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How Zoologists Organize Things: The Art of Classification

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Humankind’s fascination with the animal kingdom began as a matter of survival – differentiating the edible from the toxic, the ferocious from the tractable. Since then, our compulsion to catalogue wildlife has played a key role in growing our understanding of the planet and ourselves, inspiring religious beliefs and evolving scientific theories. The book unveils wild truth Humankind’s fascination with the animal kingdom began as a matter of survival – differentiating the edible from the toxic, the ferocious from the tractable. Since then, our compulsion to catalogue wildlife has played a key role in growing our understanding of the planet and ourselves, inspiring religious beliefs and evolving scientific theories. The book unveils wild truths and even wilder myths about animals, as perpetuated by zoologists – revealing how much more there is to learn, and unlearn. Long before Darwin, our ancestors were obsessed with the visual similarities and differences between the animals. Early scientists could sense there was an order that unified all life and formulated a variety of schemes to help illustrate this. This human quest to classify living beings has left us with a rich artistic legacy, from the folklore and religiosity of the ancient and Medieval world through the naturalistic cataloging of the Enlightenment to the modern, computer-generated classificatory labyrinth. This book tells the fascinating, visual story of this process. The wonderful zoological charts reflect prevailing artistic trends and scientific discoveries, as well as telling us as much about ourselves as they do about the creatures depicted.


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Humankind’s fascination with the animal kingdom began as a matter of survival – differentiating the edible from the toxic, the ferocious from the tractable. Since then, our compulsion to catalogue wildlife has played a key role in growing our understanding of the planet and ourselves, inspiring religious beliefs and evolving scientific theories. The book unveils wild truth Humankind’s fascination with the animal kingdom began as a matter of survival – differentiating the edible from the toxic, the ferocious from the tractable. Since then, our compulsion to catalogue wildlife has played a key role in growing our understanding of the planet and ourselves, inspiring religious beliefs and evolving scientific theories. The book unveils wild truths and even wilder myths about animals, as perpetuated by zoologists – revealing how much more there is to learn, and unlearn. Long before Darwin, our ancestors were obsessed with the visual similarities and differences between the animals. Early scientists could sense there was an order that unified all life and formulated a variety of schemes to help illustrate this. This human quest to classify living beings has left us with a rich artistic legacy, from the folklore and religiosity of the ancient and Medieval world through the naturalistic cataloging of the Enlightenment to the modern, computer-generated classificatory labyrinth. This book tells the fascinating, visual story of this process. The wonderful zoological charts reflect prevailing artistic trends and scientific discoveries, as well as telling us as much about ourselves as they do about the creatures depicted.

30 review for How Zoologists Organize Things: The Art of Classification

  1. 5 out of 5

    Nenia ✨ I yeet my books back and forth ✨ Campbell

    Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest This is such a beautiful book. It's hard bound, with actual thread in the spine holding the pages together. I haven't seen a book like this in years, it's so wonderfully made. I've always loved biology-- it was the only science I ever really felt passionate about-- so obviously I couldn't pass up the chance to get this book that's part art book, part history book, and part science book. HOW ZOOLOGISTS ORGANIZE THINGS is a history of taxo Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest This is such a beautiful book. It's hard bound, with actual thread in the spine holding the pages together. I haven't seen a book like this in years, it's so wonderfully made. I've always loved biology-- it was the only science I ever really felt passionate about-- so obviously I couldn't pass up the chance to get this book that's part art book, part history book, and part science book. HOW ZOOLOGISTS ORGANIZE THINGS is a history of taxonomy, yes, but it also has many beautiful full-color illustrations (at least one per page, I would say), and lots of interesting history about how the way we viewed the natural world changed over time. The book begins with bestiaries and theology, and the mysticism with which people in the dark ages viewed animals and wildlife. The animals are quite funnily drawn, with faces that look more like human faces placed on an animal body, and it's quite strange. The lore they came up with about these animals is also ridiculous. Apparently at least one author believed that hedgehogs were evil, mischievous critters who rolled in fruit to have it stick to their spines so they could steal it away. How funny! During the Renaissance, the observations become more scientific in nature, and obviously, in the 19th century, it became a full-blown field that had explores tromping off into the far reaches of the world, looking for new specimens. Lest you think that the author ignores the darker side of that research, he does not. The racism and colonial entitlement of these explorers is noted several times on the page; scientific discovery advanced before people's ethics did, with catastrophic results. The book ends with some of the more modern advancements we have made with our current science, bringing the book full circle. We start out with codices of bible stories, and end on microscopic images generated with computers and powerful microscopes. There's still lots we don't know about the animal kingdom, though, and I think the one constant in this book is that sense of wonder and innate curiosity that led to these sorts of studies (even if that curiosity could, and did, end up becoming quite cruel). This is not an easy read but it is very image-heavy and the images are absolutely gorgeous and have very helpful captions. Anyone who loves biology and history might consider buying this book for the images alone. I've already had several family members ask to borrow this book when I'm done because they were so impressed by the illustrations. The author, David Bainbridge, is a veterinary anatomist at Cambridge, and his knowledge really shines through in this book. Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review! 5 stars!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Eddie

