origins of systematics

Steve Heydon slheydon at UCDAVIS.EDU
Sun Mar 26 16:22:49 CST 1995

Dear Netters,

   I am teaching a course on theory and practice of systematics this spring
and I wish to make the point that taxonomy is perhaps the real first
profession. The survival of any society of hunter gatherers depends on the
knowledge of the plants and animals of their own region. I vaguely remember
hearing of a study of the natives and the birds of New Guinea(?) and that
they recognized almost all the known species. Does anyone know of a
reference for this or have I been watching too much Discovery Channel?
Alternately, does anyone know of any studies on how many medicinal plants
are used by any one group of hunter gatherers. It must be considerable in
some cases.

   Thanks. You may reply to "slheydon at".

Steve Heydon
slheydonb at

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