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Questions tagged [biology]

For questions relating to the study of life and life-related processes

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When was extreme longevity of some species first suspected?

Although myths of extreme age in heroes and even ordinary humans seemed to have been common, it is only fairly recently that lifespans of centuries for Greenland sharks and Bowhead whales has been ...
releseabe's user avatar
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5 votes
1 answer
381 views

The contribution of Rosalind Franklin to the Watson–Crick structure of DNA

In 1953, in a letter to the journal Nature, Watson and Crick proposed a structure for DNA — generally referred to as “The Double Helix”. In a full article published the following year, they wrote: “...
David's user avatar
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How did de Jussieu or Linnaeus practically manage the organization of plants?

In 18th century botany, how did taxonomists such as Carl Linnaeus (Sweden) and Antoine-Laurent de Jussieu (France) manage to practically organize such a large number of plant species? For example, ...
Sam Gallagher's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
89 views

What was the first human gene sequenced/annotated?

The Human Genome Project was famously declared complete in 2003, and to date there are 6000 genes discovered/annotated. What was the first one discovered and annotated?
imrobert's user avatar
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1 answer
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When did they start requiring holotypes for species description?

I know they weren't required in the early 1800s but obviously they are now so just wondering when this started being required and/or who coined holotype. Internet research yielded no good answers.
imrobert's user avatar
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1 answer
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When was Kelvin's vitalism rejected in physics?

In 1851, in one of the most famous publications in the history of thermodynamics, On the Dynamical Theory of Heat, with numerical remits deduced from Mr JOULE'S equivalent of a Thermal Unit. etc., ...
hyportnex's user avatar
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0 answers
47 views

History on ancient thoughts regarding bones and blood

I heard a story about how ancient people believed that fathers contributed to the white things in a child (bones), while mothers contributed the red matter (blood). However, I found no reference ...
phk's user avatar
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Fossil evidence of common ancestor to Great Apes and Humans

Where can I find documentation of fossil findings about ancient human anscestors, even down to the point of believed divergence between great apes and humans? I heard a skeleton has been found earlier ...
Fraser's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
102 views

How sensitive was the frog galvanoscope?

Frog galvanoscope is an instrument for detecting small voltages, made of a frog's leg. Wikipedia notes: The instrument is capable of detecting extremely small voltages, and could far surpass other ...
jpa's user avatar
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0 answers
50 views

Semmelweis had no explanation?

That Semmelweis noticed a huge drop in mortality among new mothers simply by having doctors wash their hands between patients. But according to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ignaz_Semmelweis he did ...
releseabe's user avatar
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2 votes
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188 views

Who was the first to understand that there is not a net flux of energy between Sun and Earth, but of entropy?

According to Penrose's Cycles of Time, he starts by reminding the usefulness of the second law of thermodynamics and how it applies to everyday life. In particular, how the net energy of Earth is a ...
Mauricio's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
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Why did systems theory never gain popularity?

Briefly from wikipedia, Systems theory is the interdisciplinary study of systems, i.e. cohesive groups of interrelated, interdependent components that can be natural or human-made. Every system has ...
Babu's user avatar
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1 answer
367 views

Were scientific discoveries ever inspired by art?

We can often see art that is influenced by science, be it in paintings, music, novels or movies. But has any idea from the arts ever influenced a scientist to come up with a new discovery or idea?
Brain Stroke Patient's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
436 views

When Kervran suggested biological transmutation of elements did anyone argue this

My understanding is that Kervran fed chickens a diet lacking in calcium and yet eggs were produced with calcium in their shells. Two related questions: Could not the calcium have been from the bones ...
releseabe's user avatar
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117 views

Did Kary Mullis actually invent PCR as he claimed?

I remember learning that the inventor of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was Kary Mullis, who was awarded the Nobel prize in chemistry in 1993. I recently learned that there is some controversy about ...
Mr X's user avatar
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1 answer
75 views

When was the first electron microscope image of a roundish or geometrical (e.g. icospiked virus particle produced?

