Katrina van Grouw is a self-taught scientist with a passion for evolutionary biology and its history. She is author and illustrator of several beautiful large-format science books for adults on the theme of adaptation, evolution, and comparative anatomy. Her books are published by Princeton University Press. Her most recent book, Unnatural Selection, looks in depth at the selective breeding of domesticated animals in the context of Darwin’s analogy between natural and artificial selection. Its publication was timed to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Darwin’s The Variation of Animals and Plants under Domestication and it was intended as a tribute to both Darwin and Mendel.
When she’s not busy with WCP duties, Katrina will be working on an expanded and completely overhauled 2nd edition of her critically acclaimed book The Unfeathered Bird, about convergence and adaptation. The new edition will include a lengthy section on bird evolution from other dinosaurs; what birds are and what they are not. She’s enjoying researching bird origins so much that she intends to pursue a PhD in paleo-ornithology when the book is finished.
Katrina describes herself as inhabiting that no-man’s land, slap bang between art and science, and has had a varied career on both sides of the fence. She holds degrees in fine art and natural history illustration, and has specialist knowledge of historical illustrated natural history books and the printing techniques used to create them. She’s contributed to numerous books and media presentations about the American bird artist and ornithologist John James Audubon, and has written a book about the history of birds in art. An ornithologist and a birdwatcher, Katrina is also a former curator of ornithological collections at the London Natural History Museum's bird collection at Tring, a qualified (though lapsed) bird ringer, and an experienced preparator of natural history specimens.
Katrina will be working for the project for 3.5 days per week. She will be responsible for coordinating the work of WCP volunteers, freelancers and the project’s full-time Researcher, quality controlling their transcripts and giving constructive feedback; working on mini biographies of Wallace’s correspondents and the project’s master reference list; attempting to locate previously unknown Wallace-related manuscripts in institutions worldwide and obtaining digital scans of them; and writing posts for the WCP News blog and Wallace Facebook page (etc).
Welcome to the team Katrina!