Saturday, December 19, 2015

D'Arcy Wentworth Thompson on Camouflage

Above Photograph of D'Arcy Wentworth Thompson, and (to the left) cover of a recent edition of his famous book (originally published in 1917).


From CAMOUFLAGED CRAB in Ashburton Guardian (Ashburton NZ), May 15, 1919, p. 5—

Professor D'Arcy [Wentworth] Thompson [Scottish mathematical biologist, and author of On Growth and Form] had some interesting things to say about crabs at his recent lecture at the Royal Institution, London.

There was one crab of the "spider" variety which, he said, turned the top of its shell into a sort of garden. He was often to be seen taking cuttings of marine vegetation and carefully planting them on his back, where they took root among the hairs, which meanwhile held them in position.

"This little [sic] creature," said Professor Thompson, "is a master, if not, indeed, the inventor, of what we have come to call camouflage."…