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Old December 6th, 2013 #161
Matthaus Hetzenauer
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Originally Posted by N.B. Forrest View Post
What the hell kinda death rope is that? The body looks huge like a constrictor, but the head is triangular like a viper....
As Alex says, it's an eastern diamondback, the largest in both length and girth of the pit vipers in the US. They're most commonly found in southern Georgia and northern Florida.

About a year or so ago I saw a pic in my daily rag where an animal control officer in a suburb of Jacksonville, Fl. (I live in the central part of the state, where pygmie rattlers and water moccasins abound like rats in a ghetto) had bagged what at first glance looked to be an 8-9' python. Upon reading the article, however, I come to find that it was indeed an eastern diamondback.

btw -- snakes not only have lousy eyesight, they're deaf as well. Ever see a snake wearing earmuffs or headphones?
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Old December 7th, 2013 #162
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Gators, pythons, python-sized rattlers, water moccasins, coral snakes, brain-eating amoebas....there's just too many beasts that can kill a feller down there....
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Old December 9th, 2013 #163
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Originally Posted by N.B. Forrest View Post
Gators, pythons, python-sized rattlers, water moccasins, coral snakes, brain-eating amoebas....there's just too many beasts that can kill a feller down there....
I did a pretty stupid thing with a coral snake about three years ago.

Getting into my car to go to work one morning, I saw one a little over 2' long lying at the edge of the driveway near the lawn. Now I've got a kind of Steve Irwin death wish when it comes to potentially dangerous animals (I love to fuck with 'em; gets the old adrenaline going and gives me a rush of sorts), so I took it into my empty head to sneak up behind the damn thing and grab it just behind the head; figured if I was fast enough, and caught him in just the right spot, I wouldn't get bit (besides, they're not lightning quick in their strikes as are rattlers and moccasins). I made my move, but in a nanosecond so did the snake. Instead of catching him just behind the head, I caught him about an inch or so further down. Lucky for me for some reason he decided not to bite (though he enough room to turn his head and do just that) and I let go immediately. That was too close for comfort; it was also the last time I attempted to pull such a stupid stunt.

p.s. You know that confusing little rhyme about distinguishing a coral snake from its almost identical, though nonpoisonous, cousin, the king snake? something about "yellow touches black, stand back", or however the hell it goes? Well fuck that. Just remember this: a coral snake has a black head; a king has a red head.
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Old December 9th, 2013 #164
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Originally Posted by Matthaus Hetzenauer View Post
I did a pretty stupid thing with a coral snake about three years ago.

Getting into my car to go to work one morning, I saw one a little over 2' long lying at the edge of the driveway near the lawn. Now I've got a kind of Steve Irwin death wish when it comes to potentially dangerous animals (I love to fuck with 'em; gets the old adrenaline going and gives me a rush of sorts), so I took it into my empty head to sneak up behind the damn thing and grab it just behind the head; figured if I was fast enough, and caught him in just the right spot, I wouldn't get bit (besides, they're not lightning quick in their strikes as are rattlers and moccasins). I made my move, but in a nanosecond so did the snake. Instead of catching him just behind the head, I caught him about an inch or so further down. Lucky for me for some reason he decided not to bite (though he enough room to turn his head and do just that) and I let go immediately. That was too close for comfort; it was also the last time I attempted to pull such a stupid stunt.

p.s. You know that confusing little rhyme about distinguishing a coral snake from its almost identical, though nonpoisonous, cousin, the king snake? something about "yellow touches black, stand back", or however the hell it goes? Well fuck that. Just remember this: a coral snake has a black head; a king has a red head.
You're damn lucky they're docile, or you'd be nominated for the Darwin Awards...

Doesn't that rhyme go:

"Red touch black, poison lack; red touch yellow, kill a fellow"?
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Old December 9th, 2013 #165
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Originally Posted by Matthaus Hetzenauer View Post
I did a pretty stupid thing with a coral snake about three years ago.

