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The Hive Recap: Mingling Its Own Nature With It

The Hive: Wet Lab & Library

Often when I’m looking for inspiration, or just unable to sleep late at night and need to occupy myself, I spend hours reading the correspondence of Charles Darwin. The Darwin Correspondence Project is a remarkable database of the complete texts and transcripts of letters, both sent and received, by Darwin, which is being continually added to. It’s a tremendously useful, and exciting resource: http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/

The letter to which I refer from Darwin to his sister describing his first experience of Jenny the orangutan, can be found here.

For interest’s sake, here is a wonderful discussion of Darwin’s research on human emotions while he was working on his book, The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals (1872). You can also test your own ability to identify emotions depicted in the very photographs Darwin studied.

Another marvelous resource is Darwin Online. Here you can find the complete works of Charles Darwin (and more!) – all the editions of his published texts, manuscripts, his private notebooks and diaries, and various other unpublished texts.

Here is an illuminating excerpt, written by one of my favorite science writers, Carl Zimmer, from the introduction to the concise edition of Charles Darwin’s Descent of Man where Zimmer also describes Darwin’s encounter with Jenny.

If you are interested in looking deeper into the life and work of Claude Bernard there are several on-line sources one can go to. Here is a good place to start.

There is a tremendous amount of excellent literature that explores the histories of both vivisection, and experimental medicine more generally. Of course, the history of medicine isn’t entirely gruesome, and certainly through the various experimentations (some dubious, some not) over several centuries we have inherited an enormous amount of knowledge that has helped thousands, and thousands, of lives. Two places to begin looking: navs.org and sciencemuseum.org.uk.

You may also want to read:

James Turner. Reckoning with the Beast: Animals, Pain, and Humanity in the Victorian Mind. Johns Hopkins University Press, 1980.

Coral Lansbury. The Old Brown Dog: Women, Workers and Vivisection in Edwardian England. University of Wisconsin Press, 1985

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