    Really beautiful book! ‘Art’ is the operative word in the title - its packed with lots and lots of colour illustrations, and it’s a quick read. This is definitely more of a history of classification rather than a guide as to how classifications are made today. It gives a fascinating overview of how philosophers and scientists organised the natural world from ancient times right up to the present day. The bulk of the book is comprised of illustrations and diagrams, accompanied by short explanatio Really beautiful book! ‘Art’ is the operative word in the title - its packed with lots and lots of colour illustrations, and it’s a quick read. This is definitely more of a history of classification rather than a guide as to how classifications are made today. It gives a fascinating overview of how philosophers and scientists organised the natural world from ancient times right up to the present day. The bulk of the book is comprised of illustrations and diagrams, accompanied by short explanations. Felt like looking through a museum. I really can’t fault this book - it was a perfect combination of my interests in science, nature, art, and history. However, if you’re looking for a guide on how to actually classify species then this won’t be the best book.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Janet

    Date reviewed: August 4, 2020 When life for the entire universe and planet turns on its end and like everyone else you "have nothing to do" while your place of work is closed and you are continuing to be in #COVID19 #socialisolation, superspeed readers like me can read 250+ pages/hour, so yes, I have read the book … and many more today. And it is way too hot to go outside, so why not sit in from of the blasting a/c and read and review books?? BTW - stay home and save lives!!!!!!!! No tan is worth Date reviewed: August 4, 2020 When life for the entire universe and planet turns on its end and like everyone else you "have nothing to do" while your place of work is closed and you are continuing to be in #COVID19 #socialisolation, superspeed readers like me can read 250+ pages/hour, so yes, I have read the book … and many more today. And it is way too hot to go outside, so why not sit in from of the blasting a/c and read and review books?? BTW - stay home and save lives!!!!!!!! No tan is worth dying for. I requested and received a temporary digital Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley, the publisher and the author in exchange for an honest review. From the publisher, as I do not repeat the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it as they do it better than I do 😸. Humankind’s fascination with the animal kingdom began as a matter of survival – differentiating the edible from the toxic, the ferocious from the tractable. Since then, our compulsion to catalogue wildlife has played a key role in growing our understanding of the planet and ourselves, inspiring religious beliefs and evolving scientific theories. The book unveils wild truths and even wilder myths about animals, as perpetuated by zoologists – revealing how much more there is to learn and unlearn. Long before Darwin, our ancestors were obsessed with the visual similarities and differences between the animals. Early scientists could sense there was an order that unified all life and formulated a variety of schemes to help illustrate this. This human quest to classify living beings has left us with a rich artistic legacy, from the folklore and religiosity of the ancient and Medieval world through the naturalistic cataloging of the Enlightenment to the modern, computer-generated classificatory labyrinth. This book tells the fascinating, visual story of this process. The wonderful zoological charts reflect prevailing artistic trends and scientific discoveries, as well as telling us as much about ourselves as they do about the creatures depicted. OH, THIS REMINDS ME OF LIBRARY SCHOOL ... back in the days when we would be given a book and asked to classify it and give it a call number, LC classification and analyze what the subjects should be. This book is quite the same - but not as boring as the library school often was. (This was before computers when you could just look up what you need ... yes, the 1980s were dinosaur years. Any lover of animals (or kids like my nephew who are information freaks ... and on the autism spectrum) will love this book --- I already ordered one to go to my nephew to keep him occupied for, well, maybe a whole day. There is a lot of information here but it is not dry or dusty - it is just fascinating to me and a lot of readers would enjoy it, too. The illustrations are top-notch and I just loved all the information, explanations and data in here...oh the was such a "librarian" thing to say. Not for kids, but older tweens/teens would probably love it as well. A fabulous book worth every penny. As always, I try to find a reason to not rate with stars as I love emojis (outside of their incessant use by "🙏-ed Social Influencer Millennials/#BachelorNation survivors/Tik-Tok and YouTube Millionaires/etc. " on Instagram and Twitter... Get a real job, people!) so let's give it 🐟🐠🐬🐟🐠

