Questions relating to how the field of biology has developed over time.

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4
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1answer
136 views

What were the camels' humps good for back in the polar areas?

I've heard that camels lived in the North America formerly and just in the last few thousands years they've migrated to the hot deserts. Thus they allegedly utilized the adaptations against the cold ...
6
votes
2answers
11k views

Why was the Davson-Danielli model rejected?

According to my textbook, Davson-Danielli's model of a phospholipid bilayer sandwiched between two layers of globular protein was incorrect. The nonpolar protein portions would separate the polar ...
11
votes
1answer
997 views

Darwin's first sketch of a phylogenetic tree

Coming from Darwin's notebook this first sketch of a phylogenetic tree became one of the most emblematic image from Darwin's work. I have a hard time to read what is written on it. What is written ...
4
votes
2answers
47 views

Books about famous experiments in biology - 'methods of investigation'

I'll explain briefly what I need (hoping to find something) : I wanted to know if someone knew about a book that in a way or another talked about the greatest experiments in biology (Griffith, Avery-...
0
votes
0answers
13 views

What did William Harvey discover from experimenting with deer?

On his wikipedia page, I read the following: In particular, Charles' hunting expeditions gave Harvey access to many deer carcasses; it was upon them that Harvey made many observations and ...
3
votes
1answer
19 views

What is the Cordil that Edward Topsell describes?

In his "History of four-footed beasts and serpents", Edward Topsell describes a "serpent" called Cordil. Since he lists everything that crawls on the ground as a serpent, regardless of being a reptile,...
17
votes
3answers
1k views

Impact of Alan Turing's approach to morphogenesis

Shortly before his untimely passing, the computing pioneer Alan Turing published his most cited paper The Chemical Basis of Morphogenesis (1952). The central question for Turing was: how does a ...
5
votes
1answer
215 views

Was Darwin aware of the difficulties behind the concept of species?

Introduction The concept of species is a very old concept that suffers from not being a natural category. There exists no single definition that would categorize living beings into groups and that ...
4
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0answers
48 views

'Obviously True' Statements that turned out to be false? [closed]

As someone who studies mathematics, there are plenty of examples by which some theorem that was considered as "obviously" true later turned out to be completely false. I was discussing this with my ...
2
votes
1answer
61 views

First life forms to evolve controlled flight

What was the first living organism able to fly in the skies and control their direction , not just Aeroplankton like bacteria and viruses carried by the winds but something like an winged insect or ...
8
votes
1answer
71 views

Original paper about the all or none law for neurons

I am looking for the original paper about the all or none law for neural activity. I know that there is a very old article about the all or none law for mammalian heart muscle fibers, but I'm ...
1
vote
0answers
45 views

PEth test blood and incidental exposure [closed]

Is PEth level 37 high from a blood test. Incidental exposure possible ?.
1
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0answers
28 views

How Did They Know What To Do ? And Cellular Identification [closed]

So this is regarding Science, generally, it has influence throughout each section science. How did the early age Scientists etc. knew what is to be done to achieve a certain thing ? And by that, I ...
10
votes
1answer
348 views

Restriction enzymes, how are the recognition sequences determined?

How were the recognition sequences (e.g. GAATTC of EcoRI, GGATCC of BamHI) characterised? Text books only list the recognition ...
12
votes
2answers
314 views

Did Darwin ever reach the conclusion that selection will remove variation?

According to simple models of selection the genetic variance in a population should be reduced by selection. (Fisher's fundamental theorem states that the rate at which a population can evolve is ...
10
votes
2answers
7k views

Why are the Galápagos islands so special?

Why did Darwin formulate his theory of evolution just after his visit to the Galápagos islands? Why were they so special from an evolutionary point of view?
1
vote
1answer
97 views

Why are plant buds called 'eyes'? [closed]

I was reading the etymology of the Latinate English verb 'inoculate' which contains the following part that generated the question entitled above: [...] inoculare "graft in, implant a bud or eye ...
1
vote
1answer
38 views

Who and when was the first human diagnosed with hemophilia, or considered a carrier?

The earliest case I can find is Queen Victoria of England, who ruled from 1837-1901. Is this the first hemophilia case on record?
8
votes
2answers
215 views

How was the resemblance between apes and humans explained in pre-Darwinian biology?

Humans and apes have somewhat obvious similarities, these must have been apparent to natural philosophers before the possibility of a common ancestry was first proposed in the mid-1800's. These ...
18
votes
2answers
834 views

Why should a tumor look like a crab?

Origin of the word "cancer" The disease was first called cancer by Greek physician Hippocrates (460-370 BC). He is considered the “Father of Medicine”. Hippocrates used the terms carcinos and ...
7
votes
2answers
5k views

What did we learn with Nazi human experimentation?

Was there actually any useful knowledge gained from the Nazi experiments on human test subjects? Wikipedia cites freezing and phosphine gas reactions, but I would like to know other potential results ...
2
votes
0answers
37 views

Rushed publications based on flawed data

In 2014 BICEP2 made a very controversial press release. It was rushed, given before any papers where published, because they feared they would be scooped by another similar experiment. In the end it ...
6
votes
1answer
113 views

Who are these biologists?

I know the third one in the front row is James Watson. Does anyone recognize the others?
4
votes
1answer
55 views

What was Protein G named after?

Protein G (the bacterial antibody binding protein) is often used to pulldown antibodies, for example in chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) experiments. However, I was unable to find a site ...
2
votes
1answer
51 views

Who was the first to coin the terms of soft and hard selection?

Soft and hard selection are sometimes used with different definitions. I have been told that at first place hard and soft selection has been defined in the following way: soft selection: Each deme ...
4
votes
1answer
73 views

History: Do evolutionary and ecological processes occur at the same timescales?

