Fun with Google NGrams (Update)

I was reminded of the Google NGrams‘ existence when I was reading Jonathan Davies’ webpage earlier today, and decided to have some more fun. Note: capitalization and punctuation matters a lot on these NGrams, so if you redo any and find different trends, please do let me know! I don’t suggest any explanations for the trends, but if you have any, please share!

Like Dr. Davies, I too am interested in Ecology and Evolution. I also hope to study and always remember the role of natural historians and taxonomists in studying the natural world, so I ran some more graphs:

“natural history” vs “ecology” vs “evolution” vs “biodiversity” vs “taxonomy”
Screen Shot 2013-09-27 at 12.15.26 AM

“taxonomy” vs “phylogenetic+phylogenetics” vs “systematics”
Screen Shot 2013-09-27 at 12.20.25 AMI’m surprised that “taxonomy” has so dramatically overtaken “phylogenetic+phylogenetics” since the 1960s. I’d have predicted the opposite trend, given the rise of molecular phylogenetics and the decline in “herbarium” (see below).

“PCR” vs “histology” vs “herbarium”
Screen Shot 2013-09-27 at 12.26.32 AM

Testing dear Futuyma’s sentence “Following the shift in attitude came institutional changes: universities disposed of their research collections; departments of zoology, entomology, and (except by vigorous resistance) botany were dismantled and replaced by departments of biochemistry, ecology and evolutionary biology, and the like.”

“botany” vs “zoology” vs “entomology” vs “ecology” vs “evolution” vs “biochemistry”
Screen Shot 2013-09-27 at 12.40.47 AM

And for clarity, without “evolution” to dominate the scale —
Screen Shot 2013-09-27 at 12.40.55 AM
I wonder what the two huge peaks in “botany” between 1805-1825 are all about. And I’m surprised to see that “biochemistry” does not dominate.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s