Dichotomous keys

I have always liked the sound of the term “dichotomous keys”. I have also long been fascinated by how these keys allow for the identification of living organisms via a series of paired choices. Dichotomous keys are forerunners of the digital age, where it is all about yes or no, 1 or 0.

While bird identification guides have largely abandoned dichotomous keys, they are certainly of historical interest and they continue to be essential for scientists. So here is a look at some dichotomous keys that include the California condor or its nest.

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Century-old books for younger children

How was knowledge of natural history conveyed to children in the past? Books can provide insights into the nature of the “environmental education” available to our great- … -grandparents.

In this post I note 3 books for younger children. Only one of these refers specifically to the California condor. As is typical for the time, the other 2 refer to the “condor”, by which they mean the Andean condor. Even in the USA, the California condor was not as well known as the Andean condor a century ago. Nevertheless, I consider all 3 books here because they each take different approaches to conveying understanding to children.

01 Pictures and stories of animals for the little ones

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