Getting into my car to go to work one morning, I saw one a little over 2' long lying at the edge of the driveway near the lawn. Now I've got a kind of Steve Irwin death wish when it comes to potentially dangerous animals (I love to fuck with 'em; gets the old adrenaline going and gives me a rush of sorts), so I took it into my empty head to sneak up behind the damn thing and grab it just behind the head; figured if I was fast enough, and caught him in just the right spot, I wouldn't get bit (besides, they're not lightning quick in their strikes as are rattlers and moccasins). I made my move, but in a nanosecond so did the snake. Instead of catching him just behind the head, I caught him about an inch or so further down. Lucky for me for some reason he decided not to bite (though he enough room to turn his head and do just that) and I let go immediately. That was too close for comfort; it was also the last time I attempted to pull such a stupid stunt.
That was a dumb fucking thing to do. You wouldn't get away with that with a rattler. Corals snakes are fairly mild, and they have to pretty much chew away a little bit to get their venom in you; the big snakes just jab you like a crazed junkie. But coral snake venom is a different type of venom, and more powerful.

Tell the truth, you could probably just pick the coral snake up. They're not super excitable. That's still a very bad idea. But when you grab at any snake, it's going to freak, thinking you're a bird going to eat it. These are not things to play with, go look at some shots of people who DIDN'T die from venom - they often still have fucked up appendages. That stuff is digestion stage 1. It's like melting your arm with a flame. You may not burn to death, but your skin and flesh isn't going back to normal ever again.
 
Old December 9th, 2013 #166
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Originally Posted by N.B. Forrest View Post
You're damn lucky they're docile, or you'd be nominated for the Darwin Awards...

Doesn't that rhyme go:

"Red touch black, poison lack; red touch yellow, kill a fellow"?
I'm angered by some of the dumbness elsewhere on the forum tonight. I'm thinking I may have been precipitate in choosing our woodpecker symbol. We may need to change it for a grinning retard kid reaching down with both hands to pick up the pretty red & yellow snake.
 
Old December 9th, 2013 #167
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VNN TONITE:

In our lead story:

1) WE NEED TO ATTRACT MORE WIMMINZ!!

Then, after the break...

2) VNNer ADMITS: "I PLAY WITH CORAL SNAKES!"

I'm totally channeling Mr. Hand tonight:

 
Old December 9th, 2013 #168
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That was a dumb fucking thing to do. You wouldn't get away with that with a rattler. Corals snakes are fairly mild, and they have to pretty much chew away a little bit to get their venom in you; the big snakes just jab you like a crazed junkie. But coral snake venom is a different type of venom, and more powerful.

Tell the truth, you could probably just pick the coral snake up. They're not super excitable. That's still a very bad idea. But when you grab at any snake, it's going to freak, thinking you're a bird going to eat it. These are not things to play with, go look at some shots of people who DIDN'T die from venom - they often still have fucked up appendages. That stuff is digestion stage 1. It's like melting your arm with a flame. You may not burn to death, but your skin and flesh isn't going back to normal ever again.
It's often the same with spider venom. I saw a documentary some years back featuring women who'd lost fingers to spider bites: hideous stumps. And sometimes it's not a one-time-amputation, get-on-with-your-life thing, either: they were gradually losing ever more flesh & bone, necessitating numerous re-stumpings. They wept - not just about what they'd lost, but in terror of what they they were likely still to lose....

I've been bitten by what - based on the wound - I think must've been a Brown Recluse; it took about 9 scary months for that bastard to heal....
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Old December 10th, 2013 #169
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That was a dumb fucking thing to do. You wouldn't get away with that with a rattler. Corals snakes are fairly mild, and they have to pretty much chew away a little bit to get their venom in you; the big snakes just jab you like a crazed junkie. But coral snake venom is a different type of venom, and more powerful.

