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    Encyclopedia Arctica 3: Zoology (Excluding Birds)


    001      |      Vol_III-0008                                                                                                                  

    (M ax . J. Dunbar)


            Encyclopedia Arctica differs from ordinary encyclopedias in that it is

    restricted in its subject matter to a special geographical area, and there–

    fore caters to the needs of a more specialized body of readers. Furthermore,

    in addition to presenting a wide range of observed facts about the northern

    regions, it deals with many subjects that are still in a fairly elementary

    stage of study. To give a good account of the present state of our knowledge

    it is necessary to summarize the past research and to include the several

    theoretical approaches or generalizations that have been made. It follows

    that many of the articles need to be more discursive than normal for encyclo–

    pedia contributions and that controversial matters should not be presented

    from one side only. The Encyclopedia is, in fact, a collection of original

    papers, many of them of the “review article” type, and special effort has been

    made to encourage authors to make their lists of bibliographic references as

    full as is reasonable, so that the further following of any subject, by the

    reader, is facilitated.

            The policy followed in approaching authors for articles, and in editing

    the whole volume on terrestrial, marine, and freshwater zoology, zoology (excluding birds), has been to

    define the desired subject matter in general terms only, and to allow the pros–

    pective author full scope to develop it as he wished. Any attempt to give the

    002      |      Vol_III-0009                                                                                                                  
    EA-Zoo. Dunbar: Foreword

    articles in the present volume a common stamp, or to achieve uniformity in

    their pattern and arrangement, has been avoided; the reader has in front of

    him a series of individual papers, in which the points of view expressed are

    the authors’, not the editors’. Since the authors are leading authorities in

    their fields, this policy seemed the only proper one to follow. It has the

    effect, moreover, of adding to the interest of the volume as a whole.

            It also has the effect of making a certain amount of overlapping unavoid–

    able. The preliminary patterning of the scheme of articles in the volume,

    however, was so arranged, and the lengths of the articles so controlled,

    within limits, that overlapping has been kept down to a minimum. A certain

    degree of overlapping is possibly an advantage anyway, since it avoids over–

    complicated cross-referencing. Thus it will be seen that a small amount of

    the material discussed by Professor Wynne-Edwards in his paper on the Fresh–

    water Vertebrates is also treated by Dr. V. D. Vladykov writing on Freshwater

    Fisheries, and that there is a common area between the articles on Terrestrial

    Vertebrates (Dr. A. L. Rand) and the three papers on fur bearers (Dr. Leonard

    Butler, Dr. Magnus Degerbøl, and Dr. Sven Ekman). Also, the articles on single

    species (wolverine, caribou, arctic char, etc.) contain information which is

    included, in lesser detail, in articles on the appropriate large taxonomic

    or ecological groups.

            The fact that this is a collection of individual papers in which the

    authors’ points of view are not obscured by editorial presumption, has resulted

    in the presentation of very different standpoints on controversial matters. For

    example, on the subject of the effects of predator control by man, a vexed one

    at present, the reader will find (the precise places in which he will find it

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    EA-Zoo. Dunbar: Foreword

    are left for him to discover) that diametrically opposed attitudes are repre–

    sented within this one volume. Since such opposite points of view are the

    essence of controversy, and one important stimulus to research, the presenta–

    tion of all of them becomes the only way to keep close to the fact s ; to attempt

    to offer a united front would be to give a false picture of the present state

    of our knowledge.

            There is variety also in the type of article included here, by which is

    meant that there is a range between the strictly “scientific” to the almost

    “popular.” Here again, no apology is made. To have insisted on uniformity

    would have brought about a condition to which greater objections could be

    raised than those to which, in the opinion of the writer, the present method

    is open. In short, it seems that the preparation of an Encyclopedia Arctica in

    zoology involves certain apparent problems which have here been solved largely

    by ignoring them.

            The zoological scheme chosen is ecological rather than taxonomic. The

    birds, which, most probably because of their general appeal and because of the

    comparative ease of observing them, have received much more study than any

    other group, are treated in a separate volume, under the care of Dr. G. M. Sutton.

    They are a large group in the North, and are described in greater detail than

    most representatives of the land-bound and aquatic faunas. For the ornithological

    volume, the arrangement is systematic, but for the rest it seemed more in keep–

    ing with present trends in zoology to use a less strictly taxonomic classification.