  4. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Furger

    Very beautiful book, but wasn’t quite what I was expecting. A very quick read (literally finished it a couple of hours), I was hoping for more analysis (“meat” if you will). Definitely going to keep it, but more of a coffee table book than anything else.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Karin Timmermans

    Mooi boek, maar dan vooral vanwege de illustraties. De informatie is beknopt.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Steve

    Interesting coffee table book of zoology I loved this book. I was expecting a somewhat detailed look at animal classification with some explanatory artwork. Instead I was treated to an amazing collection of art with some description of the classification process. The descriptions were succinct and very clear. They introduced me to many biologists I had never heard of, and reintroduced me to many I was already familiar with. But the art was just outstanding. I finished this book rather quickly bec Interesting coffee table book of zoology I loved this book. I was expecting a somewhat detailed look at animal classification with some explanatory artwork. Instead I was treated to an amazing collection of art with some description of the classification process. The descriptions were succinct and very clear. They introduced me to many biologists I had never heard of, and reintroduced me to many I was already familiar with. But the art was just outstanding. I finished this book rather quickly because I fell into the “just one more page” trap. I couldn't put the book down. I read and reviewed a PDF galley and I loved the pictures. As a print book, I can only imagine how beautiful the art would be. I strongly recommend this book for anyone interested in biology. Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book via Netgalley for review purposes.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Flocarine

    Zum Inhalt Humankind’s fascination with the animal kingdom began as a matter of survival – differentiating the edible from the toxic, the ferocious from the tractable. Since then, our compulsion to catalogue wildlife has played a key role in growing our understanding of the planet and ourselves, inspiring religious beliefs and evolving scientific theories. The book unveils wild truths and even wilder myths about animals, as perpetuated by zoologists – revealing how much more there is to learn, an Zum Inhalt Humankind’s fascination with the animal kingdom began as a matter of survival – differentiating the edible from the toxic, the ferocious from the tractable. Since then, our compulsion to catalogue wildlife has played a key role in growing our understanding of the planet and ourselves, inspiring religious beliefs and evolving scientific theories. The book unveils wild truths and even wilder myths about animals, as perpetuated by zoologists – revealing how much more there is to learn, and unlearn. Long before Darwin, our ancestors were obsessed with the visual similarities and differences between the animals. Early scientists could sense there was an order that unified all life and formulated a variety of schemes to help illustrate this. This human quest to classify living beings has left us with a rich artistic legacy, from the folklore and religiosity of the ancient and Medieval world through the naturalistic cataloging of the Enlightenment to the modern, computer-generated classificatory labyrinth. This book tells the fascinating, visual story of this process. The wonderful zoological charts reflect prevailing artistic trends and scientific discoveries, as well as telling us as much about ourselves as they do about the creatures depicted. Meine Meinung: .. when I was little, I used to browse through my parents and grandparents books - I loved those old encyclopdias with old pictures in it. I didn´t care about the information, only for those illustrations. And today I felt little again, great illsutrations and a little information. I loved to browse through it! I definetly recommend this for everyone, just for fun. Note: 1+++ or A+ Thanks for letting me dive into my childhood again with this nice ARC - the given opinion is mine!

