Scientific Natural History: Telling the Epics of Nature

Walter R. Tschinkel, Edward O. Wilson
2014 BioScience  
Scientific natural history, which addresses all biological aspects of individual species, one species at a time, then compares many together, is as important to science as any of the umbrella biological disciplines. With most species yet undiscovered and the vast majority of those known yet unstudied, most biological phenomena are probably also unknown and unimagined. Closing this gap calls for a renewed emphasis on the disciplines of the taxonomic -ologies, treating each species as an
more » ... ary epic, summoning information from all of the umbrella disciplines. We argue from the example of the once-obscure red fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, whose economic importance made it a model species for research on the superorganism, offering excellent opportunities for addressing many profound questions about superorganism organization, function, development, and ecology. Had scientific natural history been properly emphasized in recent research, theory testing in areas such as competition and kin-based selection would not have led to decades of distraction.
doi:10.1093/biosci/biu033 fatcat:r5d2plquozgcrmj6bxdb6kioiq