The Cycle of Life:
An History of Experimental Ecology

Sterling Memorial
Kline Sciences
Medical Historical
Exhibit Map

Carl Linnaeus, Systema Naturae,1735.

In the mid-18th century, Linnaeus described nature as a Divinely-inspired harmonious system in which every organism fulfills a specific role to maintain the general balance. Linnaeus combined the age-old concept of the Great Chain of Being with the then prevalent idea of the Economy of Nature:

“Everything the Almighty Creator has instituted on our globe occurs in such a wonderful order, that no thing subsists without the support of something else: The Globe itself, with all its Stones, Ore, and Gravel, is nourished and sustained by the Elements: Plants, Trees, Herbs, Grasses, and Mosses grow out of the Globe, and Animals eventually grow out of the plants. All of these are finally transformed back into their primary substances, the Earth feeding the Plant, the Plant the Worm, the Worm the Bird, and often the Bird the Beast of Prey; Then finally the Beast of Prey is consumed the Bird of Prey, the Bird of Prey by the Worm, the Worm by the Herb, the Herb by the Earth: Man indeed, who turns everything to his needs, is often consumed by the Beast, the Bird, or the Fish which preys on him, by the Worm or the Earth. It is thus that everything circulates.”

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Lloyd Ackert
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