The King’s Elephant

Last month, someone broke into the Paleontology wing of the Paris Museum of Natural History, and used a chain saw to cut off one of the tusks of the elephant skeleton there.  The skeleton dates from 1681 and is the oldest specimen at the museum.  Here is a little on the skeleton’s origins, from my …

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Fake meat and factory meat

Last week the Oregonian food section had a recipe for vegan coq au vin.  I have nothing against vegans, but this just seemed perverse to me; not only the imitation of a meat dish, which was never going to taste like the original, but its use of all kinds of fake meat products.   The ingredients …

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Anatomy vs natural history?

"...Anatomy... differs essentially from natural history. ....natural history dwells upon forms, upon the exterior qualities of bodies, and is restricted, in whatever guise, to skimming their surfaces. Anatomy goes further: it penetrates bodies, divides them, isolates the parts of which they are composed, and seeks to lift the veil hiding the secret of their organization." …

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THE LEIDEN DECLARATION ON HUMAN ANATOMY/ANATOMICAL COLLECTIONS

If you would like to sign, please contact Rina Knoeff, rknoeff@hum.leidenuniv.nl   THE LEIDEN DECLARATION ON HUMAN ANATOMY/ANATOMICAL COLLECTIONS CONCERNING THE CONSERVATION & PRESERVATION OF ANATOMICAL & PATHOLOGICAL COLLECTIONS       THIS DECLARATION IS ADDRESSED TO THOSE RESPONSIBLE FOR ANATOMICAL  & PATHOLOGICAL MUSEUMS  & COLLECTIONS WORLDWIDE From: Participants, delegates and supporters of the International …

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Cultures of anatomical collections

A few weeks ago, I attended the conference “Cultures of Anatomical Collections” in Leiden, the Netherlands.  I’m still thinking about and absorbing all the things I learned there.  It was the kind of conference where you are still up at midnight talking about things – in this case, dead bodies, anatomical waxes, anatomical preparations, anatomical …

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Animals or Brutes?

As I have been reading a number of anatomy texts from the seventeenth century, I have been struck by the ambiguity of the term “animal.”  Now, these texts are all in Latin (a few were translated into the vernacular, in this case French, but not many).  There is a clear distinction drawn between “animal” (the …

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Three cheers for the dogs

I’ve always been a cat person.  I like dogs well enough, but I’m allergic to them, and cats are a lot less work.  And they don’t slobber.  Nonetheless, I’ve been paying more attention to dogs (and canids in general) lately.  My title comes from Ed Larson’s new book on early Antarctic exploration, which quotes Lord …

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