natural history

  • Can Canada Contain Conflagration?

    by Steve Pyne

    Fire is a part of the long natural history of Canada, but this month's wildfires show the insufficiency of the nation's plans to live with fire at the opening of a Pyrocene era. 

  • The Paradox of Sourness

    Of all the major taste categories, the relationship between human thriving and sensing sourness is the least understood. 

  • The Second Skeleton

    by Mabel Rosenheck

    "Museums construct knowledge. As a historian of museums this is what I study. But museums don’t just construct knowledge through architecture, collecting, arrangement, or labeling. They construct knowledge by constructing objects—literally."

  • Humans Are Doomed to Extinction

    by Henry Gee

    From the perspective of a natural historian, humanity has had a good run, but "I suspect that the human population is set not just for shrinkage but collapse—and soon."

  • We Are Still Feeling the Ecological Impact of Whaling

    In one century, whalers killed at least 2 million baleen whales, which together weighed twice as much as all the wild mammals on Earth today. New research suggests this has impacted the ecology of the oceans significantly.

  • The Curious Task of Preserving Darwin's Beans and Butterflies

    Although his voyage to the Galapagos is famous, much of Darwin's work on natural selection was based on correspondence with horticulturalists and naturalists who sent him samples from around the world. Cambridge University's libraries are at work to preserve that correspondence.

  • Our Greatest Libraries are Melting Away

    by David Farrier

    Ice core samples from the Greenland shelf are a physical archive of the long sweep of human history, and demonstrate the connections of humanity's past and future.