Tuesday, May 10, 2011

In praise of the Biodiversity Heritage Library

If you're not absolutely IN LOVE with the Biodiversity Heritage Library, I don't know what's wrong with you. I'm prompted to sing their praises this afternoon after discovering Edward Tyson's seminal work Orang Outang: sive Homo sylvestris: or, the Anatomy of a Pygmie Compared with that of a Monkey, an Ape, and a Man is available for free on their website, right here:

Orang Outang

What's the big deal? Well, Tyson's work just happens to be the first formal description of chimpanzee anatomy, where he acknowledges that it's an intermediate between humans and animals, but he interprets that intermediacy in terms of design. I wrote about Tyson in my chimp genome paper:
Though the concept of transition or gradation may sound evolutionary to our modern ears, Tyson believed in a biological spectrum of form created by the Creator, rather than a temporal or evolutionary series.
Now anyone with an internet connection can study and enjoy this important work, and it's all thanks to the Biodiversity Heritage Library.

Feedback? Email me at toddcharleswood [at] gmail [dot] com.