  8. 5 out of 5

    J Earl

    How Zoologists Organize Things: The Art of Classification by David Bainbridge is a beautiful and fascinating look at the evolution of both science and art through history. Namely, through the lens of classification we see how the science has changed and how the visual presentation of that science, the art, has changed. I first flipped, electronically, through the book, looking at the many images and reading a few little snippets. I intended to then set it aside, finish another couple of books I w How Zoologists Organize Things: The Art of Classification by David Bainbridge is a beautiful and fascinating look at the evolution of both science and art through history. Namely, through the lens of classification we see how the science has changed and how the visual presentation of that science, the art, has changed. I first flipped, electronically, through the book, looking at the many images and reading a few little snippets. I intended to then set it aside, finish another couple of books I was reading, then come back to read it. Well, I ended up immediately starting it after going through it and fit it in with my other reading. The writing itself was adequate, maybe a little dry at times, but not overly so. The material, however, more than kept my interest and even the few times when I thought the writing was dry I never lost interest. But to be honest I think the real value of the book is in the wealth of images. The text is absolutely necessary to contextualize everything and tell the story, but the pictures are what most readers will remember. I kept taking my tablet into the other room to show the pictures and talk about what they represented both historically and scientifically. A physical copy of this book would no doubt be even more appealing. I would recommend this to both the science reader as well as the casual reader of nice coffee table books or books of photographs or artwork. The information is detailed enough to be useful if you're interested in learning and the images are just wonderful to look at. Reviewed from a copy made available by the publisher via NetGalley.

  9. 4 out of 5

    SRL-0011

    I loved this book about the history of how zoologists organize the living things on this planet. Written and explained in a way that even the non-science person can relate and learn. The telling of how the science of classification progressed from the readings in the bible , through Linnaeus and Darwin, to lesser known scientists like Anna Atkins and the crazy ideas of Josiah Nott put into perspective how scientists build ideas and change their ideas based on knowledge passed down. I wish I woul I loved this book about the history of how zoologists organize the living things on this planet. Written and explained in a way that even the non-science person can relate and learn. The telling of how the science of classification progressed from the readings in the bible , through Linnaeus and Darwin, to lesser known scientists like Anna Atkins and the crazy ideas of Josiah Nott put into perspective how scientists build ideas and change their ideas based on knowledge passed down. I wish I would have had a book like this for the introduction to my Evolutionary Biology class in college. It's never too late to keep learning and this book will be kept in my collection to share. Diagrams and charts in this book are beyond informational and interesting.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Katie Coren

    I spent the entirety of my childhood "preparing" to become a zoologist. I'm talking Mead composition notebooks filled with notes, going through the encyclopedia (because you know, this was pre-google days) A-Z to read about animals - especially frogs. So with that said, I was immediately drawn to this. This is a beautiful book, it's a quick read but filled with some really interesting and gorgeous pictures and paintings from across the ages showing just how far we've come in understanding life. Y I spent the entirety of my childhood "preparing" to become a zoologist. I'm talking Mead composition notebooks filled with notes, going through the encyclopedia (because you know, this was pre-google days) A-Z to read about animals - especially frogs. So with that said, I was immediately drawn to this. This is a beautiful book, it's a quick read but filled with some really interesting and gorgeous pictures and paintings from across the ages showing just how far we've come in understanding life. You don't have to have spent your childhood obsessed with animals to enjoy, so I highly suggest adding this one to your coffee table to flip through again and again.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Dylan

    This is a very good book, what you might call "coffee table lite," in that it is hardback, well-made, & has lots of pictures. But also you can read through it front-to-back pretty easily and pretty quickly. It traces the history of the art of classifying animals—from medieval bestiaries where the artists just could not figure out how to draw animal faces differently from human faces, to famous tree of life drawings by Darwin & Haeckel, to modern phylogenetic data visualizations. There should be This is a very good book, what you might call "coffee table lite," in that it is hardback, well-made, & has lots of pictures. But also you can read through it front-to-back pretty easily and pretty quickly. It traces the history of the art of classifying animals—from medieval bestiaries where the artists just could not figure out how to draw animal faces differently from human faces, to famous tree of life drawings by Darwin & Haeckel, to modern phylogenetic data visualizations. There should be more books like this.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Grettel

