Science on the Texas Frontier: Observations of Dr. Gideon Lincecum

Első borító
Texas A&M University Press, 1997 - 211 oldal
Edward O. Wilson has described Dr. Gideon Lincecum as "an American original, expansive passionate, and prone to make science out of what he could see with his own eyes. His life illuminates an important era, and mood, in Texas history, and he ranks as one of America's major pioneering naturalists." A most remarkable man who found himself ill at ease in "polite and fashionable society," Lincecum preferred to keep company with "kindred forms, my brother emmets and my sister worms," observing and studying nature on the nineteenth-century Texas frontier. With almost no formal education, he nevertheless reported his observations of the natural world in richly detailed letters sent to leading contemporary scientists--such as Charles Darwin, Spencer Baird, Joseph Henry, and Elias Durand--and in essays published in both popular and scientific journals. His writings were typically marked by humor and wit, as he opted for an unorthodox approach in his scientific investigations, often arriving at startling conclusions. Gathered together here for the first time are selections from Lincecum's letters and other scientific writings, placed in context and ordered to provide a narrative account of this frontier naturalist's twenty-five-year investigation of Texas fauna, flora, landscape, and weather. From the mysterious qualities of native plants, both medicinal and poisonous, to the fearsome rapidity of the blue norther, turning summer to winter along the plains in a frigid instant, Gideon recorded what he saw and experienced in the wilds of the Texas frontier. His reports at times gave rise to controversy: his anthropomorphic observations of ants, attributing to the insects humanlike social and agricultural skills--a theory he made known in a letter to Darwin--is still referred to as the "Lincecum myth." Despite the debate that raged around some of his findings, he is considered one of the most important early American scientists. An expert on Texas grasses, he was consulted by farmers across the region interested in the best native grasses for their cattle. His interest in Texas grapes led to the naming of a bush grape, Vitis Lincecumii, for him. Little in the natural world escaped Gideon's attention and comment. Beautifully illustrated by Betsy Warren, his letters and other writings about many facets of Texas'--and, later, Mexico's--natural history remain informative to the modern reader, as well as delightful reading. Science on the Texas Frontier represents a significant contribution to the history of science in America during the middle nineteenth century and will be of great interest to natural historians and scientists, conservationists and environmentalists, as well as lovers of Texana and general readers fascinated with Western and scientific history

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Tartalomjegyzék

Gideon and the Ants of Texas
18
Texas Botany Gideons Catalogue of Useful Plants
51
Gideon and the Texas Arthropods
71
Creatures of the Air Land and Sea
95
Texas Geology
110
Texas Weather
119
From Texas to Mexico
127
Gideon in Mexico
140
The Edited Version of Gideons Letters to Charles Darwin That Appeared in Journal of the Linnean Society of London Zoology 61862 2931
159
Thirteen Distinct Species of Texas Grasses by Gideon Lincecum from Texas Almanac 1861 pp 14043
163
Articles on Geology by Gideon Lincecum from Texas Almanac 1868 pp 8591
169
Published Writings of Gideon Lincecum
179
Notes
181
Selected Bibliography
201
Index
205
Copyright

Index of Notable Correspondents
152

Más kiadások - Összes megtekintése

Gyakori szavak és kifejezések

Népszerű szakaszok

18. oldal - Go to the Ant, thou Sluggard, consider her ways, and be wise: which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.
67. oldal - ... the cloth should be soaked in it for two hours, then wrung out and dried. The soaking may be repeated, and the cloth again dried as before. It is then to be barely wetted with Lime water, and afterwards dried.
160. oldal - Of late years, however, since the number of farms and cattle has greatly increased, and the latter are eating off the grass much closer than formerly, thus preventing the ripening of the seeds, I notice that the Agricultural Ant...
160. oldal - Ilinty seeds, which under the microscope very closely resemble ordinary rice. When ripe, it is carefully harvested, and carried by the workers, chaff and all, into the granary cells, where it is divested of the chaff and packed away The chaff is taken out and thrown beyond the limits of the paved area.
160. oldal - During protracted wet weather, it sometimes happens that the provision stores become damp, and are liable to sprout and spoil. In this case, on the first fine day the ants bring out the damp and damaged grain, and expose it to the sun till it is dry when they carry it back and pack away all the sound seeds, leaving those that had sprouted to waste.
160. oldal - Within this paved area not a blade of any green thing is allowed to grow; except a single species of grain-bearing grass. Having planted this crop in a circle around, and two or three feet from, the centre of the mound, the insect tends and cultivates it with...
91. oldal - ... poison, and soon withers. Half a dozen grown insects will kill a cabbage in a day. They continue through the summer, and sufficient perfect insects survive the winter to insure a full crop of them for the coming season. " 'This, tribe of insects do not seem liable to the attacks of any of the cannibal races, either in the egg state or at any other stage. Our birds pay no attention to them, neither will the domestic fowls touch them. I have as yet found no way to get clear of them but to pick...
90. oldal - The year before last they got into my garden, and utterly destroyed my cabbage, radishes, mustard, seed turnips, and every other cruciform plant. Last year I did not set any of that Order of plants in my garden. But the present year, thinking the bugs had probably left the premises, I planted my garden with radishes, mustard, and a variety of cabbages. By the first of...
40. oldal - There can be no doubt of the fact that this peculiar species of grass is intentionally planted and, in farmer-like manner, carefully divested of all other grasses and weeds during the time of its growth. And that...
161. oldal - There can be no doubt that the particular species of grainbearing grass mentioned above is intentionally planted. In farmer-like manner the ground upon which it stands is carefully divested of all other grasses and weeds during the time it is growing. When it is ripe, the grain is taken care of, the dry stubble cut away and carried off, the paved area being left unencumbered until the ensuing autumn, when the same ' antrice ' reappears within the same circle, and receives the same agricultural attention...

A szerzőről (1997)

Jerry Bryan Lincecum, professor of English at Austin CollegeEdward Hake Phillips, professor emeritus of history at Austin CollegePeggy A. Redshaw, professor of biology at Austin College

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