biology

Karl Gegenbaur and the Study of Comparative Anatomy

Karl Gegenbaur and the Study of Comparative Anatomy

On August 21, 1826, German anatomist Karl Gegenbaur was born. Gegenbaur demonstrated that the field of comparative anatomy offers important evidence supporting of the theory of evolution. He was a strong supporter of Charles Darwin‘s theory of organic evolution, having taught and worked, beginning in 1858, with Ernst Haeckel.[6] Karl Gegenbaur noted that the most reliable clue to evolutionary history is homology, the comparison of anatomical parts which have a common evolutionary origin.…
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Edward Drinker Cope and the Neo-Lamarckian School of Thought

Edward Drinker Cope and the Neo-Lamarckian School of Thought

On July 28, 1840, American paleontologist and comparative anatomist Edward Drinker Cope was born. Being s well as a noted herpetologist and ichthyologist, he was a founder of the Neo-Lamarckism school of thought. This school believed that changes in developmental (embryonic) timing, not natural selection, was the driving force of evolution. Cope thought that groups of species that shared similar developmental patterns could be grouped into more inclusive groups (i.e. genera, families,…
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Gilbert White – England’s First Ecologist

Gilbert White – England’s First Ecologist

On July 18, 1720, pioneering English naturalist and ornithologist Gilbert White was born. He is best known for his work Natural History and Antiquities of Selborne (1789), in which over the course of 20 years of his observations and two colleagues’ letters, he studied a wide range of flora and fauna seen around his hometown of Selborne, Hampshire. The Natural History and Antiquities of Selborne was adored by Charles Darwin, has been read by…
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Mikhail Tsvet – the Father of Chromatography

Mikhail Tsvet – the Father of Chromatography

On June 26, 1919, Russian-Italian botanist Mikhail Semyonovich Tsvet passed away. Tsvet is credited with the invention of the adsorption chromatography, separating plant pigments by extracting them from leaves with ether and alcohol and percolating the solution through a column of calcium carbonate. Mikhail Tsvet – Youth and Education Mikhail Tsvet was born 14 May 1872 in Asti, Italy. His mother was Italian, and his father was a Russian official. His mother…
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The Wonderful World of Thomas Pennant, Zoologist

The Wonderful World of Thomas Pennant, Zoologist

On June 14, 1726, Welsh naturalist, traveller, writer and antiquarian Thomas Pennant was born. As a naturalist he had a great curiosity, observing the geography, geology, plants, animals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish around him and recording what he saw and heard about. He wrote acclaimed books including British Zoology, the History of Quadrupeds, Arctic Zoology and Indian Zoology although he never travelled further afield than continental Europe. Thomans Pennant – Early…
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Henry Faulds and the Forensic Use of Fingerprints

Henry Faulds and the Forensic Use of Fingerprints

On June 1, 1843, Scottish physician and missionary Henry Faulds was born. Faulds became a missionary in Japan, where he worked as a surgeon superintendent at a Tokyo hospital, taught at the local univeristy, and founded the Tokyo Institute for the Blind. He is probably best known for his study of fingerprints, where he became convinced that each individual had a unique pattern. Historic Use of Fingerprints It is believed that fingerprints…
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Julius Richard Petri and the Petri Dish

Julius Richard Petri and the Petri Dish

On May 31, 1852, German microbiologist Julius Richard Petri was born. Petri is generally credited with inventing the device known as the Petri dish after him, while working as assistant to bacteriologist Robert Koch. Julius Richard Petri – Background Information Julius Richard Petri studied medicine at the Kaiser Wilhelm Academy for Military Physicians from 1871-1875 and worked for a short time as a military doctor. He completed his doctorate as a physician at the Charité…
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Sidney Fox and his Research for the Origins of Life

Sidney Fox and his Research for the Origins of Life

On March 24, 1912, American biochemist Sidney W. Fox was born. In search for the origins of life, Fox explored the synthesis of amino acids from inorganic molecules, the synthesis of proteinous amino acids and amino acid polymers called “proteinoids” from inorganic molecules and thermal energy, and created what he thought was the world‘s first protocell out of proteinoids and water. “A further aspect I should like to discuss is what I…
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Carl Woese and the Evolution of the Cell Organization

Carl Woese and the Evolution of the Cell Organization

On July 15, 1928, American microbiologist and biophysicist Carl Richard Woese was born. Woese is famous for recognizing the existence of the Archaea – a new domain or kingdom of life – in 1977 by phylogenetic taxonomy of 16S ribosomal RNA, a technique pioneered by Woese which revolutionized the discipline of microbiology. Archaea define a third domain of life, distinct from the previously recognized two domains of bacteria, and life other than…
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Camillo Golgi and the Golgi Apparatus

Camillo Golgi and the Golgi Apparatus

On July 7, 1843, Italian physician, pathologist, scientist, and Nobel laureate Camillo Golgi was born. His key discovery was the use of silver salts to stain samples for microscope slides. Thus new details of cellular structure components were revealed and several phenomena in anatomy and physiology are named for him, including the Golgi apparatus. Camillo Golgi – Early Years Camillo Golgi was born near Brescia in northern Italy. His father was a…
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