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Evolution Before Darwin

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  1. Evolution Before Darwin

  2. Ancient Cultures • Basic knowledge of animals since early times • Ancient cultures had a practical knowledge of nature • Essential for their hunting and fishing activities • Naming of species; knowledge on behavior and natural history • Knowledge of edible, medicinal, and pharmacological plants • Knowledge of names and structures

  3. Consequences • Domestication of plants and animals • Selective breeding • Use of mutants to alter crops and herds • Practice of artificial selection

  4. Intellectual Environments Among Ancient Human Cultures • Most gave a bad environment for the development of new ideas • Animistic: Egyptians, Babylonians, Sumerians, African tribes, Buddhism, and Amerindians • Monotheistic: Judaism, Christianity, and Islamism: beliefs gravitate around a specific book or dogma

  5. The Greek World

  6. Hellenistic Culture • Produced scientific writings for the sake of it • Did not believe in a single god, revealed truth, nor dogmatic book • There was a free flow of ideas, even contradictory (nobody felt threatened)

  7. The First Generation (ca. 600-550 BCE) • Influenced by Eastern cultures • Creation of the world is the product of the forces of nature • There was no design. What takes place is the result of necessity • Rejection of supranatural explanations in favor of materialistic ones • The world is eternal (timeless)

  8. They had a natural history tradition • They departed heavily from centuries of mythological explanations • A fresh start by looking at the world as it presented itself • Greek colonies became lively centers for a scientific attitude • “Everything in the world came from a single, original substance”

  9. Thales of Miletus(Asia Minor, 625-547 BCE) • Tried to give a purely natural explanation of the world's origin • Water was the first principle or original substance • Explanation for fossils of marine animals in inland

  10. Anaximander of Miletus(ca. 610-546 BCE) • Moisture (water) gave raised to the first animals in the sea • These, in turn, conquered the land • Believed in spontaneous generation

  11. Empedocles(Sicily, ca. 492; Greece, 432 BCE) • Animal and plant body parts originated in water • Things attached together or they die and produce monstrosities • Everything in nature was composed by four elements: fire, air, water, and earth, and two forces: love and hate

  12. Anaxagoras (Asia Minor, b. ca. 500; d. 428 BCE) • Attributed adaptations in nature to a deliberate plan • Believed that the Universe had always existed • The origin of plants and animals is in germs in the air and ether

  13. The Second Generation (ca. 550-400 BCE) • Belief in the inheritance of acquired characters • The principle of use and disuse • Spontaneous generation

  14. Pythagoras(Samos, 582; Sicily, 497 BCE) • Much emphasis on the study of nature on number and quantities • Nature preserves the fit and discards the unfit

  15. Heraclitus(Asia Minor, ca. 540; ca. 475 BCE) • Everything derives from fire and fire will destroy the universe • “This universe, which is the same for all, has not been made by any god or man, but it always has been, is, and will be, an ever-living fire, kindling itself by regular measures and going out by regular measures” • In nature there is change “everything is in flux”

  16. Alcmaeon (Italian Peninsula, ca. 520 BCE) • Dissected animals for the first time • Brain, not the heart, was the seat of senses and the center of intellect • Demonstrated how arteries were to be distinguished from veins • Discovered the optic nerve • Gave an explanation for the origin of the semen

  17. Hippocrates (Greece, ca. 460 - 370 BCE) • Based his ideas on observation and empirical approaches • Established a relationship between humans and the environment • Theory pangenesis (tiny particle called gemmules or pangenes are given off by every part of the adult body)

  18. The Third Generation(469-322 BCE) • Epitomized by Socrates, Plato and Aristotle • They all lived in Athens • Conflicts between Idealism to the value of observation

  19. Plato (Athens, ca. 427 - 347 BCE) • Founder of Academia • Founder of Idealism • Idealism: Whatever exists is known to man in dimensions that are chiefly mental • No spontaneous generation • Creation by supranatural powers • No true knowledge can be acquired through observation

  20. Aristotle (Macedonia, 384; Euboea, 322 BCE) • Teacher of Alexander the Great • Founder of the Lyceum • Peripatetic school • Knowledge from direct observation • “Although I loved my teacher Plato greatly, I love the truth more”

  21. Aristotle’s Contributions • Observed and dissected animals • Founder of the comparative method • Distinguished between homology and analogy • Distinguished different biological disciplines • Advanced the Scala Naturae or ladder of nature: “Nature passes from inanimate objects through plants to animals in an unbroken sequence” • Formalized species and genus • Classified animals • Recognized cetaceans as a natural group

  22. Humans • Other mammals • Whales • Oviparous (egg laying) vertebrates • Birds • Amphibians and reptiles (but see snakes below) • Snakes • Fish • Invertebrates (without red blood) • Cephalopods • Crustacea • Insects, spiders • Other mollusks, echinoderms • Sponges, etc.

