evolution

Charles Darwin and the Natural Selection

Charles Darwin and the Natural Selection

On February 12, 1809, the English naturalist Charles Darwin was born. He popularized the term ‘natural selection‘ as a milestone in modern biology, which was introduced in his masterpiece ‘On the Origin of Species‘ in 1859. It is easy to specify the individual objects of admiration in these grand scenes; but it is not possible to give an adequate idea of the higher feelings of wonder, astonishment, and devotion, which fill and elevate…
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August Weismann – the Founder of Neo-Darwinism

August Weismann – the Founder of Neo-Darwinism

On January 17, 1834, German evolutionary biologist Friedrich Leopold August Weismann was born. He is considered the second most notable evolutionary theorist of the 19th century, after Charles Darwin, and one of the founders of Neo-Darwinism. “When we are confronted with facts which we see no possibility of understanding save on a single hypothesis, even though it be an undemonstratable one, we are naturally led to accept the hypothesis, at least until a better…
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Charles Lyell and the Principles of Geology

Charles Lyell and the Principles of Geology

On November 14, 1797, Charles Lyell, British lawyer and the foremost geologist of his day, was born. Lyell was a close friend to Charles Darwin and is best known as the author of Principles of Geology, which popularized James Hutton‘s concepts of uniformitarianism – the idea that the earth was shaped by the same processes still in operation today. “The form of a coast, the configuration of the interior of a country,…
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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,[4] which was a major step in the development of the modern evolutionary synthesis combining genetics with evolution. Early Years and Academic Career Sewall Wright‘s father Philip Green Wright was a…
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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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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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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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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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