biology

Louis Leakey and the Human Evolutionary Development in Africa

Louis Leakey and the Human Evolutionary Development in Africa

On August 7, 1903, Kenyan paleoanthropologist and archaeologist Louis Seymour Bazett Leakey was born. Louis Leakey‘s work was important in establishing human evolutionary development in Africa, particularly through his discoveries in the Olduvai Gorge. We’ve already had posts about his wife Mary Leakey, as well as two other famous women, whose life is connected with Louis Leakey: Dian Fossey and Jane Goodall. Having been a prime mover in establishing a tradition of…
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Jean-Baptiste Lamarck and the Evolution

Jean-Baptiste Lamarck and the Evolution

On August 1, 1744, French naturalist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck was born. Lamarck was an early proponent of the idea that evolution occurred and proceeded in accordance with natural laws. He gave the term biology a broader meaning by coining the term for special sciences, chemistry, meteorology, geology, and botany-zoology. “Do we not therefore perceive that by the action of the laws of organization . . . nature has in favorable times, places, and climates multiplied…
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Thomas Say – the Father of American Descriptive Entomology and American conchology

Thomas Say – the Father of American Descriptive Entomology and American conchology

On July 27, 1787, American self-taught naturalist, entomologist, malacologist, herpetologist and carcinologist Thomas Say was born. A taxonomist, he is widely considered the father of descriptive entomology in the United States. Thomas Say – Early Years Thomas Say was the great-grandson of the co-founder of the American Philosophical Society, John Bartram (1699-1777), and the great-nephew of William Bartram (1739-1823). The whole family consisted of members of a Quaker sect. Say’s statement that he belonged…
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George Shaw and the unique Mammal Platypus

George Shaw and the unique Mammal Platypus

On July 22, 1813, English botanist and zoologist George Shaw passed away. Shaw published one of the first English descriptions with scientific names of several Australian animals including the very first scientific description of the platypus. “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable man persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” – George Kearsley Shaw, as quoted in [9]…
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Frits Zernike and the Phase Contrast Microscope

Frits Zernike and the Phase Contrast Microscope

On July 16 , 1888, Dutch physicist and Nobel Laureate Frits Zernike was born. He is best known for his invention of the phase contrast microscope, an instrument that permits the study of internal cell structure without the need to stain and thus kill the cells. “I am impressed by the great limitations of the human mind. How quick are we to learn, that is, to imitate what others have done or thought before. And how…
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Ilya Mechnikov and the Discovery of Macrophages

Ilya Mechnikov and the Discovery of Macrophages

On May 16, 1845, Russian biologist, zoologist and Nobel Laureate Ilya Ilyich Mechnikov was born. He is best known for his pioneering research into the immune system. In particular, Mechnikov is credited with the discovery of macrophages in 1882. Mechnikov received the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1908, shared with Paul Ehrlich, for his work on phagocytosis.[4] “The duration of the life of men may be considerably increased. It would be true progress to…
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Thomas Henry Huxley – Darwin’s Bulldog

Thomas Henry Huxley – Darwin’s Bulldog

On May 4, 1825, English biologist and anthropologist Thomas Henry Huxley was born. A specialist in comparative anatomy he is known as “Darwin’s Bulldog” for his advocacy of Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution[8,9]. “If the question is put to me would I rather have a miserable ape for a grandfather or a man highly endowed by nature and possessed of great means of influence and yet who employs these faculties and that…
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John James Audubon’s Birds of America

John James Audubon’s Birds of America

On April 26, 1785, French-American ornithologist, naturalist, and painter John James Audubon was born. He was notable for his expansive studies to document all types of American birds and for his detailed illustrations that depicted the birds in their natural habitats. His major work, a color-plate book entitled The Birds of America (1827–1839), is considered one of the finest ornithological works ever completed. “Never give up listening to the sounds of birds.” –…
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Nikolaas Tinbergen and the Study of the Instinct

Nikolaas Tinbergen and the Study of the Instinct

On April 15, 1907, Dutch biologist, ornithologist, and Nobel Laureate Nikolaas Tinbergen was born. He studied the behavior of animals in their natural habitats and shared (with Konrad Lorenz and Karl von Frisch) the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1973 for their discoveries concerning “organization and elicitation of individual and social behavior patterns.” Nikolaas Tinbergen – Early Years Nikolaas Tinbergen was born in The Hague, Netherlands, as the third of…
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The Botanical Collections of José Celestino Mutis

The Botanical Collections of José Celestino Mutis

On April 6, 1732, Spanish priest, botanist and mathematician José Celestino Mutis was born. Between 1783 and 1808, Mutis tirelessly led an extraordinary endeavor to collect and illustrate the plants of Colombia, assembling one of the richest botanical collections in the world of his time. José Celestino Mutis – Becoming a Botanist José Celestino Mutis began studying medicine at the College of Surgery in Cádiz. There, Mutis also studied physics, chemistry, and…
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