[Taxacom] Life in the undergrowth by attenborough

Donat Agosti agosti at amnh.org
Tue May 30 01:39:06 CDT 2006

Dear Piotr

Hi Piotr

I can only agree with Mike. It was not my intention to accuse you at all of
self promotion. I mean it honestly, that I admire your and (everybodies)
devotion to go out and discover new behaviors, and not following the way a
lot of research is being done, from 9 to 5 within the confines of existing
research stations, which is in many cases a lot of hard work
It was late Richard Southwood who wrote in the introduction to his classical
'Ecological Methods' that much more would be known if scientists would go
out at night etc. And it is also my humble experience, that one needs to
follow his own nose rather than go with the pack.

That Salisbury has chosen you as an example is perfect and certainly not by
chance: 'Chapeau' simply means 'with a lot of respect'.

And together with the new techniques, these new (moving) images, including
your book, are certainly the biggest boost for familiarizing the wide world
with the rafiness and beauty of invertebrates. Microcosmos was one success,
but what Attenborough did is simply up in its own sphere.

May be, I shouldn't have made my second comment then, if it can be construed
as negative.

So, please feel proud for this, and the others, go out and get these DVDs -
I guarantee, you'll put down everything to just watch them not just once.

All the best


-----Original Message-----
From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
[mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of Michael A. Ivie
Sent: Monday, May 29, 2006 11:58 PM
To: Piotr Naskrecki
Cc: Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Life in the undergrowth by attenborough


Frankly, these issues are distracting from the real issue at hand.  I 
did not think you were self-promoting, and I thought Donat was more 
congratulatory than anything else. And Piotr, no one will worry that 
some filmmaker got a person's title wrong in an interview -- they were 
simply telling what was important to them about the event. Your 
enthusiasm contributed, and that is something we in the field are all 
grateful for, whether you are embarrassed by the praise or not. These 
guys are hardly the ones to worry about the niceties of professional 
titles, just laugh it off. These films are so great that anyone who had 
anything to do with them can be proud, and the rest of us are just happy 
that everyone who contributed did so. 

For those who have not seen them, get this series. There is a scene 
where a giant South American centipede catches a BAT!  Possibly the most 
sensuous, slimy and beautiful sex scene ever filmed, involving SLUGS!  
Actual footage of onychophora SPITING!  And, odonate footage that is 
perfect for morphology class use when teaching about direct vs indirect 

We should all just be happy this film was made, and thank everyone who 
did anything to help.


Piotr Naskrecki wrote:

>Oh Donat,
>Why does everything has to be personal about you? Believe it or not but
>there some who do things for reasons other than self promotion. I did
>have the privilege to help the crew of the movie, but that is not why I
>praise it. In fact, I am a bit embarrassed about my name being mentioned
>there, especially since I am not a Harvard professor. But regardless of it,
>the documentary is fantastic, probably the best ever made as you yourself
>noticed. I concurred with your opinion not because of self indulgence, but
>because I believe that this fabulous series does not get enough exposure in
>the US. The broadcast version is edited, and I was told that it runs out of
>sequence, thus my recommendation to get the DVD (which, unfortunately, also
>has the above mentioned interview with Mike Salisbury.) 
>Piotr Naskrecki, Ph. D.
>Director of Invertebrate Diversity Initiative
>Conservation International
>Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University
>26 Oxford Street, Cambridge, MA 02138
>Phone: (617) 496-8179; Fax: (617) 495-5667
>"It is a quirk of human nature that people only appreciate what they
>understand" M.K. Seely
>Taxonomy and Collection Manager software (
>Insect Photography (http://www.insectphotography.com)
>Orthoptera Species File Online - a database of Katydids of the World Online
>Insect Type Database at MCZ, Harvard
>Taxacom mailing list
>Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu


Michael A. Ivie, Ph.D., F.R.E.S.

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