re Origin of Systematics

Sun Mar 26 23:59:00 CST 1995

Back to the original question re birds of New Guinea, I don't have the original
source, but in an Introductory Biology by Neil Campbell, he has a picture
of Ernst Mayr in New Guinea and mentions that the indigenous people
recognized the same species.  This should be easy to follow up.

Regarding our collectie Biblical leanings and systematics, I saw an exhibit
today at the Chicago Botanical Gardens of artwork of poisonous plants.
Plants in one case included the toxic mushroom Amanita, which has
hallucinogenic properties as well (as do many/most poisonous plants).
According to the legend to the picture, a medieval print of the
Garden of Eden episode (all the plants without names presumably) the
snake holds a branching Amanita and is offering it to Eve, with the
implication that the mushroom will provide the knowledge of good and
evil, and we all know what happened after that.  My conclusion is the
fall of (hu)man was due to inadequate taxonomic expertise.  The
lessons for those of us today are obvious.

Rick McCourt
Department of Biology
DePaul University
Chicago, IL
or, soon to change to rmccourt at

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