Biology, including herpetology, has made greater strides in recent decades than in any time in history. It has progressed from a largely inductive science performed on an expeditionary basis to a laboratory-based discipline in which preformed hypotheses are tested empirically. My research has spanned that change in paradigm and an example of expeditionary biology, the study of habitat selection by amphibians and reptiles in the Darien Gap, Panama, is described. The study of Sea Snakes is used to illustrate the transition. Analysis of the offerings to two herpetological journals, Herpetologica and the Journal of Herpetology, also demonstrates changes in different topical emphases. A prominent trend in herpetology has been a shift from basic biology to conservation in the face of environmental degradation and the need to preserve the biodiversity of amphibians and reptiles. The unified biology of antiquity had fragmented into separate, specialized disciplines that seldom related to each other in more than a general way, despite the encompassing generalization of adaptation through evolution. In the past decade there has been a great melding of disciplines and a return to a more-holistic melding of disparate areas of biological endeavor.
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