Natural History – Some Notes for Week 1
Natural History: An observational science that involves looking at all living things.
Natural history knowledge is essential for assessments of ecosystems or habitats. It is
also one of the most enjoyable pursuits in the world.
Naturalist: One who studies Natural History. Clothes must be worn and are not
Animals: A Kingdom that includes Birds, Reptiles, Amphibians, Fish, Mammals,
Insects, Spiders, Clams, and lots of other organisms.
Natural Selection: the driving force behind evolution. It consists of all the selective
pressures placed on plants and animals by the environment (such as wind or cold or
drought) or by animals (such as predators or even members of the same species). Those
poorly adapted do not survive to pass on their genes and those that are better adapted
tend to survive and pass on their genes allowing the adaptation to persist into the future
and possibly become more refined. Natural Selection was first recognized by Charles
Adaptation: any feature that offers a plant or animal an advantage in solving any life
problem that give it a chance of surviving and reproducing. An adaptation is not an act
of intelligence or a planned solution but a physical, physiological, or behavioural trait
that has evolved because of the selective pressures of natural selection. No adaptation
is perfect and often an adaptation has drawbacks associated with it that require another
adaptation to resolve. This makes Natural History so very, very interesting because
never is there only one solution to any problem. Instead, many solutions have arisen to
solve every challenge.
DEFENCES OF ANIMALS:
CAMOUFLAGE: colours and patterns that allow animals to blend into the background.
Crypsis: the art of concealment or remaining hidden: camouflage combined with
Types of Camouflage
1. Background Matching: Having the same general patterns and colours as the
immediate environment. Examples: For sun-dappled forest habitats, blotches and earth-
toned colours help animals hide. Examples: ground nesting birds such as female
grouse (also female ducks), White-tailed D