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Influence on Darwin: Contemporary Thinkers
Transcript of Influence on Darwin: Contemporary Thinkers
Contemporary Thinkers Erasmus, Malthus, Linnaeus, and Smith Thomas Malthus Carl Linnaeus Importance to Evolutionary Biology Extra Influence on Darwin Extra Big Idea His Work "Temple of Nature" Ideas of Evolution Erasmus Darwin Even though Erasmus Darwin had many intelligent achievements, he was most well known for his evolutionary work (Scott).
His Work started when the Harecastle Tunnel was being dug and fossils were found that he could not identify. After some time, Erasmus Darwin began pondering change over time in organisms (Scott).
This sparked his work on evolution where he wrote books, including "Zoonomia", about how every organism came from one "living filament" (Scott). Erasmus Darwin believed that every organism evolved from very small and simple organisms (Scott).
He noticed that the color of an animal "seem adapted" to the purpose of allowing them to stay hidden from predators and prey (Hart).
He also believed that evolution was a conscious effort of the will to pass down certain traits to the future generations (Hart). Malthus rose to fame with his "Essay on the Principle of Population of 1798" (Mayhew)
He argued that the capacity for population expansion could far outstrip increases in food production. (Mayhew)
Therefore, population could only be kept in line with food by ‘checks’ (Mayhew)
These checks included war, famine and disease. (Mayhew) Malthus helped Darwin realize the Theory of Natural Selection. (UCMP)
Darwin realized that insect and animal population must be kept in check somehow (UCMP)
This is related to Malthus theory on population and "checks" in his essay. (UCMP)
Darwin also thought Malthus's observation that in nature plants and animals produce far more offspring than can survive. (UCMP) Linnaeus created the biological classification for plants and animals, that are still used today (Waggoner).
He invented binomial Latin naming system, the only scientifically accurate way of classifying new organisms and describing old ones. (Waggoner).
Linnaeus did this by simplifying naming immensely (Wagoner).
He designated one Latin name to indicate the genus, and one as a "shorthand" name for the species (Waggoner).
In his two-volume work Species Plantarum (The Species of Plants), Linnaeus renamed the briar rose Rosa canina (Waggoner).
This binomial system rapidly became the standard system for naming species.
Zoological and most botanical taxonomic priority begin with Linnaeus (Waggoner).
Linnaeus was the first to use binomials consistently (Waggoner.)
Because of that Latin names that naturalists used before Linnaeus are not usually considered valid under the rules of nomenclature (Waggoner). The oldest plant names accepted as valid today are those found in Species Plantarum (published by Linnaeus), in 1753 (Waggoner).
The oldest animal names are those in the tenth edition of Systema Naturae (Linnaeus in1758), the first edition to use the binomial system consistently throughout (Waggoner). William Smith By:Eliana Herman, Meghna Manohar,
and Shane Parr Hence without parent by spontaneous birth
Rise the first specks of animated earth;
From Nature's womb the plant or insect swims,
And buds or breathes, with microscopic limbs.
ORGANIC LIFE beneath the shoreless waves
Was born and nurs'd in Ocean's pearly caves
First forms minute, unseen by spheric glass,
Move on the mud, or pierce the watery mass;
These, as successive generations bloom,
New powers acquire, and larger limbs assume;
Whence countless groups of vegetation spring,
And breathing realms of fin, and feet, and wing.
By Erasmus Darwin Smith's Work William Smith grew up in a time where not much was known about rock layers and fossils (Scott).
He worked as a coal miner and a cannal digger, so he was able to observe the layers and fossils (Scott).
While working in a coal mine, Smith learned to see that rocks and fossils were scientific, and he noticed that different types of fossils appeared in different layers of rocks in a predictable pattern (Scott).
While traveling around England, he confirmed his idea in many other rock formations (Scott).
One time, when he was naming rock layers for a rock formation map that he had made, he noticed a distinct divide in which only plant imprints were below, and animal fossils were above. Today, the layer below is called the Carboniferous layer, and above are the Permian and Triassic (Scott). Road to Evolution In his work, Smith found that fossils often had different characteristics in different layers of rock, with little overlap (Scott).
In other words, over time, animals change to have certain characteristics, which is the basic theory of evolution.
"In October 1838, that is, fifteen months after I had begun my systematic inquiry, I happened to read for amusement Malthus on Population, and being well prepared to appreciate the struggle for existence... Here, then I had at last got a theory by which to work".
-Charles Darwin, from his autobiography. (1876)
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/evolution/library/02/5/l_025_01.html Works Cited Mayhew, Robert J. http://www.historytoday.com/robert-j-mayhew/malthus-and-seven-billion
WGBH Educational Foundation and Clear Blue Sky Productions http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/evolution/library/02/5/l_025_01.html
Scott, Michon http://www.strangescience.net/erasmus.htm
Waggoner, Ben http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/history/linnaeus.html
Hart, Thomas E. www.victorianweb.org/science/edarwin.html
Scott, Michon http://www.strangescience.net/smith.htm What did he do