Tell the truth, you could probably just pick the coral snake up. They're not super excitable. That's still a very bad idea. But when you grab at any snake, it's going to freak, thinking you're a bird going to eat it. These are not things to play with, go look at some shots of people who DIDN'T die from venom - they often still have fucked up appendages. That stuff is digestion stage 1. It's like melting your arm with a flame. You may not burn to death, but your skin and flesh isn't going back to normal ever again.
Well jah, I admitted it was a dumb/stupid thing to do, and I consider myself lucky I wasn't bit; no argument there. Then again they're not nearly as easily pissed off as are pit vipers such as rattlers, moccasins, cottonmouths and copperheads, which are also in abundance here in Florida. I wouldn't even think of pulling a stunt like that with any of those lightning-quick sonsofbitches.

By far the most common snake in the rural county where I live is the nonpoisonous, though deadly-looking, black racer; commonly referred to as the "blacksnake." These fuckers are, as the name implies, very fast-moving snakes and resemble cobras and black mambas, which scares the daylights out of people not too familiar with snakes. And they're so common where I live that I'd estimate I see anywhere between 8-14 a week; and I've seen as many as five in one day.
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Last edited by Matthaus Hetzenauer; December 10th, 2013 at 01:03 PM.
 
Old December 10th, 2013 #170
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Well jah, I admitted it was a dumb/stupid thing to do, and I consider myself lucky I wasn't bit; no argument there. Then again they're not nearly as easily pissed off as are pit vipers such as rattlers, moccasins, cottonmouths and copperheads, which are also in abundance here in Florida. I wouldn't even think of pulling a stunt like that with any of those lightning-quick sonsofbitches.
I've never seen a coral snake. Just from what I've read and a little video they kind of grab and grind away, as opposed to strike. I don't think they're a rear-fanged snake, but that way of doing things is common to rear-fangeds. They generally live under stuff and don't come out all that much. If I were going to pick one up, I would just do it very gently from the middle, not try to pinion its neck, which it doesn't even really have, contrasted with the clear distinction between head and body of the muscular, triangle-headed vipers. Coral snakes are small enough their neck is easy to miss or you grab too hard and hurt them. But in any case not advisable. You don't want even a drop of its stuff in you. As you know.

Quote:
By far the most common snake in the rural county where I live is the nonpoisonous, though deadly-looking, black racer; commonly referred to as the "blacksnake." These fuckers are, as the name implies, very fast-moving snakes and resemble cobras and black mambas, which scares the daylights out of people not too familiar with snakes. And they're so common where I live that I'd estimate I see anywhere between 8-14 a week; and I've seen as many as five in one day.
We have blacksnakes up here, I've caught a few of them. That type, ratsnakes, or colubrids, make good pets. They're harmless, they eat mice, too bad there aren't more of them around. The venemous snakes are pretty much gone from this neck of the woods. I've never seen one in Missouri, outside of a stuffed timber rattler at the turkey processing place.

Last edited by Alex Linder; December 10th, 2013 at 11:42 PM.
 
Old December 11th, 2013 #171
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The venemous snakes are pretty much gone from this neck of the woods. I've never seen one in Missouri, outside of a stuffed timber rattler at the turkey processing place.
Odd, that.

While going through Army basic and AIT at Ft. Leonard Wood, MO., I ran across several copperheads while traipsing around in the boonies. Then again, that was in the late 1970s, so maybe they've been cleared out by now.
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Old December 11th, 2013 #172
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I haven't seen a snake of any kind for nearly 15 years ( the last was a very touchy garter with light green stripes running the length of it).
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Old December 17th, 2013 #173
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Odd, that.

While going through Army basic and AIT at Ft. Leonard Wood, MO., I ran across several copperheads while traipsing around in the boonies. Then again, that was in the late 1970s, so maybe they've been cleared out by now.
Someone died (might be wrong but i know they were bitten by one in a tent) from a copperhead bite within the last couple years, and it was down that way. There are poisonous snakes around, but I'm sure a lot more down south than up here.

Everything I have read says there has been a pretty large decline in absolute numbers of reptiles and amphibians in North America, and that tracks with what I have observed personally. I saw a lot more snakes on the interstates back in the '70s than in the 2000s.

