History of ornithology
Ornithology is a branch of biological science dedicated to the study of birds (class: Aves), and the history of ornithology is an account of human understanding and knowledge of birds across the ages. Advances in ornithology have progressed with many other scientific disciplines including ecology, anatomy, physiology, paleontology, evolutionary biology, and more recently molecular biology.
Birds have been illustrated by artists and art collections have been published in notable bound books. Advances in printing and photography have enabled mass production of illustrated books, and ornithology has become a popular hobby.
Humans have had a relationship with birds since prehistory. Bones of over 80 species have been found in a Stone Age hut in Israel, and waterbird and seabird remains have been found in shell mounds on the island of Oronsay off the coast of Scotland.
In ancient times, Aristotle compiled the first known scientific list of birds, containing 170 species. Later, Pliny the Elder described birds, among other creatures, in his Historia Naturalis. During the middle ages, Frederick II of Hohenstaufen published The Art of Falconry, the first scientific work known to include illustrations of birds. A new interest in birds appeared in western Europe during the Renaissance, in part due to the invention of the printing press. Christopher Columbus, during his famous 1492 voyage to the New World, observed the migrations of various seabirds, and wrote what is probably the first comment on North American birds in his journal.
In the 18th century, Mark Catesby published his two-volume Natural History of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands, a landmark work which included 220 hand-painted engravings and was the basis for many of the species Carolus Linnaeus described in the 1758 Systema Naturae. Linnaeus's work revolutionized bird taxonomy by assigning every species a binomial name. In the early 19th century, Lewis and Clark studied and identified many birds in the western United States. John James Audubon, born in 1785, observed and painted birds in France and later in the Ohio and Mississippi valleys. From 1827 to 1838, Audubon published The Birds of America, which was engraved by Robert Havell, Sr. and his son Robert Havell, Jr.. Containing 435 engravings, it is often regarded as the greatest ornithological work in history.
DNA studies have enabled greater insight into the classification of birds.
- Nadel, Dani; Weiss, Ehud; Simchoni, Orit; Tsatskin, Alexander; Danin, Avinoam; Kislev, Mordechai (2004). "Stone Age hut in Israel yields world's oldest evidence of bedding". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (United States National Academy of Sciences) 101 (17). doi:10.1073/pnas.0402102101.
- Gurney (1921), p. 1
- Chansigaud, Valerie (2009). History of Ornithology. London: New Holland Publishers. ISBN 1-84773-433-2.
- Gurney, John Henry (1921). Early annals of ornithology. London: H. F. & G. Witherby. Retrieved 19 November 2010.
- Newton, Alfred (1884). Ornithology.(Reprinted from the 1884 Encyclopædia Britannica)
- Podulka, Sandy; Eckhardt, Marie; Otis, Daniel (2001). "Birds and Humans: A Historical Perspective". In Podulka, Sandy; Rohrbaugh, Ronald W.; Bonney, Rick. Handbook of Bird Biology (2nd ed.). Ithaca, NY: Cornell Lab of Ornithology. pp. H1–H42. ISBN 0-938027-62-X.
- Walters, Michael (2005). A Concise History of Ornithology. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. ISBN 1-84773-433-2.
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