The Natural History of Father Jose de Acosta

Arevalo, C.

An Cienc Nat Inst Jose De Acosta : 5-12


Accession: 025660180

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Jose de Acosta is sometimes called "the Pliny of the New World," on account of his work "Historia natural y moral de las Indias," first published in 1590. The present author believes this name does not do justice to him, because Pliny, like all ancient writers, had a very provincial viewpoint, whereas Acosta had a synthetic mind which considered many problems from a global point of view. Many quotations are given to support the idea that, in a sense, Acosta was the founder of biogeography. He also described many New World spp., such as the chinchilla, 2 centuries before their 1st recognized description according to Linnean terminology.