Up here, you can find snakes, but mostly just garter snakes, occasional blacksnakes. The only snakes that seem to thrive are water snakes, presumably because the turkeys don't get them, and they stay off the roads so they don't get run over. When I used to drive the back roads almost daily, I would see no more than six snakes run over per year, and usually more like 3-4. Same thing with amphibians. There are a few salamanders, but not many. Frogs, bullfrogs and others, still plenty of those. Turkey and deer thrive. Basically, northern Missouri features turkey and deer, raccoons and opposums. Everything else is a minor player. We do have a fair number of foxes and skunks. Plenty of coyotes and squirrels. A fair number of bobcats, though you don't see them unless you're a farmer working land daily. But even rabbits are not as common as one would think. I see more rabbits in town than in the country.

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Old December 17th, 2013 #174
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Odd, that.

While going through Army basic and AIT at Ft. Leonard Wood, MO., I ran across several copperheads while traipsing around in the boonies. Then again, that was in the late 1970s, so maybe they've been cleared out by now.
The world is full of weird things. That's one reason I'm not religious. The ACTUAL world is considerably odder and more interesting than a bunch of cooked-up gobbledygook. That's why I search new species every week or so. Humans have been humanating for millions of years, and we still don't know shit about shit! It's just funny to me. When you think of how oblivious most people are, it's amazing we've discovered any other species but housecats.

I think of weather here in NEMO as having a Turn On Day and a Turn Off Day. Turn On Day is the first 70-degree day, basically. You have to experience a midwestern winter to appreciate it. It's like you've spent six months being rolled over by a steamroller slowly moving back and forth. And finally it's off you and you stagger to your feet. And just sit on your stoop, letting the sun water you down and fill up your D cells. Drying up the winter grogginess. Coming to life. You can smell the delicious vaginal stank of vegetation groaning its way back through the muck. People-shaped animals appear on the street. Some with cars have windows rolled down, they might even grin at you. You concoct some reason to walk up the block to the convenience store, for gulpage, just to be in the sun and smelling the worms and the mud and the buds and feeling the movements of people in their clothes with their things. Oh man, it's a genuinely earned appreciation of warmth you can never get if you live in Southern California. But in no slightest way is it worth the misery of the drab six. People who claim they like the change of seasons are wacked in the head, to me. Enduring bad weather does not build good character. Nor is miserable weather a morality play, for our instruction. Discolored, dying leaves are just not that interesting.

Turn Off Day is the last, often freak, warm day of the year. All the animals come out to play, and, just as with the other TOD, many many of them get run over on the highway, always very interesting to drive around the next day and inspect the toll.

Anyway, the point of this discursus was that on one freak-warm TOD in the fall, November 7, as I recall, my hunter buddy came across what might have been the only rattlesnake seen around this particular acreage. It was in the gravel road, and a baby. He didn't know what it was, but it appeared to have a rattle. November 7! Like a freak 70-degree day. And that's the only sighting of a possible rattlesnake on this 120-acre property. About seven other species of snakes have been seen - but that's over 15 years, and most of them only once.

Timber rattlesnakes used to be common. They got wiped out by farming and farmers. My grandparents had a kill-on-sight snake policy. They did not make distinctions between good and bad snakes, snake = bad = kill it. I suspect that was the common rural attitude holding over from the pre-car days. Where you're fifteen rutty miles from a hospital that's not overly equipped to handle timber rattler envenomations, best not to take chances.

Turkeys used to be common as redskins in Missouri, then they were wiped out by hunters. Then hunters led the way to create a conservation department and restock them. This worked. Today, the local belief is that turkey packs are what kill off young rattlesnakes. I'm sure there are some timbers still around, but I have sure never heard people talk about them. By contrast, I've heard at least three locals tell me they had seen mountain lions. But...the rumor I also heard, third or fourth hand, is that the state is reintroducing timber rattlesnakes on the sly. Who knows? Missouri's Department of Conservation is one of the more effective and upright government departments I personally have ever observed. Of course, it's a state department, not a federal agency. It is the only government body I've ever seen that is overtly pro-hunting. Missouri is one state where hunting is not looked down on, certainly not by average people, who are always pro-hunting, pro-guns, pro-normalcy, but even by a sector of the bureaucracy.