The first TEM image of a human coronavirus was in 1967 but both images of virus particles and Transmission Electron Microscopy were around long before that. What molecule's models might Linus ...
uhoh's user avatar
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1 vote
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What is Aristotle's view on Plant generation?

I am new to Aristotle study, In Book 1 of Generation of Aristotle give his view on plant generation, In Book 1.1 Aristotle writes " But all those creatures which do not move, as the Testacea and ...
Abhishek Yadav's user avatar
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What date is assigned to Hippocratic treatises "On Generation" and "On the Nature of the Child"?

On the nature of the Child is quoted by Galen in his Book "On Semen". I want to know what date is given to these two books, especially "On Generation"?
Abhishek Yadav's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
644 views

What is "female seed" in Galen's work?

On the last page (page 84) of Anthony Preus's paper$^\star$ on Galen's criticism of Aristotle's Conception Theory, the author writes that Galen discussing the second book of "On Seed", which ...
Abhishek Yadav's user avatar
3 votes
0 answers
43 views

What alternative theories of learning were there before classical and operant conditioning?

The two main forms of (animal) learning are operant conditioning and classical conditioning, both established only in the 20th century. However, before they were established, surely there have been ...
MaudPieTheRocktorate's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
139 views

Books on history of biochemistry

I am looking for books on the history of biochemistry. Searching online there are some short articles that can be found, which just mention a few highlights, but I haven't really found more ...
AlexM's user avatar
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6 votes
1 answer
130 views

When were cephalopods assigned to the taxonomic phylum Mollusca?

I am fascinated to read about the evolution of cephalopod intelligence while I understand why cephalopods are mollusks (e.g., https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cephalopod), but I cannot easily find when ...
James Goetz's user avatar
5 votes
2 answers
211 views

What was the basis for Crick's proposal of the central dogma of molecular biology?

In 1957 Crick propounded the central dogma of molecular biology: The Central Dogma. This states that once "information" has passed into protein it cannot get out again. In more detail, the ...
Deschele Schilder's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
94 views

What were Gregor Mendel's and Darwin's views on evolution?

Mendel's laws (like the laws of segregation or inheritance) became known to a wider publis decades after he discovered these laws. He assumed trait particles in operation that were responible for his ...
Deschele Schilder's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
156 views

"Stone of Folly" based on maybe finding and removing brain tumors?

There is a famous painting by Hieronymus Bosch in which someone is being operated on to remove the "stone of folly". Detail from Hieronymus Bosch's painting titled "Extraction of the ...
releseabe's user avatar
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2 votes
2 answers
94 views

History of Mathematical Biology - Resource Recommendations

Biology nowadays is filled with mathematics. Indeed, the field of mathematical biology is huge, and shows no sign of decay. But the mathematisation of biology is, to my knowledge, a recent phenomenon -...
Rain's user avatar
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0 answers
38 views

What were the original techniques used to study CAM (Crassulacean acid metabolism) plants? Who first employed these methods?

In biology and botany, there is extensive research concerning the nature of different plant types and their methods of respiration and nutrient intake. How were CAM (Crassulacean Acid Metabolism) ...
Nachiket Kulkarni's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
1k views

Who identified the four basic types of animal tissue?

It is stated in innumerous introductory histology texts that there are four basic types of tissue - epithelial, connective, muscular, and nervous. I have never come across one that provides a ...
Catan97's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
90 views

What was considered Evolutionary Science or Biology proper in 1880-1890 in the US?

I have a question that is more related to the history of evolutionary biology rather than the science itself, namely I am interested in knowing what might have been considered the 'orthodoxy' of the ...
user42582's user avatar
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6 votes
1 answer
1k views

Natura non facit saltus (nature does not make jumps), who said that?

The sentence is Latin for nature doesn't make jumps. It refers to the fact that, in most physical processes, quantities vary continuously. The principle was used by Leibniz, Kant and Darwin among ...
lcv's user avatar
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6 votes
1 answer
189 views

How did Jenner and his contemporaries understand vaccination before germ theory of disease?

