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specimenSpecimen (ger.)

  • 1) A collection of the dead bodies of organisms (or parts of them) which serves as a sample for the identification of a species or for other purposes of scientific investigation and which can be exchanged between naturalists.  

    to send over a Specimen of all Medicinal Herbs

    Anonymus (1669). Enquiries and directions for the Ant-Iles, or Caribbe-Islands. Philos. Trans. Roy. Soc. 3, 634-9: 636.


    Of the first Kind [of gnats] I never saw but one Species, which I have here enclosed sent you a Specimen of, marked (Nr. 2. Lr.b.)

    Derham, W. [1702]. [Letter to J. Ray, June, 24 1702]. In: Ray, J. (1710). Historia insectorum, 262-6: 262; cf. id. (1713/20). Physico-Theology: 248.


    I have sent you herewith, as a Specimen, a Boxful, containing above a hundred of the most rare Species of [insects].

    Bosman, W. (1705). A New and Accurate Description of the Coast of Guinea: 275.


    Specimen logic turns nature into object by decontextualizing select creatures and items, that is, by removing them from their habitats, environments, and settings.

    Neri, J. (2011). The Insect and the Image. Visualizing Nature in Early Modern Europe, 1500-1700: xiii. 

  • 2) The dead body of a single organism which was collected by a naturalist for purposes of investigation or scientific study.  
    I could not easily count the Number of Legs, because, having but one Specimen, I was loth to destroy it
    Klein, J.T. (1747). A new species of insects. Philos. Trans. Roy. Soc. Lond. 9, 4-7: 7.