You Owe All Of Insect Knowledge To One Brilliant Female Scientist

These days insects, and all arthropods, are well known to science, but this has not always been the case. Today people take their insect-knowledge for granted. Not so long ago, entomology, as it is practiced today, was a relatively new science. There have been several pioneers in the field of entomology over the ages, but you probably cannot name a single one. In fact, it could be argued that one person has contributed more to the field of entomology than anyone else, living or dead.

Believe it or not, a few centuries ago, many people thought that it was common knowledge that ants spontaneously appear out of the mud. However, a woman by the name of Maria Sibylla Merian, came along and changed the way the everyone in the world now thinks about bugs. Merian was many things; for example Merian was a botanist, artist, naturalist, and an entomologist. It is Merian’s work in entomology that has caused many experts in the field to consider Merian robbed of her achievements.

During Merian’s time, the seventeenth century, the study of Natural History was geared towards properly categorizing facts and data. Merian set about categorizing many different insects, and her categories are still referred to this day. Merian understood that diet and habitat were major forces that greatly influenced the behavior and functioning of an organism. Merian felt that insects could not be properly studied without taking their environments and diet into account. Therefore Merian brought all of these factors into the field of entomology. Merian eventually gave lectures about her findings, and she sailed to Asia in order to observe bugs in the wild. Merian has written many books that have come to define entomology.

What do you think Merian had to say about insect-borne disease?


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