Missouri also executes people. We are no Texas, to be sure, but our heart's in the right place.

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Old December 17th, 2013 #175
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Here on Linnaeus, the Swede who created taxonomy - which some say, tho others disagree, is the first duty of the student of the world - to take inventory, essentially. And since no one has ever done that before -- even now, given that, as we learn in our other thread, some 18-20,000 new species are discovered each year -- to name each new species, and classify it in line with good sense - always understanding that these categories are man-imposed and not absolutes but useful divisions based on something other than mere opinion.

http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/history/linnaeus.html

Notice the guy's father was a Lutheran pastor, and his parents were disappointed he wanted to make his own footsteps.

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Old December 17th, 2013 #176
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[Great White Men Series... Carl Linnaeus. Collect them all!]

Carl Linnaeus (1707-1778)



Carl Linnaeus, also known as Carl von Linné or Carolus Linnaeus, is often called the Father of Taxonomy. His system for naming, ranking, and classifying organisms is still in wide use today (with many changes). His ideas on classification have influenced generations of biologists during and after his own lifetime, even those opposed to the philosophical and theological roots of his work.

Biography of Linnaeus

He was born on May 23, 1707, at Stenbrohult, in the province of Smĺland in southern Sweden. His father, Nils Ingemarsson Linnaeus, was both an avid gardener and a Lutheran pastor, and Carl showed a deep love of plants and a fascination with their names from a very early age. Carl disappointed his parents by showing neither aptitude nor desire for the priesthood [just what exactly is 'aptitude' for priesthood? inability to separate fact from fiction? love of rich old women / teenaged boys?], but his family was somewhat consoled when Linnaeus entered the University of Lund in 1727 to study medicine. A year later, he transferred to the University of Uppsala, the most prestigious university in Sweden. However, its medical facilities had been neglected and had fallen into disrepair. Funny, but often enough, more often than not?, it's what you do when you're supposed to be doing something else that ends up being your best work. Most of Linaeus's time at Uppsala was spent collecting and studying plants, his true love. At the time, training in botany was part of the medical curriculum, for every doctor had to prepare and prescribe drugs derived from medicinal plants. That's interesting. Despite being in hard financial straits, Linnaeus mounted a botanical and ethnographical expedition to Lapland in 1731 (the portrait above shows Linnaeus as a young man, wearing a version of the traditional Lapp costume and holding a shaman's drum). In 1734 he mounted another expedition to central Sweden. Gentleman...it will be hard...it will be arduous...no more than 99.5% of us will likely return alive...Nevertheless (and even so)...I boldly propose we explore...CENTRAL SWEDEN. Cries, screams, women fainting, dogs howling. But he made it happen. For Linnaeus is Swedish for...much man (mannius muchius).

Linnaeus went to the Netherlands in 1735, promptly finished his medical degree at the University of Harderwijk, and then enrolled in the University of Leiden for further studies. That same year, he published the first edition of his classification of living things, the Systema Naturae. During these years, he met or corresponded with Europe's great botanists, and continued to develop his classification scheme. Returning to Sweden in 1738, he practiced medicine (specializing in the treatment of syphilis) and lectured in Stockholm before being awarded a professorship at Uppsala in 1741. At Uppsala, he restored the University's botanical garden (arranging the plants according to his system of classification), made three more expeditions to various parts of Sweden, and inspired a generation of students. He was instrumental in arranging to have his students sent out on trade and exploration voyages to all parts of the world: nineteen of Linnaeus's students went out on these voyages of discovery. Perhaps his most famous student, Daniel Solander, was the naturalist on Captain James Cook's first round-the-world voyage, and brought back the first plant collections from Australia and the South Pacific to Europe. Anders Sparrman, another of Linnaeus's students, was a botanist on Cook's second voyage. Another student, Pehr Kalm, traveled in the northeastern American colonies for three years studying American plants. Yet another, Carl Peter Thunberg, was the first Western naturalist to visit Japan in over a century; he not only studied the flora of Japan, but taught Western medicine to Japanese practicioners. Still others of his students traveled to South America, southeast Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. Many died on their travels.

