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Natural history
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Natural history

"Natural history" is an umbrella term for what are now usually viewed as a number of distinct scientific disciplines. Most definitions include the study of living things (e.g. biology, including botany and zoology); other definitions extend the topic to include paleontology, ecology or biochemistry, as well as parts of geology and physics and even meteorology. A person interested in natural history is known as a naturalist.

In the Eighteenth and well into the Nineteenth Century, Natural History as a term was frequently used to refer to all scientific studies, as opposed to political or ecclesiastical history. As such, the subject area would include all aspects of physics, astronomy, archeology, etc. We still see this usage in some institution names, such as the Natural History Museum in London, the National Museum of Natural History (part of the Smithsonian Institution) in Washington, D.C., the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, and the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, which also publishes a magazine called Natural History.