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Riled Up is a journal of science, the environment, exploration, new technology, and related commentary.  Contributors include scientists, explorers, engineers, and others who provide perspectives and context not typically offered in general news circulation.  For interested readers, additional resources are included.

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Maria Sibylla Merian, Ecologist

                   Maria Sibylla Merian illustrations, 1679 (credit: Public Domain/Wikipedia)

Recognizing contributions made by individuals to science is now common with awards such as the Nobel and Goldman Environmental prizes. In the mid-17th Century, few people paid attention to patient research investigations, particularly those made by women. Maria Sibylla Merian 'the woman who painted butterflies', pursue her passion and curiosity two hundred years before Charles Darwin and Alfred Wallace published their studies on evolution and biogeography. Merian self-published her observations and illustrations on her own. The 'woman who painted butterflies, is perhaps the first person who viewed the world through the lens of an ecologist by recognizing the myriad of connections between plants, animals, insects, reptiles, and, yes, butterflies. She overcame the obstacles of her era and continued to create detailed drawing of what she was observing in Germany, The Netherlands, and later in the South American rainforests of Surinam.

The Royal Society and the BBC collaborated on developing an animation, based on her drawings, to give Maria Sibylla Merian's insights more than 300 years ago the recognition they deserve. WHB

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