Charles Darwin

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. Karl Gegenbaur noted that the most reliable clue to evolutionary history is homology, the comparison of anatomical parts which have a common evolutionary…
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Robert FitzRoy – From Darwin’s famous voyage to Meteorology

Robert FitzRoy – From Darwin’s famous voyage to Meteorology

On July 5, 1805, English officer of the Royal Navy Vice Admiral Robert Fitzroy was born. He is best known as the captain of HMS Beagle during Charles Darwin‘s famous voyage, FitzRoy‘s second expedition to Tierra del Fuego and the Southern Cone. Moreover, FitzRoy was a pioneering meteorologist who made accurate daily weather predictions, which he called by a new name of his own invention: “forecasts“. Robert FitzRoy was born at Ampton…
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Herbert Spencer and Social Darwinism

Herbert Spencer and Social Darwinism

On April 27, 1820, English philosopher, biologist, anthropologist, sociologist, and prominent classical liberal political theorist of the Victorian era Herbert Spencer was born. Spencer is best known for the expression “survival of the fittest“, which he coined in Principles of Biology (1864), after reading Charles Darwin‘s On the Origin of Species.[4] This term strongly suggests natural selection, yet as Spencer extended evolution into realms of sociology and ethics, he also made use…
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John Herschel – a Pioneer in Celestial Photography

John Herschel – a Pioneer in Celestial Photography

On March 7, 1792, English polymath, mathematician, astronomer, chemist, inventor, and experimental photographer Sir John Herschel was born. Herschel originated the use of the Julian day system in astronomy and named seven moons of Saturn and four moons of Uranus. He made many contributions to the science of photography, and investigated colour blindness and the chemical power of ultraviolet rays. Overall, he advocated an inductive approach to scientific experiment and theory building,…
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The Chronometers of Thomas Earnshaw

The Chronometers of Thomas Earnshaw

On February 4, 1749, English watchmaker Thomas Earnshaw was born. Earnshaw further simplified the process of marine chronometer production, making them available to the general public. He is also known for his improvements to the transit clock at the Royal Greenwich Observatory in London and his invention of a chronometer escapement and a form of bimetallic compensation balance. Improving Marine Timekeepers Thomas Earnshaw was born at Ashton under Lyne, Lancashire. He became…
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Eugene Dubois and the Discovery of the Java Man

Eugene Dubois and the Discovery of the Java Man

On January 28, 1858, Dutch paleoanthropologist and geologist Eugene Dubois was born. Dubois earned worldwide fame for his discovery of Pithecanthropus erectus (later redesignated Homo erectus), or Java Man. Although hominid fossils had been found and studied before, Dubois was the first anthropologist to embark upon a purposeful search for them. Early Years Eugene Dubois was born in Eijsden, near Limburg, Netherlands, where his father, Jean Dubois, was an apothecary, later the…
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The second Voyage of the HMS Beagle

The second Voyage of the HMS Beagle

On December 27, 1831, the HMS. Beagle set sail from Plymouth Sound under captain Robert FitzRoy [4] with the young graduate Charles Darwin on board for her 5 years voyage. By the end of the expedition Charles Darwin had already made his name as a geologist and fossil collector, and the publication of his journal which became known as The Voyage of the Beagle gave him wide renown as a writer.[5,6] The HM.S.…
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Peter Simon Pallas – A Pioneer in Zoography

Peter Simon Pallas – A Pioneer in Zoography

On September 22, 1741, German zoologist and botanist Peter Simon Pallas was born. Pallas was a pioneer in zoogeography by going beyond merely cataloging specimens with simple descriptions, but included observations of causal relationships between animals and their environment. He looked for hidden regularities in natural phenomena over an extreme range of habitats. Pallas was born in Berlin, the son of Professor of Surgery Simon Pallas at the Collegium medico-chirurgicum in Berlin.…
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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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Sir Richard Owen and the Interpretation of Fossils

Sir Richard Owen and the Interpretation of Fossils

On July 20, 1804, English biologist, comparative anatomist and paleontologist Sir Richard Owen was born. Despite being a controversial figure, Owen is generally considered to have been an outstanding naturalist with a remarkable gift for interpreting fossils. Owen is probably best remembered today for coining the word Dinosauria (meaning “Terrible Reptile” or “Fearfully Great Reptile“). And today, dinosaurs seem to be more popular than ever, taking into account recent revenues of the latest sequel of…
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