Viewing: Modern Bestiary

May 12

May 12, 2017

Mosque swallow, Ibis (quarterly journal of the British Ornithologists Union), Vol. IV, 1862.

Of Flying Birds and Cold Dinosaurs

How did birds come to fly? Did ancient reptiles, like us, look up into the great big blue yonder and dream of soaring? No, nothing so poetic, but rather something very practical led to flight.

Posted in Modern Bestiary

Apr 16

April 16, 2017

Persimmons and White-Eyes, Kobayashi Kiyochika, 1880

The Singing Life of Birds

This is the season of birdsong, when even the smallest finch bursts his lungs and heart out for all to hear, and you’d have to be hard of hearing, hard of heart, or hard on time not to take notice.

Posted in Modern Bestiary

Apr 9

April 9, 2017

Illustration for edition of the Brothers Grimm Fairytales, Albert Weisgerber, Germany, circa 1900.

Nature in the City

We seem to think that nature is absent here in the city, built as it is by human hands for human wants and needs, no other life forms invited to the party unless planted in a pot or kept on leash. Yet, despite the lack of invitation, our cities still teem with non-human life.

Posted in Modern Bestiary, Science

Mar 29

March 29, 2017

Squelette de chauve-souris, Émile Deyrolle (1838-1917)

A-Z Modern Bestiary: Behold the Bat

Usually we humans possess more warm and fuzzy feelings towards our fellow mammals than other forms of life, but bats have suffered a bad repute. Whether it’s their nocturnal lifestyle, or erratic flight movements, or leathery wings, or the stories of vampire bats, there are many people who are disgusted by the mere idea of bats.

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May 1

May 1, 2015

Morning in a Pine Forest, Ivan Shishkin, 1889.

A-Z Modern Bestiary: Bears in the Balance

Bears are individuals with great curiosity and keen faculties, and they act for all sorts of reasons that we can only guess at. Ultimately, in the words of notable bear behaviorist Else Poulsen, “bears do things for bear reasons.”

Posted in Modern Bestiary

Jun 18

June 18, 2014

Slave-Making Ant, from Nature's Craftsmen: Popular Studies of Ants and Other Insects, Henry Christopher McCook, 1907.

A-Z Modern Bestiary: The Ancillary Lives of Ants

Any human who turns their attention to the study of ants will quickly be aware of the commonalities shared between our species. They farm fungi and herd insects, build cities, wage war, and morph their own bodies to create weapons and tools. Take a peek into their world.

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Apr 16

April 16, 2014

The Panther, Aberdeen Bestiary Folio 9r, created in England around 1200.

The Bestiary: Medieval to Modern

Bestiaries at their heart are always an authors attempt to make known, to illuminate, the mysterious beings that share our earthly home. Each of us throughout our lives is unconsciously creating a compendium of understandings about the Kingdom Animalia. And while we may feel superior when comparing our modern understandings to the fanciful beliefs of medieval times, our ignorance of biological life on this planet still vastly outweighs our knowledge.

Posted in Modern Bestiary