Download A Short History of Biology by Isaac Asimov PDF

By Isaac Asimov

In four hundred B.C., while Hippocrates wrote a ebook claiming that epilepsy, the “sacred disease,” was once a traditional disease and never a visitation of demons, the technological know-how if biology could be stated to have began. considering the fact that then, curious naturalists have studied animals and plans, medical professionals hae sought solutions to very functional questions. The technological know-how of biology has grown—slowly before everything, preventing and beginning back, and construction within the final century to a crescendo that has no longer but reached its peak.

This concise, authoritative e-book strains the fascinating improvement of the technology of existence, from the traditional Greeks throughout the enormous fulfillment of Charles Darwin to the explosive development of molecular biology that's leading to today’s nice breakthroughs in genetics and drugs. Written via Isaac Asimov, affiliate Professor of Biochemistry at Boston collage and writer of diverse books on technology, this can be a hugely readable, shiny advent to the historical past and ideas of biology.

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Lamarck grouped the four Linnaean classes first mals, birds, reptiles, fish) as "vertebrates," sessing an internal vertebral other two classes (insects (mam- animals pos- column, or backbone. ) it remains in popular use Lamarck recognized the classes of among insects lay- and worms to be heterogeneous grab bags. He labored over them and reduced them to better order; raising them, indeed, to the level at which they stood in Aristotle's classification and beyond. He recognized, for instance, that the eight-legged spiders could not be classified with the six-legged insects, and that lobsters could not be lumped with starfish.

Small objects were surrounded by rings of color ("chro- matic aberration") that obscured fine detail. About 1820, however, "achromatic microscopes," which did not pro- duce such rings of color, were devised. During the nine- teenth century, therefore, the microscope was able to lead the way to new and startling areas of biologic advance. CHAPTER 4 Classifying Life spontaneous Generation The made by discoveries the microscope in the mid- seventeenth century seemed to blur the distinction be- tween and nonliving matter.

He based the groups largely on the toes and teeth. For instance, he divided mammals into two large groups: those with toes and those with hoofs. ), and three-hoofed (rhinoceros). ) Ray's system of classification was not kept, but it had the interesting feature of dividing and subdividing, and was to be developed further by the Swedish natural(1707-78), usually known by the Latinized name, Carolus Linnaeus. By his time, the num- this ist, Carl von Linn^ ber of known mum of 70,000; species of living organisms stood at a mini- and Linnaeus, in 1732, traveled 4600 miles hither and yon through northern Scandinavia (certainly not a lush habitat for life) and discovered a hun- new species of plants in a short time.

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