As someone who enjoys any compelling story that’s well told, I’m a fan of Stephen B. Heard‘s new book Charles Darwin’s Barnacle and David Bowie’s Spider; How Scientific Names Celebrate Adventurers, Heroes, and Even a Few Scoundrels, published by Yale University Press March 17, 2020. It’s full of thoughtfully considered stories behind the names that scientists give to species, and I think people of all backgrounds will find it to be engrossing, accessible, and delightful. The author is an evolutionary ecologist and entomologist at the University of New Brunswick, and a self-described “word nerd.” 
previously wrote about the book (before the title changed), describing my experience working on the illustrations. It’s wonderful to finally have the product of those efforts in hand!

Photo of book Charles Darwin's Barnacle

Below are a few of my favorite illustrations from the book.

Eupholus vlasimskii Damstra 1
Illustration of Stan Vlasimsky’s weevil © Emily S. Damstra
Salvator merianae Damstra 1
Illustration of an Argentine black and white tegu © Emily S. Damstra
Gazella cuvieri Damstra 1
Illustration of Cuvier’s gazelle © Emily S. Damstra

There’s a very nice 12-minute author interview here, if you’re interested in hearing his own summary of the book.


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