Scientific Glossary


Anthropology is the scientific study of human beings and their many different cultures.

Botany is the systematic study of the world of plants.

Climate is the resultant influence of all the weather in a particular area of a lengthy period of time.

Conservation is the managed use of natural resources and involves ensuring that these scarce resources are not wasted, damaged or destroyed.

Entomology: The study of insects.

Evolution is a process of gradual change.

Natural Selection is the process by which the "organisms best suited to their environment are the ones most likely to survive. This process has also been called survival of the fittest." (World Book Encyclopaedia, Volume N, p. 65) Charles Darwin is credited with first explaining this theory but the work of A.R. Wallace must not be forgotten.

Palaeontology is the zoology (see below) of the past.

Species: This is the name given to a group of creatures which differ only in very minor details.

The Wallace Line: This was another of A.R. Wallace's important contributions to the field of animal geography. He proposed an imaginary line which marked the boundary between the Oriental and Australasian faunal regions. In short, the line marks the limits of distribution for many major animal groups which appear on one side of the line but are noticeable for their absence from the other. The following extract, from Encyclopaedia Britannica, (Vol. 12, p. 469, 1a), illustrates the value of Wallace's hypothetical line:

The line extends from the Indian Ocean through the Selat Lombok (between the islands of Bali and Lombok), northward through the Makassar Strait (between Borneo and the Celebes), and eastward, south of Mindanao, into the Philippine Sea.
Although many zoogeographers no longer consider Wallace's Line a regional boundary, it does represent an abrupt limit of distribution for many major animal groups. Many fish, bird, and mammal groups, as well as some invertebrate ones, are abundantly represented on one side of Wallace's Line, but poorly or not at all on the other side.

Zoology is the study of the natural history of animals.