Linnaeus continued to revise his Systema Naturae, which grew from a slim pamphlet to a multivolume work, as his concepts were modified and as more and more plant and animal specimens were sent to him from every corner of the globe. (The image at right shows his scientific description of the human species from the ninth edition of Systema Naturae. At the time he referred to humanity as Homo diurnis, or "man of the day". Click on the image to see an enlargement.) Linnaeus was also deeply involved with ways to make the Swedish economy more self-sufficient and less dependent on foreign trade, either by acclimatizing valuable plants to grow in Sweden, or by finding native substitutes. Unfortunately, Linnaeus's attempts to grow cacao, coffee, tea, bananas, rice, and mulberries proved unsuccessful in Sweden's cold climate. His attempts to boost the economy (and to prevent the famines that still struck Sweden at the time) by finding native Swedish plants that could be used as tea, coffee, flour, and fodder were also not generally successful. He still found time to practice medicine, eventually becoming personal physician to the Swedish royal family. In 1758 he bought the manor estate of Hammarby, outside Uppsala, where he built a small museum for his extensive personal collections. In 1761 he was granted nobility, and became Carl von Linné. His later years were marked by increasing depression and pessimism. Lingering on for several years after suffering what was probably a series of mild strokes in 1774, he died in 1778. His son, also named Carl, succeeded to his professorship at Uppsala, but never was noteworthy as a botanist. When Carl the Younger died five years later with no heirs, his mother and sisters sold the elder Linnaeus's library, manuscripts, and natural history collections to the English natural historian Sir James Edward Smith, who founded the Linnean Society of London to take care of them.

Linnaeus's Scientific Thought

Linnaeus loved nature deeply, and always retained a sense of wonder at the world of living things. His religious beliefs led him to natural theology, a school of thought dating back to Biblical times but especially flourishing around 1700: since God has created the world, it is possible to understand God's wisdom by studying His creation. As he wrote in the preface to a late edition of Systema Naturae: Creationis telluris est gloria Dei ex opere Naturae per Hominem solum -- The Earth's creation is the glory of God, as seen from the works of Nature by Man alone. The study of nature would reveal the Divine Order of God's creation, and it was the naturalist's task to construct a "natural classification" that would reveal this Order in the universe. As we see from his attempts to grow coffee in Sweden, he was not a master reasoner. The first thing is to figure out what is there, not speculate about why. That first task remains uncompleted 300 years later!

However, Linnaeus's plant taxonomy was based solely on the number and arrangement of the reproductive organs; a plant's class was determined by its stamens (male organs), and its order by its pistils (female organs). This resulted in many groupings that seemed unnatural. For instance, Linnaeus's Class Monoecia, Order Monadelphia included plants with separate male and female "flowers" on the same plant (Monoecia) and with multiple male organs joined onto one common base (Monadelphia). This order included conifers such as pines, firs, and cypresses (the distinction between true flowers and conifer cones was not clear), but also included a few true flowering plants, such as the castor bean. "Plants" without obvious sex organs were classified in the Class Cryptogamia, or "plants with a hidden marriage," which lumped together the algae, lichens, fungi, mosses and other bryophytes, and ferns. Linnaeus freely admitted that this produced an "artificial classification," not a natural one, which would take into account all the similarities and differences between organisms. But like many naturalists of the time, in particular Erasmus Darwin, Linnaeus attached great significance to plant sexual reproduction, which had only recently been rediscovered. Linnaeus drew some rather astonishing parallels between plant sexuality and human love: he wrote in 1729 how

The flowers' leaves. . . serve as bridal beds which the Creator has so gloriously arranged, adorned with such noble bed curtains, and perfumed with so many soft scents that the bridegroom with his bride might there celebrate their nuptials with so much the greater solemnity. . .

