White’s Taxonomy

This visual of Taylor White’s land fowl arrangement shows that the naturalist had come up with a taxonomical organization of his own. White used the 10th or 12th edition of Linnaeus’ Systema Naturae to name the species in his collection, but did not necessarily agree with Linnaeus’ classification. This graph shows how White was dividing the order of the Picae in two distinct groups, starting his classification with Parrots, Toucans, and Woodpeckers when most ornithologies–including Linnaeus’ and Willughby’s–started with Accipitres (Falcons and Owls). Considering we do not have written evidence of how White reflected on taxonomy, the arrangement of the plates gives us an indication of his working practice and scientific thinking.

–Céline Stantina