Scientist interprets Catalog of marine creatures collected in the Qing Palace

Updated 2017-01-22 10:33:11
The cover of scientist Zhang Chenliang's new book, titled A Notebook on Hai Cuo Tu.

The cover of scientist Zhang Chenliang's new book, titled A Notebook on Hai Cuo Tu.

A popular scientist who studies insects and animals has recently published a new book, providing a detailed analysis on an ancient catalog of marine creatures.

Zhang Chenliang's book The Catalog of Marine Creatures, known as "Hai Cuo Tu" in Chinese, is now housed in the Palace Museum in Beijing. It contains pictures of more than 300 types of deep sea creature, as drawn by Qing-dynasty painter Nie Huang, along with a record of their biological habits.

However, Zhang has discovered discrepancies in some of the creatures drawn by Nie Huang compared to actual appearance, finding that the painter drew some creatures on the basis of descriptions from other people instead of his own observations.

Zhang, who has become popular for spreading science knowledge on the Internet, said his book was written on the basis of the modern perspective of biology. He said he enjoyed the process of exploring the real identities of the sea creatures based on sometimes inaccurate drawings by the Qing-dynasty painter.

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