The sexual basis of Linnaeus's plant classification was controversial in its day; although easy to learn and use, it clearly did not give good results in many cases. Some critics also attacked it for its sexually explicit nature: one opponent, botanist Johann Siegesbeck, called it "loathsome harlotry". (Linnaeus had his revenge, however; he named a small, useless European weed Siegesbeckia.) Classic! Later systems of classification largely follow John Ray's practice of using morphological evidence from all parts of the organism in all stages of its development. What has survived of the Linnean system is its method of hierarchical classification and custom of binomial nomenclature.

For Linnaeus, species of organisms were real entities, which could be grouped into higher categories called genera (singular, genus). By itself, this was nothing new; since Aristotle, biologists had used the word genus for a group of similar organisms, and then sought to define the differentio specifica -- the specific difference of each type of organism. But opinion varied on how genera should be grouped. Naturalists of the day often used arbitrary criteria to group organisms, placing all domestic animals or all water animals together. Part of Linnaeus' innovation was the grouping of genera into higher taxa that were also based on shared similarities. In Linnaeus's original system, genera were grouped into orders, orders into classes, and classes into kingdoms. Thus the kingdom Animalia contained the class Vertebrata, which contained the order Primates, which contained the genus Homo with the species sapiens -- humanity. Later biologists added additional ranks between these to express additional levels of similarity.

Before Linnaeus, species naming practices varied. Many biologists gave the species they described long, unwieldy Latin names, which could be altered at will; a scientist comparing two descriptions of species might not be able to tell which organisms were being referred to. For instance, the common wild briar rose was referred to by different botanists as Rosa sylvestris inodora seu canina and as Rosa sylvestris alba cum rubore, folio glabro. The need for a workable naming system was made even greater by the huge number of plants and animals that were being brought back to Europe from Asia, Africa, and the Americas. After experimenting with various alternatives, Linnaeus simplified naming immensely by designating one Latin name to indicate the genus, and one as a "shorthand" name for the species. The two names make up the binomial ("two names") species name. For instance, in his two-volume work Species Plantarum (The Species of Plants), Linnaeus renamed the briar rose Rosa canina. This binomial system rapidly became the standard system for naming species. Zoological and most botanical taxonomic priority begin with Linnaeus: the oldest plant names accepted as valid today are those published in Species Plantarum, in 1753, while the oldest animal names are those in the tenth edition of Systema Naturae (1758), the first edition to use the binomial system consistently throughout. Although Linnaeus was not the first to use binomials, he was the first to use them consistently, and for this reason, Latin names that naturalists used before Linnaeus are not usually considered valid under the rules of nomenclature.

In his early years, Linnaeus believed that the species was not only real, but unchangeable -- as he wrote, Unitas in omni specie ordinem ducit (The invariability of species is the condition for order [in nature]). But Linnaeus observed how different species of plant might hybridize, to create forms which looked like new species. He abandoned the concept that species were fixed and invariable, and suggested that some -- perhaps most -- species in a genus might have arisen after the creation of the world, through hybridization. In his attempts to grow foreign plants in Sweden, Linnaeus also theorized that plant species might be altered through the process of acclimitization. Towards the end of his life, Linnaeus investigated what he thought were cases of crosses between genera, and suggested that, perhaps, new genera might also arise through hybridization.

Was Linnaeus an evolutionist? It is true that he abandoned his earlier belief in the fixity of species, and it is true that hybridization has produced new species of plants, and in some cases of animals. Yet to Linnaeus, the process of generating new species was not open-ended and unlimited. Whatever new species might have arisen from the primae speciei, the original species in the Garden of Eden, were still part of God's plan for creation, for they had always potentially been present. Linnaeus noticed the struggle for survival -- he once called Nature a "butcher's block" and a "war of all against all".

