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Works in Progress
Entomology: A Historical Perspective

January 29 at 12:10 and 1:10
West Building Lecture Hall

Darryl Forest, chief entomologist, National Gallery of Art

Entomology is a branch of zoology concerned with the study of insects. Insects appear suddenly in the fossil record at the beginning of the Late Carboniferous period, about 350 million years ago. As insects evolved, so did their diversity, and once humans emerged around six million years ago, insects evolved to adapt to them, linking themselves inextricably with human life and changing it forever. Historically, insects have brought disease, destruction, and death; without insects, however, life on this planet would cease to exist. In this lecture Darryl Forest presents an overview of the impact of insects on humans from the 14th to the 21st century, the period represented by the Gallery’s permanent collection.

Jan van Kessel, Study of Butterfly and Insects (detail), c. 1655, oil on copper, National Gallery of Art, Washington, Gift of John Dimick, 1983.19.3

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