biology

Alfred Romer and the Evolution of Vertebrae

Alfred Romer and the Evolution of Vertebrae

On December 28, 1894, American paleontologist and biologist Alfred Sherwood Romer was born. Romer was a a specialist in vertebrate evolution. He studied the evolution of early vertebrates in biological terms of comparative anatomy and embryology. He researched muscle and limb evolution, the development and evolutionary history of cartilage and bone, and the structure and function of the nervous system. Youth and Education Alfred Romer was born in White Plains, New York,…
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Sewall Wright and the Importance of Population Genetics

Sewall Wright and the Importance of Population Genetics

On December 21, 1889, American geneticist Sewall Green Wright was born. Wright is known for his influential work on evolutionary theory and also for his work on path analysis. He was a founder of population genetics alongside Ronald Fisher and J.B.S. Haldane, which was a major step in the development of the modern evolutionary synthesis combining genetics with evolution. Early Years and Academi c Career Sewall Wright‘s father Philip Green Wright was…
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Maurice WIlkins and the Riddle of the DNA Structure

Maurice WIlkins and the Riddle of the DNA Structure

On December 15, 1916, New Zealand-born British physicist, molecular biologist, and Nobel Laureate Maurice Wilkins was born. Wilkins’ research contributed to the scientific understanding of phosphorescence, isotope separation, optical microscopy and X-ray diffraction, and to the development of radar. He is best known for his work at King’s College London on the structure of DNA. Youth and Education Maurice Wilkins was born in Pongaroa, north Wairarapa, New Zealand where his father, Edgar…
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Evolution is not Reversible – Louis Dollo

Evolution is not Reversible – Louis Dollo

On December 7, 1857, French-born Belgian palaeontologist Louis Dollo was born. Dollo is best known for his work on dinosaurs. He also posited that evolution is not reversible, known as Dollo’s law. Together with the Austrian Othenio Abel, Dollo established the principles of paleobiology. Early Years Louis Dollo was born in Lille, Nord-Pas-de-Calais. At the École Centrale de Lille, Dollo studied with the Jules Gosselet and the zoologist Alfred Giard. In 1877, Louis…
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Sir William Henry Flower on Mammals and the Human Brain

Sir William Henry Flower on Mammals and the Human Brain

On November 30, 1831, English comparative anatomist and surgeon William Henry Flower was born. Flower became a leading authority on mammals, and especially on the primate brain. He supported Thomas Henry Huxley in an important controversy with Richard Owen about the human brain, and eventually succeeded Owen as Director of the Natural History Museum. William Henry Flower matriculated in Arts in 1849 and later joined the Medical School at University College London…
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The Discovery of the Taung Child

The Discovery of the Taung Child

On November 28, 1924, workers at the Buxton Limeworks near Taung, South Africa, showed a fossilised primate skull to Raymond Dart, an Australian anatomist and anthropologist, who described it as a new species in the journal Nature in 1925. The fossil was soon nicknamed the Taung Child and the new species was named Australopithecus africanus – the “southern ape from Africa” – and described by Dart as “an extinct race of apes…
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Karl von Frisch and the Dancing Bees

Karl von Frisch and the Dancing Bees

On November 20, 1886, Austrian ethologist and Nobel Laureate Karl Ritter von Frisch was born. His work centered on investigations of the sensory perceptions of the honey bee and he was one of the first to translate the meaning of the waggle dance, which he described in his 1927 book “Aus dem Leben der Bienen” (The Dancing Bees). He received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1973, along with Nikolaas Tinbergen [10] and…
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Salim Ali – the Birdman of India

Salim Ali – the Birdman of India

On November 12, 1896, Indian ornithologist and naturalist Sálim Ali was born. Sometimes referred to as the “birdman of India“, Salim Ali was among the first Indians to conduct systematic bird surveys across India and several bird books that he wrote helped popularise ornithology in India. Along with Sidney Dillon Ripley he wrote the ten volume Handbook of the Birds of India and Pakistan. Salim Ali was born into a Sulaimani Bohra Muslim…
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Seymour Benzer and Behavioural Genetics

Seymour Benzer and Behavioural Genetics

On October 15, 1921, American physicist, molecular biologist and behavioral geneticist Seymour Benzer was born. Benzer is known for having developed a method for determining the detailed structure of viral genes. He coined the term cistron (1957) to denote functional subunits of genes. He also did much to elucidate the nature of genetic anomalies, called nonsense mutations, in terms of the nucleotide sequence of DNA, deoxyribonucleic acid. Seymour Benzer early developed enthusiasm for biology…
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Christian de Duve and the Cell Organelles

Christian de Duve and the Cell Organelles

On October 2, 1917, Belgian cytologist, biochemist and Nobel Laureate Christian de Duve was born. Duve made serendipitous discoveries of two cell organelles, peroxisome and lysosome, for which he shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1974 with Albert Claude and George E. Palade. Christian de Duve was born as son of Belgian shopkeeper Alphonse de Duve and wife Madeleine Pungs in the village of Thames Ditton, near London. In…
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