However, he considered struggle and competition necessary to maintain the balance of nature, part of the Divine Order. The concept of open-ended evolution, not necessarily governed by a Divine Plan and with no predetermined goal, never occurred to Linnaeus; the idea would have shocked him. Nevertheless, Linnaeus's hierarchical classification and binomial nomenclature, much modified, have remained standard for over 200 years. His writings have been studied by every generation of naturalists, including Erasmus Darwin and Charles Darwin. The search for a "natural system" of classification is still going on -- except that what systematists try to discover and use as the basis of classification is now the evolutionary relationships of taxa.

The Linné Herbarium, at the Swedish Museum of Natural History, preserves some of Linnaeus's original plant specimens. The Museum also has an excellent, detailed biography of Linnaeus. You can also view Linnaeus's botanical garden and Linnaeus's manor home and garden at Hamarby, courtesy of Uppsala University, Linnaeus's alma mater. Uppsala University also maintains Linné On Line, a rich source of information on Linnaeus and his times (for those who can read Swedish).

Founded a few years after Linnaeus's death, the Linnaean Society of London is still going strong as an international society for the study of natural history. The Society preserves the bulk of Linnaeus's surviving collections, manuscripts, and library. The Strandell Collection of Linneana, at Carnegie-Mellon University, and the Mackenzie Linneana collection at Kansas State University, are major American collections of writings by and about Linnaeus and his associates. The Linnaeus Link at the British Natural History Museum, aims to make available electronic versions of Linnaeus's writings and documents.

http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/history/linnaeus.html

Last edited by Alex Linder; December 18th, 2013 at 12:37 AM.
 
Old December 17th, 2013 #177
N.B. Forrest
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Gentleman...it will be hard...it will be arduous...no more than 99.5% of us will likely return alive...nevertheless (and even so)...I boldly propose we explore...CENTRAL SWEDEN. Cries, screams, women fainting. Dogs howling. But he made it happen. For Linnaeus is Swedish for...much man.
THIS is the bold Viking spirit that must be rekindled in the breasts of today's Swedish men. The ember is almost extinguished - but not yet. Let it be fanned once more into the roaring flame of the Berzerker!

The border with Norway calls!
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Old December 18th, 2013 #178
Alex Linder
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Originally Posted by N.B. Forrest View Post
THIS is the bold Viking spirit that must be rekindled in the breasts of today's Swedish men. The ember is almost extinguished - but not yet. Let it be fanned once more into the roaring flame of the Berzerker!

The border with Norway calls!
In 1734 he mounted another expedition to central Sweden.

I swear, that is the funniest thing I've read in two months. Amundsen The Prudent...discover of two (2) lichens and a curious whiteish geothermal slime he named Amixicus Ruudwaert but was later determined to be reindeer snot.
 
Old December 18th, 2013 #179
Donnie in Ohio
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Originally Posted by Alex Linder View Post
Oh man, it's a genuinely earned appreciation of warmth you can never get if you live in Southern California. But in no slightest way is it worth the misery of the drab six. People who claim they like the change of seasons are wacked in the head, to me. Enduring bad weather does not build good character. Nor is miserable weather a morality play, for our instruction. Discolored, dying leaves are just not that interesting.
Tom Petty said it best: The waiting is the hardest part.

Really enjoyed that whole post.
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Old December 21st, 2013 #180
Matthaus Hetzenauer
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Here's a creepy little snake "tail" for ya:

In the late '70s I read a magazine piece about a comic-magician performing at a dinner theater in either Montreal or Toronto. Part of his act had something or other to do with a python about 8' long, which during this particular peformance happened to be draped around his neck. For some inexplicable reason the snake began coiling itself around the guy and, before anyone knew wtf was going on, he was on the floor desperately trying to free himself of its stranglehold. The audience, thinking it was all part of the act, was applauding and laughing like hell; meanwhile this poor dude's turning all shades of red, purple and blue. It soon became apparent that this wasn't a comedy bit and people began screaming for help. A chef came running out of the kitchen with a meat cleaver and wound up chopping the snake's head off; but by the time it began releasing its hold of the magician it was too late -- he'd been constricted to death.
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