Etymology
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naturalist (n.)

"student of plants and animals," c. 1600, from French naturaliste, from natural (see natural (adj.)). Earlier "one who studies natural, rather than spiritual, things" (1580s). A Middle English word for "natural philosopher or scientist" was naturien (late 14c.).

[The naturalist on expedition, pursued by a Nile crocodile, has climbed a palm tree for safety.]

Suddenly he experienced a new shudder of terror, as he remembered an article which he had inserted in the Belfast Review, and in which he had himself declared that crocodiles climb trees like cats. He would gladly have thrown this article into the fire, but it was too late, all Belfast had read it, it had been translated into Arabic and no Oriental author had yet refuted it, not even at Crocodilopolis. [Graham's Magazine, November 1855]

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Definitions of naturalist

naturalist (n.)
an advocate of the doctrine that the world can be understood in scientific terms;
naturalist (n.)
a biologist knowledgeable about natural history (especially botany and zoology);
Synonyms: natural scientist
From wordnet.princeton.edu