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Early Works

Aristotle's History of Animals can be seen as one of the earliest books on zoology which mentions birds. The book covers all of the animal kingdom, including humans, and discusses things such as anatomy, reproduction and behaviour. The first time Aristotle discusses birds in this book he compares their basic structure to that of other animals.

Albert Magnus based his work on that of Aristotle and produced De animalibus, along with the rest of his work, in the 13th century. De animalibus consists of twenty-six books discussing all aspects of animals and humans. Here we can see the postcard of a swallow alongside Alberts description, plus the first mention of birds in Historia Animalium.

Albert The Great Swallows
Man and beasts / Albert the Great; translated by James J. Scanlan V2.ALB 1
Aristotle Historia
Historia animalium: Books I-III / Aristotle V1.ARI 2.1b



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