biology

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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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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Wilhelm Wundt – Father of Experimental Psychology

Wilhelm Wundt – Father of Experimental Psychology

On August 16, 1832, German physician, physiologist, and philosopher Wilhelm Maximilian Wundt was born. He is one of the founding figures of modern psychology and was the first person to ever call himself a psychologist. In 1879, Wundt founded the first formal laboratory for psychological research at the University of Leipzig. This marked psychology as an independent field of study. Youth and Education Wilhelm Wundt is the youngest child of a Palatinate…
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Regnier De Graaf – Creator of Experimental Physiology

Regnier De Graaf – Creator of Experimental Physiology

On July 30, 1641, Dutch physician and anatomist Regnier de Graaf was born. De Graaf made key discoveries in reproductive biology as e.g. he discovered the follicles of the ovary (known as Graafian follicles), in which the individual egg cells are formed (1672) and also published on male reproductive organs (1668). He was also important for his studies on pancreatic juice (1663) and on the reproductive organs of mammals. He is considered…
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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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Sir Ferdinand von Mueller – Government Botanist

Sir Ferdinand von Mueller – Government Botanist

On June 30, 1825, German-Australian physician, geographer, and botanist Baron Sir Ferdinand Jacob Heinrich von Mueller was born. Von Mueller migrated to Australia in 1848 for health reasons, and there became the country’s greatest 19th-century scientist as a great botanical collector and writer. His contributions covered a wide field of sciences such as geography, pharmacy, horticulture, agriculture, forestry, paleontology, and zoology. His activity as a botanist is shown by hundreds of Australian…
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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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Edward Lear and his Book of Nonsense

Edward Lear and his Book of Nonsense

On May 12, 1812, English artist, illustrator, musician, author and poet Edward Lear was born. He is known now mostly for his literary nonsense in poetry and prose and especially his limericks, a form he popularised. As an author, he is known principally for his popular nonsense collections of poems, songs, short stories, botanical drawings, recipes, and alphabets. Edward Lear – Childhood and Education Edward Lear was born as the penultimate of twenty-one…
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