tiottor CMedicus.

Ap'icT |OSl)iwtlh I. UCHTMAN 5.

Ap'icT |OSl)iwtlh I. UCHTMAN 5.

1.8. The title page of Jan Swammerdam's Historia Insectorum Generalis (1685). Swammerdam was a masterful anatomist and one of the earliest scholars to use microscopy to study insects. Photo: American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) Library.

the 1600s allowed levels of scrutiny never before imagined. Indeed, some of the earliest scholars at this time began to focus on insects and produced magnificent tomes. Some of the most significant were Jan Swammerdam's (1637-1680) Historia Insectorum Generalis (published posthumously in 1685; Figures 1.8, 1.9) and later John Ray's (1627-1705) Historia Insectorum (also published posthumously in 1710; Figure 1.10). John Ray's study would, in fact, set the stage for future developments in the classification of insects. This new-found desire to investigate nature, coupled with the various new technologies, opened a new age of exploration. Explorers set sail from western Europe to map the world, bringing back with them specimens and stories from the furthest points on the globe. The founder of modern nomenclature entered the scene during the later part of this era.

Karl Linnaeus and Beyond

Karl Linnaeus (1707-1778) (Figure 1.11) was a Swedish botanist who took the science of systematics on its next greatest leap. It is ironic that the father of biological nomenclature should have such confusion surrounding his own name. He was actually born "Linnaeus," and it is a common misconception that Linnaeus is a latinization of his "real" name "Linné." He did not acquire the ennobled name Linné until late in life, at which time he became Carl von Linné (Blunt, 2001).

Linnaeus did not operate under a model of evolution. However, he did note that nature was roughly hierarchical and thus placed his classification into a hierarchy, or sets of categories, the Linnean Hierarchy. He also, as alluded to, was the first to consistently employ a binomial system so as to condense information because previously the description of organisms involved lengthy paragraphs of Latin (botanists retain a vestige of this and still publish brief diagnoses of new taxa in Latin). Looking for general patterns, as advocated by Aristotle, Linnaeus distilled generalized features into a genus and the most salient distinguishing feature of the individual kinds, or species, into a single epithet (the specific epithet). The specific epithet was then followed by the more standard, lengthy description. However, any given organism would be readily and easily referred to by its binomial composed of a genus and species, like Apis mellifera. With these components, Linnaeus built a classification of all plants and animals. Thus, he was the first systematist to categorize the entire biological world as he understood it into a hierarchical, binomial system (Figure 1.12).

As biologists continued to investigate the world around them and produce classifications, they noted that the characters of organisms sometimes suggested different hierarchies. In the earliest years (e.g., around the time of, and shortly after, Linnaeus), the debate centered around identifying a single character or suite of characters, like the reproductive parts of flowers, that, owing to its various biological properties,

1.9. A plate from Swammerdam's Historia Insectorum Generalis (1685) depicting the metamorphosis of an ant. Photo: AMNH Library.

historia INSECTORUM.

AUTORE JOANNE RÀ T0t

Uollegii S Tm NTT ATI S »pud Cantabrigtcnfc;, 8c ÜOCIETAT1I Recm ulun Socio.

0 0

Post a comment