\ Visualizing Evolution: "Reviving the Lost Art of Naming the World"

Friday, August 28, 2009

"Reviving the Lost Art of Naming the World"

I just read this article from August 10th's New York Times and thought it was relevant and eye-opening: Reviving the Lost Art of Naming The World <-- click! click!
"The past few decades have seen a stream of studies that show that sorting and naming the natural world is a universal, deep-seated and fundamental human activity, one we cannot afford to lose because it is essential to understanding the living world, and our place in it."
I am fascinated by this idea that taxonomy is innate to the way humans see the world, and that there are specific places of the brain evolved specifically to organize levels and groupings of living things. Maybe it helps explain why my own brain has always been obsessed with that sort of thing.

Anyway, the article is adapted from Carol Yoon's new book, "Naming Nature: The Clash Between Instinct and Science," which I will be reading as soon as I can get my hands on it (someone checked it out of the library, darn it!):
I have to add the obvious, of course, which is that the ability to speak in the language of taxonomy is essential, absolutely essential, to learning and understanding the fundamentals of evolutionary biology.

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