By Tim Flannery
Twenty-five years in the past, a tender Australian museum curator named Tim Flannery got down to study the fauna of the Pacific Islands. beginning with a survey of 1 of the main inaccessible islands in Melanesia, the younger scientist discovered himself ghost whispering, snake wrestling and Quadoi searching looking for a small bat that became out to not be earthshatteringly interesting.
With bills of getting to know, naming and infrequently consuming new mammal species; being thwarted or aided by way of neighborhood customs; and historical clinical expeditions, Flannery, now one of many world’s best environmentalists, takes us on a charming trip via probably the most varied and amazing locations in the world.
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Certainly, they pose problems for the 'eye' or the 'computer' in 'reading' bad calligraphy. And again, though easy to visualize once explained in two dimensions, these figures in many dimensions would provide especial difficulties for the 'eye'. groups. In biology we are very accustomed to continuous variation. Yet this question poses a problem that we may miss because we have names for the 'threes', 'fives', 'sixes' and 'eights'; we have no names for the various intermediate forms. We may therefore fail to recognize them.
14. Here we have five groups with a variety of non-circular, non-homogeneous arrangements. Neighbourhood limited classification has been able to separate out their differing densities and different forms of interfaces. T h e resulting picture makes good biological sense, in this case separating the primates into both functional and taxonomic groups. A final example from those same data shows the five groups displayed in the top part of Fig. 15. T h e clustering study of the lower part of that figure shows unequivocally that, though four of the groups are real, the fifth group consists of a series of specimens (solid stars) peripherally arranged around one of the other groups (solid circles), a rjlljll BT B2 C A7 A2 1 the relationships between ' A ^ and 'A 2 ', though short, are through a single link only.
And, likewise, had the d a t a been in more than three dimensions, we could not have as easily checked the finding by 'eye'. to b e b l i n d to t h e o t h e r s . T h e h u m a n eye a n d m i n d h a v e a v e r y l i m i t e d v i e w of a g r o u p u n l e s s f o r e w a r n e d . The concept of several groups: of data or of organisms Many of the major questions underlying the analysis of form lie in the definition of multiple groups and in the discovery of the relationships among them. In making such studies, we usually assume, tacitly, that our a priori defined groups are roughly circular or elliptical, and of approximately equal size and orientation, because this is what we most easily imagine and recognize.
Among the Islands by Tim Flannery