What Is the Difference Between History and Natural History?

History and natural history are two distinct fields of study that often tend to be confused with each other. While both deal with the past, they differ in their subject matter, methodology, and scope. In this article, we will explore the differences between history and natural history.

What is History?

History is the study of human societies and civilizations in the past. It is concerned with the events, people, and cultures that have shaped our world over time. Historians use a range of sources such as written records, artifacts, and oral traditions to reconstruct the past.


Historians use various methods to interpret historical events. They analyze primary sources such as letters, diaries, and government documents to understand what happened in the past.

They also rely on secondary sources such as textbooks and academic articles that provide different perspectives on historical events. In addition to these sources, historians may also use quantitative methods such as statistical analysis to study patterns in historical data.


The scope of history is vast and covers a wide range of subjects such as politics, economics, culture, religion, art, science, and technology. Historians may specialize in particular periods or regions of history or focus on specific themes within their field.

What is Natural History?

Natural history is the study of organisms and their interactions with each other and their environment over time. It encompasses a variety of scientific disciplines including biology, geology, ecology, paleontology among others.


Natural historians use various tools to study living organisms including microscopes for examining cells and tissues or GPS tags for tracking animal movements. They also analyze data using statistical models to understand patterns in populations over time.

The scope of natural history ranges from microscopic organisms like bacteria to large animals like elephants. Natural historians may specialize in studying particular groups of organisms or ecosystems, or they may focus on specific topics such as evolution or animal behavior.

Key Differences

The key difference between history and natural history is their subject matter. History is concerned with human societies and civilizations while natural history focuses on living organisms and their environment.

Another difference is their methodology. Historians rely heavily on written records, while natural historians often use scientific tools and methods to study organisms.


In summary, history and natural history are two distinct fields of study with different subject matter, methodology, and scope. While they both deal with the past, they offer unique perspectives on the world around us. Regardless of whether you are interested in exploring human societies or the natural world around us, both fields have something fascinating to offer.