Classically, it was thought that evolutionary processes occurred at a much slower pace than demographic/ecological processes. Nobody, ever thought about incorporating both processes into the same ...
5
votes
1answer
209 views

When did mouth pipetting stop becoming a way to handle liquids in a lab?

Almost all modern lab protocols have an addendum prohibiting pipetting by mouth, instead mandating that a Gilson pipette, a rubber pipette ball, or a serological Pipet-Aid be used. However, it was ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

Why are the sex chromosomes called X and Y?

Is there a specific reason that the letter Y is used as the symbol for the male chromosome and X is used for the female chromosome?
8
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2answers
2k views

How many species did Carl Linnaeus classify?

How many species did Carl Linnaeus (senior) classify?
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1answer
83 views

History: Building a “Phylogenetic network” of famous evolutionary biologists [closed]

Seems like many of the famous evolutionary biologists are somehow related to each others. For example (and I might be mistaken), Ronald A. Fisher was mentored by a descendent of Charles Darwin. Joe ...
7
votes
2answers
167 views

Do we have fundamental conflict in biology?

As saying "fundamental conflict", I mean something like two (or more) widely accepted results from different areas (or scales) can not exist logically together. In physics, there have been three ...
3
votes
1answer
158 views

Before Evolution was proposed by Charles Darwin, what were the leading secular theories to explain how life developed? [closed]

Outside of evolution, what were the leading scientific schools of thought that Charles Darwin contented with when he published his evolution theory as way of natural selection in 1859?
1
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0answers
15 views

What are phenetic analyses used for?

Phenetics (grouping of organisms based on similarity) used to be claimed to be an alternative to cladistics, but now it is widely accepted that phenetic analyses cannot be used to infer evolutionary ...
5
votes
1answer
253 views

Why is E.coli used as a model?

Is there a reason for the choice of E.coli as a model for many bacterial systems? Other bacteria such as B.subtilis are also used, but why is E. coli preferred?
1
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0answers
147 views

First documented beneficial mutation?

I've been reading up on beneficial mutations, and am curious when we discovered and documented the first one. Can anyone point me to the first documented beneficial mutation? Per request, let me ...
1
vote
1answer
35 views

DNA Fingerprint

I recently came across an article indicating that the half life of DNA in the most ideal situations is 521 years (http://www.nature.com/news/dna-has-a-521-year-half-life-1.11555). However, since human'...
3
votes
2answers
355 views

19th century Latin species description

While reading a 19th century text of new species description, I'm confused by some Latin phrases. The case here is: Corp. long. 8 poll., caud. 9 poll. I guess 'corp.' and 'long.' are ...
6
votes
2answers
206 views

Which species were first described by Charles Darwin?

There are many plants and animals named for the naturalist Charles Darwin, such as Darwin's Frog (Rhinoderma darwinii), but which were named by him? I'm finding it difficult to find such a list.
9
votes
1answer
1k views

Did the eugenics program in Nazi Germany have a measurable effect? [closed]

Did the killing or sterilisation of people considered as living a "life unworthy of life" in Nazi Germany have any measurable effect on the "average health" of Germany? Is there any statistical ...
2
votes
1answer
102 views

How was Restriction Site of EcoRI sequenced?

The sequence of restriction site of EcoRI - GAATTC was identified in the early 1970s, before Sanger Sequencing was invented.(1977) How was the restriction site of EcoRI sequenced ?
3
votes
2answers
890 views

How was the Huntington's disease gene's location found?

I read in the book "Why we get sick." by Nesse and Williams that: Steady detective work and fabulous luck have enabled geneticists to pinpoint the Huntington's gene on the short arm of ...
2
votes
1answer
180 views

What is the full name of E. G. Gray?

E. G. Gray is Neuro scientist who found and described first the two major morphologically defined synapse types (Gray Type I (asymmetric) and II (symmetric)) in his work E G Gray (Oct. 1959). “Axo-...
14
votes
1answer
1k views

What did Richard Feynman contribute to molecular biology?

Some time ago, I read James Gleick's "Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman", a wonderful biography of Feynman and, by extension, most of modern physics. In this book, the author mentions ...
4
votes
2answers
99 views

Is there a standard reference for the importance of tumor heterogeneity?

In a recent post, Philip Gerlee highlighted the two biggest contributions of mathematical oncology to cancer research: (1) increasing focus on the progress of cancer as an evolutionary process, and (2)...
4
votes
1answer
303 views

Why apes started to contemplate and become altruistic? [closed]

I was asking this first on philosophy forums, but it is suggested, that answer could be found from evolutionary view of point, so here we go: Again my question raised when thinking of myths, their ...
12
votes
10answers
1k views

A good book for history of biology/biotechnology for lay people

I have many friends who are interested in Biology and want to know more about the subject in general (like a history of biology, from Darwin's theory, to DNA structure discovery, to the human genome ...
3
votes
1answer
52 views

When was it determined that Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune disease?

I just found out today that type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease. When was this discovered?
1
vote
1answer
21 views

Cancer history on environment-cancer relationship

I am interested to know how environment-cancer relationship knowledge has developed. I know that all began when Muller first proved that mutation could be induced via ionizing radiation, X rays in the ...
4
votes
1answer
81 views

Who was the first to talk about evolvability?

"Evolvability is the capacity of a system for adaptive evolution." (source) There are several other definitions though: Who was the first person to use the word "evolvability"? Who was the first to ...
3
votes
1answer
414 views

When was the purpose of bone marrow discovered?

I'm currently reading William Cheselden's book Osteographia or The Anatomy of the Bones, which was published in 1733 (for the pretty pictures, naturally; not up to date anatomy). When he addresses the ...