I was confused about the term natural history for a long time. What exactly is historical about natural history? It always seemed more like natural current events to me. My concept of natural history centered mostly on identifying and describing species and their behaviors. Eventually my view grew to include geology, climate, and astronomy, but it was still all just a careful description of the world we experience.
But how did this world come to be? That is the simple question that unlocked the full, grand scope of natural history for me. The world is the product of the past, and that past has been at times very different from the world we know today. I began to understand that the reality we experience is due to the accumulated changes that have happened over billions of years. The story of that past is etched into the world. The past is layered in the rocks. Every landscape is a library, and every organism is a living artifact.
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