PAUL D STEWART / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PAUL D STEWART / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Pierre Belon (1517-1564). Renaissance French explorer, naturalist, writer and diplomat. With Rondelet and Gesner he sits at the base of the new study of zoology. He worked on a range of topics including ichthyology, ornithology, botany, comparative anatomy, architecture and Egyptology. He was one of the first to write of the comparative anatomy of skeletal structure in different species, and also wrote the seminal book on fishes "De aquatilibus" often from personal observation or direct record. In the spirit of the Rennaisance he did not depend soley on the texts of the ancients - but among his real species there were many more fancifull inclusions such as the sea monk and sea bishop. He travelled across much of the then known world, but was killed by robbers in a wood not far from his home in Paris.
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