New reconstructive methods in scientific illustration with reference to systematic herpetology.

Wade, Edward O. Z. (2008) New reconstructive methods in scientific illustration with reference to systematic herpetology. PhD thesis, Middlesex University.

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Abstract

The present work and papers published earlier by the author, together with a detailed introductory chapter, describe the work of scientific illustration at a specialized level and how the development of drawing techniques can contribute to an understanding of the morphology and systematics of snakes. This work has its roots in the background of the writer as a scientific illustrator. The early phase reflects the disciplines and influence of science, leading to involvement, first with fishes, then reptiles. A later phase arose from contact with the scientific staff of institutions, such as the natural History Museum London leading to an appreciation of, and participation in taxonomy. Illustration+visual recording of data, augmented by field experience, comprised the principal component in the research. Practical considerations directed the study towards snakes from Algeria. This work has resulted in seven published papers, most in collaboration with established scientists mainly on the herpetology of North Africa. A synopsis of each paper is provided. In some cases the writer's collaborators are from disciplines such as molecular sequencing and computer analysis. Traditional taxonomic characters are reviewed and new features are suggested to provide alternative approaches and applications. The species under investigation are viewed in the light of current practice in taxonomy and newly published evidence has been considered. Some related aspects are touched on: genetics, for example is not normally a matter for illustration but is of direct concern, as it is a parallel discipline in the investigation of interrelationships of taxa and thus cannot be disregarded. The illustrative techniques demonstrated here are inseparable from the recording of morphological data. Such recording requires prior perception of what is to be recorded and it is that interpretation which contributes. In processing of material, the experience of graphic recording of observations resulted in the acquisition of a degree of understanding, which was very useful in resolving taxonomic problems, and added an extra dimension. The contribution that graphic art has made to some problems in taxonomy is discussed. Specimens in a variety of conditions of preservation require a variety of approaches and techniques of illustration. It has been found that artistic input changed from being a purely descriptive record to a means by which, in conjunction with the more standard techniques, novel conclusions could be derived, thus demonstrating an original contribution to taxonomic problems.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information:

A thesis by published work submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy at Middlesex University.

Research Areas:Masters and Doctorates > Theses
Middlesex University Schools and Centres > School of Art and Design > Art & Design
ID Code:6276
Deposited On:13 Jul 2010 07:49
Last Modified:22 Jul 2014 07:06

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