Thursday, March 15, 2007


Abstract (Powerpoint)

The importance of museums and storing information about past and present biodiversity is an idea introduced as a result of the beginning of the classification of animals and plants by Aristotle in Greece. Aristotle separated the plants from the animals and then the animals into three groups, those from land, sea and air. This system although incorrect, became the first predecessor of what is known as a classification system, without which taxonomy and recording of related taxa using hierarchical structure could arguably be in a more primitive state. For the first time, through classification systems and the beginnings of scientific writings of zoology and botany, literary text could now document and contribute to human knowledge of animals and plants albeit with anthropocentric bias. Today we build on this legacy of bequest value through the improvement of technology, which allows for more detailed information to be stored and accessed. Through the discovery of new animals and plants and the study of their biology, medical advancements and new technologies could provide solutions for present and future problems.

David Vaughan
Senior aquarist, Quarantine
Two Oceans Aquarium
Cape Town, South Africa
+27 21 418 38 23