  23. The world of perceived things is the real world • Avid collector of empirical evidence • All structure and biological activities have a biological meaning (adaptive significance) • The first asking the why-questions • Believed in the inheritance of acquired characters • Species were unchanging, fixed, eternal (neither created nor vanished) • The founder of teleology: doctrine or purposiveness

  24. From Greece to Rome • There was a decline of the Greek city-states and the emergence of the larger Hellenistic zone, from the 4th. to the 3rd. centuries BCE • Rome started to expand at the beginning of the third century BCE • It became the established commercial power in northern Africa, and the defeat of Carthage, Syria, Macedonia, Greece, and Egypt, made them the masters of the Mediterranean world by the mid second century BCE

  25. Titus Lucretius Carus (Roman, 99-55 BCE) • Species were fixed • Gods pay no attention whatsoever to human beings • Preferred explanations on evolution related to selection than to teleology • Proposed the “continuity of the germ plasm” composed of unaltered particles passing down through the generations (a form of pangenesis) • The existence of these particles explained how characters and traits of the more distance ancestors could reappear, after the had been hidden for a generation or so • Rejected the inheritance of acquired characters

  26. Pliny the Elder(Como, 23; Vesuvius, 79 CE) • Uncritical compiler • 37-volume Historia Naturalis • Cited the sources • Marine mammals were “fish” • Great influence for 1700 years

  27. Lucius Caelius Lactantius(Roman b. Africa, 260-340 CE) • Demolished all previous rational thoughts • Used Christian beliefs to explain everything • Settled species as designed by God • Believed earth was flat

  28. The End of Bright Times • The replacement of Greek philosophies by Christian beliefs • The burn of the Alexandria's library in 390 CE • Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire • In 529 CE, Junian I closed all Greek philosophical schools because of their pagan character • The origin of the animals and plants was being traced back to the creation of the world as described in the book of Genesis

  29. Medieval Times (ca. 500-1450) • It developed in closed conjunction with Christian thought • Christian theology is dominated by the concept of creation • All the knowledge is in the “revealed” book • No why-questions • Nature was subservient of man • Natural theology: God exists because of the order and harmony of the world which requires an intelligent being

  30. Knowledge kept by Muslims and Jews scholars and Christian monks • Rise of Scholasticism (11th. Century) • It meant lack of freedom of thought • Truth determined by logic, not observation • Blind faith in the ‘Authorities’ • Little intellectual progress until the 12th. Century

  31. Saint Augustine, Bishop of Hippo(Italian Peninsula, 354-430 CE) • God gave nature the characteristics, the power of creating things • Believed in spontaneous generation • The successive appearance of lower species • Some species might not have been in Noah's ark • Between the 5th. and the 12th. all western knowledge was kept in monasteries

  32. Albertus Magnus([Germany], 1193-1280) • Opera Omnia • Believed in spontaneous generation, the inherited of acquired characters, and pangenesis

  33. Roger Bacon(England, ca.1220-ca. 1292) • Opus Majus • Popularized the term “experimental science” • The incompleteness of our knowledge • Mankind acquires knowledge by reasoning and experience • He believed in spontaneous generation

  34. The First Universities • Paris (1150, 1170) • Oxford (1168) • Teaching by lecture and disputation • Development of Natural Theology

  35. The Renaissance (1450-1650) • Began in Italy (Medicis 1450) • The compass (1125) • Paper making (1150) • The “Arabic” numerals (1202) • Gunpowder (1313) • Block printing from movable types Gutenberg (1450) • Voyages of Discovery • Dissections, Dissections

  36. Meaning • This was a revolt against the reign of religion => against church => against authority => against scholasticism => against Aristotle • Examples: Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) • Francis Bacon (1561-1626) • Defended experimentalism • Believed in the “transmutation” of species • Spontaneous generation

  37. Leonardo da Vinci(Italian Peninsula, 1452-1519) • The original “Renaissance Man” • Anatomical work lost until the end of the 19th. century

  38. Encyclopedic Natural Histories • Species not mentioned in the Bible or by Aristotle • They compiled the knowledge of the time • Many times uncritically • Scientific illustration improved considerably

  39. Edward Wotton(English, 1492-1555) • Followed Aristotle in De differentiis animalium libri decem (1552) eliminating however most of the fabulous animals of Antiquity • Described the use of many animal products as medicines

  40. Guillaume Rondelet (French, 1507-1566) • Wrote an encyclopedic work on marine animals (1554-5) • Described 6 spp. of cetaceans • Crazy about dissections • Environmental classification

  41. Conrad Gessner (Switzerland, 1516-1565) • Another uncritical encyclopedist • History of Animals (1551-1558) • Many genera could be split into two or more species

  42. Pierre Belon(French, 1517-1564) • L'Histoire de la Nature des Oyseaux (1555) • He pointed out the homologies between a bird and a man's skeletons

  43. Andreas Vesalius(Belgium, 1514-1564) • De Humani corporis fabrica (1543) • Empirical method: vascular + neural + muscular system • Demoted many of Galen’s descriptions (“Galen dixit”)

  44. Ulysses Aldrovandi(Italian, 1522-1605)

  45. Modern Science (1650-1800) • Direct observation replaces scholasticism • Development of classification • Similar and differentiating characters • Center of gravity of western science moves from the Mediterranean to Northern Europe (1642)

  46. William Harvey (England, 1578-1657) • Studied at the University of Pavia • An Anatomical Study of the Motion of the Heart and of the Blood in Animals (1628) • Essays on the Generation of Animals (1651) • “Ex ovo omnia”: there is not spontaneous generation

  47. Johann Jonston(Polish, 1603-1675)

  48. Samuel Collins (1618-1685) • Walter Charleton (1620-1707) • John Ray (1627-1705) • Francis Willughby (1635-1672) • Edward Tyson (1651-1708) • Dissections and classifications

  49. John Ray (English, 1627-1705) • Established the significance of the generic principle • A leading contributor to the gigantic task of classification • From few hundred plants in the 16th. century to thousands in 1686 • Began by grouping those organisms by their biological affinities • Adaptations of plants and animals as a result of God's design