    I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review This is a stunning book for art and nature lovers alike. Chronicling the art and science of classifying the natural world from the religiosity of medieval times, the naturalist enlightenment period, the evolution theories of the nineteenth century, and culminating in modern computer-empowered classification. This books is the equivalent of visiting a museum where entries are extremely beautiful art pieces and illustrations cura I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review This is a stunning book for art and nature lovers alike. Chronicling the art and science of classifying the natural world from the religiosity of medieval times, the naturalist enlightenment period, the evolution theories of the nineteenth century, and culminating in modern computer-empowered classification. This books is the equivalent of visiting a museum where entries are extremely beautiful art pieces and illustrations curated by a thorough researcher.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kbolt

    Whether you have studied classification or are interested in the history of classification you will love this illustrated book that easily explains the scientists who put together the reasons and drawings to explain how everything on this planet has come to be classified. Learned of scientists who have contributed but are not usually brought up in conversation on this topic. Graphs, writings, and drawings are great! Wish I had this for a pre read for my Evolutionary Biology class in college.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Stacy

    This was a beautiful book. The illustrations that the author chose to accompany the text were stunning. This would be the perfect book for someone who is looking at zoology from an artistic point of view. The information provided in the text was a good, basic description of classification that would allow everyone to understand the complexities of the subject matter.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Ann

    This book was of interest to me as I majored in Biology in college and had many of the then current lists memorized so it was an update of interest for me. Many interesting advances made in this area in a time oriented study , general thoughts on classification theory in different eras and great illustrations!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    Such a beautiful book! I not only loved the art, but I loved the history of how the science has grown and changed over time, and its implications. I also loved the snippets of witty humor subtly sprinkled in ;) I’ve always been a bio nerd, and this book re-ignited my passion!! Thanks for putting this together, David Bainbridge!!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Marion

    So beautiful. So cool. Loved learning about Maria Merion!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Emma Scheiris

    Wijze combinatie tussen kunst, geschiedenis en wetenschap! Prachtige illustraties met een korte uitleg om ze natuurhistorisch te plaatsen. Een must- read!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Joan Hoffman

    This book shows the evolution of scientific understanding of animal classification paired with the artwork of the same period. A beautiful addition to the naturalist or animal art lover's library. This book shows the evolution of scientific understanding of animal classification paired with the artwork of the same period. A beautiful addition to the naturalist or animal art lover's library.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Alhomsi

    10 points for aesthetic value. 3 points for scientific value. A book made for the Pinterest generation; lots if scrolling, little reading.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Stephen Baird

    I’m a sucker for a beautiful cover, and I just fell in love with this one as soon as I saw it. When it arrived I just dove in and was fascinated by all the charts and illustrations, it was jam-packed. Ranging from very early theories of classification based on religious placement of humans and animals all the way to the most recent diagrams that show a frozen moment in time of ever developing classification systems that are both complicated and beautiful. Each chapter is based on a specific theore I’m a sucker for a beautiful cover, and I just fell in love with this one as soon as I saw it. When it arrived I just dove in and was fascinated by all the charts and illustrations, it was jam-packed. Ranging from very early theories of classification based on religious placement of humans and animals all the way to the most recent diagrams that show a frozen moment in time of ever developing classification systems that are both complicated and beautiful. Each chapter is based on a specific theoretical outlook to classification and talks about that classification and the people who are thought of as the main proponents of those theories. Due to space constraints due to the dazzling amount of illustrations this can sometimes feel a bit thin, though the theories are described well enough to give a brief idea and the chapter signposts ways of finding out more, especially the mini biographies. Overall a really pleasing visual feast and a book I’ll keep going back to for the illustrations.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Víctor Paredes

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sim

  24. 4 out of 5

    Ginebra Lavao Lizcano

  25. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

  26. 4 out of 5

    cj

  27. 4 out of 5

    Tommy Young

  28. 4 out of 5

    Emily

  29. 4 out of 5

    Maddeku

  30. 4 out of 5

    Lydia

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