Journal of the History of Biology

http://link.springer.com/journal/10739

List of Papers (Total 25)

Functional Morphology in Paleobiology: Origins of the Method of ‘Paradigms’

From the early nineteenth century, the successful use of fossils in stratigraphy oriented paleontology (and particularly the study of fossil invertebrates) towards geology. The consequent marginalising of biological objectives was countered in the twentieth century by the rise of ‘Paläobiologie’, first in the German cultural area and only later, as ‘paleobiology’, in the anglophone ...

Making Heredity Matter: Samuel Butler’s Idea of Unconscious Memory

Butler’s idea of evolution was developed over the publication of four books, several articles and essays between 1863 and 1890. These publications, although never achieving the success expected by Butler, proposed a psychological elaboration of evolution (robustly enforced by Lamarck’s philosophy), called ‘unconscious memory’. This was strongly in contrast with the materialistic ...

The Sparrow Question: Social and Scientific Accord in Britain, 1850–1900

During the latter-half of the nineteenth century, the utility of the house sparrow (Passer domesticus) to humankind was a contentious topic. In Britain, numerous actors from various backgrounds including natural history, acclimatisation, agriculture and economic ornithology converged on the bird, as contemporaries sought to calculate its economic cost and benefit to growers. ...

Conservation Compromises: The MAB and the Legacy of the International Biological Program, 1964–1974

This article looks at the International Biological Program (IBP) as the predecessor of UNESCO’s well-known and highly successful Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB). It argues that international conservation efforts of the 1970s, such as the MAB, must in fact be understood as a compound of two opposing attempts to reform international conservation in the 1960s. The scientific ...

‘Tipping the Balance’: Karl Friedrich Meyer, Latent Infections, and the Birth of Modern Ideas of Disease Ecology

The Swiss-born medical researcher Karl Friedrich Meyer (1884–1974) is best known as a ‘microbe hunter’ who pioneered investigations into diseases at the intersection of animal and human health in California in the 1920s and 1930s. In particular, historians have singled out Meyer’s 1931 Ludwig Hektoen Lecture in which he described the animal kingdom as a ‘reservoir of disease’ as a ...

Neptunism and Transformism: Robert Jameson and other Evolutionary Theorists in Early Nineteenth-Century Scotland

This paper sheds new light on the prevalence of evolutionary ideas in Scotland in the early nineteenth century and establish what connections existed between the espousal of evolutionary theories and adherence to the directional history of the earth proposed by Abraham Gottlob Werner and his Scottish disciples. A possible connection between Wernerian geology and theories of the ...

Patterns of Infection and Patterns of Evolution: How a Malaria Parasite Brought “Monkeys and Man” Closer Together in the 1960s

In 1960, American parasitologist Don Eyles was unexpectedly infected with a malariaparasite isolated from a macaque. He and his supervisor, G. Robert Coatney of the National Institutes of Health, had started this series of experiments with the assumption that humans were not susceptible to “monkey malaria.” The revelation that a mosquito carrying a macaque parasite could infect a ...

Suppressing Synonymy with a Homonym: The Emergence of the Nomenclatural Type Concept in Nineteenth Century Natural History

‘Type’ in biology is a polysemous term. In a landmark article, Paul Farber (Journal of the History of Biology 9(1): 93–119, 1976) argued that this deceptively plain term had acquired three different meanings in early nineteenth century natural history alone. ‘Type’ was used in relation to three distinct type concepts, each of them associated with a different set of practices. ...

Mendelian-Mutationism: The Forgotten Evolutionary Synthesis

According to a classical narrative, early geneticists, failing to see how Mendelism provides the missing pieces of Darwin’s theory, rejected gradual changes and advocated an implausible yet briefly popular view of evolution-by-mutation; after decades of delay (in which synthesis was prevented by personal conflicts, disciplinary rivalries, and anti-Darwinian animus), Darwinism ...

The Spatial Turn: Geographical Approaches in the History of Science

Over the past decade or so a number of historians of science and historical geographers, alert to the situated nature of scientific knowledge production and reception and to the migratory patterns of science on the move, have called for more explicit treatment of the geographies of past scientific knowledge. Closely linked to work in the sociology of scientific knowledge and ...

The Last Month of Szent-Györgyi in Groningen

Albert (von) Szent-Györgyi started his studies on biological oxidation processes – which also resulted in the discovery of vitamin C, for which he received the Nobel Price in 1937 – in the Laboratory of Physiology of the University in Groningen in 1922–1926. These studies were later continued in Cambridge (UK) and Szeged (Hungary). When he had already received the invitation as ...

Kristine Bonnevie, Tine Tammes and Elisabeth Schiemann in Early Genetics: Emerging Chances for a University Career for Women

The beginning of the twentieth century saw the emergence of the discipline of genetics. It is striking how many female scientists were contributing to this new field at the time. At least three female pioneers succeeded in becoming professors: Kristine Bonnevie (Norway), Elisabeth Schiemann (Germany) and the Tine Tammes (The Netherlands). The question is which factors contributed ...