zoology

Charles Walcott and the Cambrian Explosion

Charles Walcott and the Cambrian Explosion

On August 30, 1909, American paleontologist Charles Doolittle Walcott discovered the Burgess Shale Formation, located in the Canadian Rockies of British Columbia. With its Cambrian fossils the Burgess Shale is one of the world’s most celebrated fossil fields. Walcott excavated repeatedly to collect more than 65,000 specimens from what is now known as the Walcott Quarry, named after him. “Nature has a habit of placing some of her most attractive treasures in places…
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Georges Cuvier and the Science of Paleontology

Georges Cuvier and the Science of Paleontology

On August 23, 1769, French naturalist and zoologist Jean Léopold Nicolas Frédéric Cuvier aka Georges Cuvier was born. He was a major figure in natural sciences research in the early 19th century, and was instrumental in establishing the fields of comparative anatomy and paleontology through his work in comparing living animals with fossils. “Why has not anyone seen that fossils alone gave birth to a theory about the formation of the earth, that without…
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Libbie Hyman and her Passion for the Invertebrates

Libbie Hyman and her Passion for the Invertebrates

On December 6, 1888, U.S. zoologist Libbie Henrietta Hyman was born. Hyman wrote two laboratory manuals and a comprehensive six-volume reference work, The Invertebrates, (1940-67) covering most phyla of its subject. This work, important for its organization, description and classification of invertebrates, is a reference still used today. Early Years Libbie Hyman was born in Des Moines, Iowa, USA, the third of four children and the only daughter of Joseph Hyman, a…
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August Krogh and the Capillary Motor Regulation Mechanism

August Krogh and the Capillary Motor Regulation Mechanism

On November 15, 1874, Danish zoophysiologist August Krogh was born. Krogh contributed a number of fundamental discoveries within several fields of physiology, and is famous for developing the Krogh Principle, which states that “for such a large number of problems there will be some animal of choice, or a few such animals, on which it can be most conveniently studied.” In 1920 August Krogh was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for…
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Paul Bartsch Interest in Molluscs

Paul Bartsch Interest in Molluscs

On August 14, 1871, American malacologist and carcinologist Paul Bartsch was born, Bartsch was an authority on molluscs, but had broad interests in natural history including plants and birds. He was named the last of those belonging to the “Descriptive Age of Malacology. Paul Bartsch was born in Tuntschendorf, Silesia, and emigrated with his parents to the U.S.A in 1880, first to Missouri and then to Burlington, Iowa. During his school years, Paul…
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Frank Rattray Lillie and the Fertilization Process

Frank Rattray Lillie and the Fertilization Process

On June 27, 1870, American zoologist and an early pioneer of the study of embryology Frank Rattray Lillie was born. Lillie is known for his discoveries concerning the fertilization of the egg (ovum) and the role of hormones in sex determination. He was instrumental in the development of the field of embryology. He identified the influence of potassium on cell differentiation and elucidated the biological mechanisms behind free-martins. Frank Lillie was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. His…
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Mary Jane Rathbun and the Secret Life of Crustacea

Mary Jane Rathbun and the Secret Life of Crustacea

On June 11, 1860, American zoologist Mary Jane Rathbun was born. Rathbun established the basic taxonomic information on Crustacea. For many years she was the Smithsonian’s complete department of marine invertebrates where she studied, cataloged, and preserved specimens. Through her basic studies and published works, she fixed the nomenclature of Crustacea and was the recognized, and the much sought after, authority in zoology and carcinology. A Self-taught Zoologist Mary Jane Rathbun was…
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Gilbert White’s Natural History and Antiquities of Selborne

Gilbert White’s Natural History and Antiquities of Selborne

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, 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 book is a classic work of natural history, has been in print continuously since…
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Pierre André Latreille – The Father of modern Entomology

Pierre André Latreille – The Father of modern Entomology

On November 29, 1762, French zoologist Pierre André Latreille was born. Latreille was considered the foremost entomologist of his time, and was described by one of his pupils as “the prince of entomologists”. Latreille made the first detailed classification of crustaceans and insects using a “natural method” of classification combining the approaches of Linnaeus and Fabricius. Pierre André Latreille was born on November 29, 1762 in the town of Brive, then in…
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Guillaume Rondelet and the Aquatic Life

Guillaume Rondelet and the Aquatic Life

On September 27, 1507, French anatomist and naturalist Guillaume Rondelet was born, who had a particular interest in botany and zoology. His major work was a lengthy treatise on marine animals, which took two years to write and became a standard reference work for about a century afterwards, but his lasting impact lay in his education of a roster of star pupils who became leading figures in the world of late-16th century…
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