    It would in fact have been impossible to find authors to treat the whole of the

    arctic and subarctic fauna on a strictly taxonomic basic.

            There is now the troublesome matter of nomenclature. Zoologists, for some

    004      |      Vol_III-0011                                                                                                                  
    EA-Zoo. Dunbar: Foreword

    good reason, are strongly individual. Unlike botanists, they have never ac–

    cepted the authority of international organizations or committees on nomencla–

    ture, and very often do not bother to conform to regulations handed down by

    them. The result is an apparent disorganization which probably does no harm

    to zoology. Phoca hispida , the North American name, represents the same speices

    as does Phoca foetida in Europe. For many European mammalogists, Rangifer

    tarandus is the name applied to all caribou and reindeer; not so in North

    America, where we have a considerable proliferation of specific and subspecific

    names. There are differences in usage in the names and systematic status of

    the far seals of the North Pacific; also of the wolves of the whole n N orthern

    h H emisphere. The most difficult case of all is that of the arctic char, which

    by some zoologists is considered to exist as a single species, Salvelinus

    alpinus , with slight geographic and considerable seasonal variations; others

    maintain that several different species are found, and the total number of

    specific names given to the arctic char of various parts of the North lies

    between twenty and thirty. Here again, the existing lack of unanimity mirrors

    a truth — that systematics are a matter of opinion. There is no agreement

    upon the constitution of a species, and there are different views on the evo–

    lutionary relationships within many groups of animals. Since nomenclature is

    intended to reflect evolutionary history, disagreement [ ?] in the one is bound

    to be mirrored in disagreement in the other.

            In the editing of this volume of the Encyclopedia , nomenclature has been

    made as consistent as possible, and notes of synonymity have been inserted where

    they are considered necessary. But the right of European zoologists to use

    foetida instead of hispida has been respected, and authors who prefer to consider

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    EA-Zoo. Dunbar: Foreword

    the arctic char or its equivalent as several species rather than one, have done

    so here.

            The names of authorities for specific names have been omitted; for the pur–

    pose of the Encyclopedia they are not necessary, and they would serve only to

    confuse the lay reader. Where vernacular names of animals are used, the

    scientific names have been used once only in each article, the first time each

    animal is mentioned in the text.

            The volume [ ?] as a whole shows up our present knowledge of the zoology of

    the North as being still in the early stages of development, which is correct.

    There has been difficulty in obtaining recent information on the state of

    zoological research in the northern parts of the U.S.S.R., so that the Encyclo–

    pedia may give a false impression of that part of the subject; [ ?] but for North

    America and Greenland, and Spitsbergen, all the latest material is available.

    It will become clear to the reader that the zoology of Greenland has had much

    more effort spent upon it than has been expended in the past, at least up to

    recent years, in North America, a point which is to the credit of Denmark.

    The present incomplete state of zoological knowledge in arctic and subarctic

    North America is no doubt due to the attitude which asks: “What is the use of

    all this?” This so-called “hard-headed” point of view maintains that money

    spent on scientific research must bring in returns, with profit, in the fairly

    immediate future, and that the collecting, identifying, and mapping of small

    insignificant animals is of no possible value to the world, in dollars and cents

    or in anything else. To this attitude the present Encyclopedia brings an answer.

    In the first place, the very production of the Encyclopedia implies that people

    want to know about the science of the North, including the little as well as the

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    EA-Zoo. Dunbar: Foreword

    big animals, so that one object of field research may be found in the satis–

    faction of this general desire for knowledge. And secondly, it is made clear

    in the following pages that the control of the resources of the North, and

    their proper development and conservation, are quite impossible without the

    fullest knowledge of the total “biomass,” the whole of the living complex,

    in the northern environments. The smallest of the microorganisms of the

    soil, the single-celled plants and animals of the sea, are ultimately as

    important as the whales,walrus,and caribou, and demand as much attention from

    the biologist.

            Finally, and in connection with microorganisms, one last word about the

    Protozoa. The small amount of work that has been published on the Protozoa

    in the Arctic did not justify the preparation of a special article on them.

    Such an article must wait upon the protozoologists, and upon the next edition

    of this Encyclopedia .


    Max M. J. Dunbar

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