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Natural history

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natural history

A former branch of knowledge embracing the study, description, and classification of natural objects (as animals, plants, and minerals) and thus including the modern sciences of zoology, botany, and mineralogy insofar as they existed at that time. In the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries it was much used for the generalised pursuit of certain areas of science. (webster, 3d ed; from dr. James h. Cassedy, nlm history of medicine division)