Natural history is the study of organisms including plants or animals in their environment, leaning more towards observational rather than experimental methods of study. It encompasses scientific research but is not limited to it, with articles more often published in magazines than in academic journals. Grouped among the natural sciences, natural history is the systematic study of any category of natural objects or organisms. That is a very broad designation in a world filled with many narrowly focused disciplines. So while modern natural history dates historically from studies in the ancient Greco-Roman world and the medieval Arabic world through to the scattered European Renaissance scientists working in near isolation, today's field is more of a cross discipline umbrella of many specialty sciences. For example, geobiology has a strong multi-disciplinary nature combining scientists and scientific knowledge of many specialty sciences.
A person who studies natural history is known as a naturalist or "natural historian".
Famous quotes containing the words natural history, natural and/or history:
“To a person uninstructed in natural history, his country or sea-side stroll is a walk through a gallery filled with wonderful works of art, nine-tenths of which have their faces turned to the wall. Teach him something of natural history, and you place in his hands a catalogue of those which are worth turning round.”
—Thomas Henry Huxley (182595)
“The open frontier, the hardships of homesteading from scratch, the wealth of natural resources, the whole vast challenge of a continent waiting to be exploited, combined to produce a prevailing materialism and an American drive bent as much, if not more, on money, property, and power than was true of the Old World from which we had fled.”
—Barbara Tuchman (19121989)
“... in a history of spiritual rupture, a social compact built on fantasy and collective secrets, poetry becomes more necessary than ever: it keeps the underground aquifers flowing; it is the liquid voice that can wear through stone.”
—Adrienne Rich (b. 1929)