Edward Jenner was a British doctor in the 18th century who in 1798 developed "vaccination," that is exposing humans to cow pox in order to prevent them from acquiring small pox. Vaccination was ...
seeker_after_truth's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
785 views

Why did Linnaeus equate the phoenix, the mythical bird, with Phoenix, a palm genus?

I've been reading about the "paradoxa" section of Carl Linnaeus's Systema Naturae, where he debunk some of the more far fetched ideas about animals. Wikipedia includes this translation of what ...
Jetpack's user avatar
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4 votes
1 answer
1k views

When did the idea of thoughts occuring in the human head originate?

The early reference to the brain is found in Edwin Smith Papyrus The Edwin Smith Papyrus, an ancient Egyptian medical treatise written in the 17th century BC, contains the earliest recorded ...
hanugm's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
399 views

Did Darwin say that the human menstrual cycle length was influenced by the tides?

According to this article from the BBC's Science Focus Charles Darwin thought that the 28-day human menstrual cycle was evidence that our ancestors lived on the seashore and needed to ...
Josh Friedlander's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
263 views

What did Kaspar contribute to the gene therapy for spinal muscular atrophy?

I've read on KEI website that in the early 2000s Dr Martine Barkats, from France, successfuly treated mice with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) with an AAV9 viral vector; and that Dr Brian Kaspar, an ...
Hinko Pih Pih's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
150 views

Was Lord Kelvin at any point a proponent of vitalism?

Vitalism is the notion now discredited as pseudoscientific that there is some fundamental cleavage between living and non-living matter. This blog post contains some quotes that suggest Lord Kelvin ...
Martin C.'s user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
409 views

When and why was the symbol $w$ introduced for biological fitness?

$w$ the visually similar $\omega$ are often used to represent biological fitness in population genetics models. (Sometimes $W$ is used for absolute fitness, and $w$ for relative fitness.) These ...
Mars's user avatar
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2 votes
2 answers
651 views

What did scientists think was the function of breathing before the discovery of atmospheric gases?

Before we knew about gases in the atmosphere, what did scientists think was the function of breathing?
Ronald Lavine's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
422 views

How did Quetelet discover that the body mass is proportional to the squared height?

The Body Mass Index (BMI) compares body masses on the assumption they scale with height squared, not cubed, an example of allometry. BMI is due to Lambert Quetelet. Why did he settle on this power law?...
J.G.'s user avatar
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4 votes
1 answer
446 views

Who coined the term "immune system"?

Who coined the term "immune system"? The OED lists the following as its earliest example of the term "immune system": 1943 Science 30 Apr. 406/1Complement..is removed by the addition of an ...
Geremia's user avatar
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0 votes
0 answers
46 views

Coverage of a topic by scientific research through time

I'm interesting of how scientific research covers a specific topic in a time. Scientific field: biology, cellulosic ethanol production Like: ...
Evgeniy's user avatar
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7 votes
3 answers
303 views

Why didn't Mendel's experiments draw attention until the 20th century?

In The Gene: An Intimate History, author concludes the Mendel's pea experiments publication by these words: Mendel himself requested forty reprints, which he mailed, heavily annotated, to many ...
Failed Scientist's user avatar
8 votes
3 answers
259 views

What were the early uses of differential equations for modeling chemical reactions?

What are some of the original examples of uses of differential equations for modeling and analyzing chemical reactions, particularly those relevant to biochemistry, involving proteins and enzymes? ...
user7496's user avatar
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14 votes
6 answers
709 views

Has science fiction ever caused scientists to do real research?

Has science fiction ever caused scientists to do real research? Science fiction here means fiction that tries to explain things in the world rather than speculate about the future or unexplorable ...
rus9384's user avatar
  • 303
9 votes
4 answers
3k views

When did people realize that the eye was a lens?

All in the title: When did scientists realize that our eye functions like a lens/magnifying glass?
EigenDavid's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
766 views

Woman who contributed to Watson & Crick's discovery of the double-helical structure of DNA

I learned in school that Watson and Crick discovered DNA, but in fact DNA was discovered many years before, and it turns out that it was the structure of DNA that Watson and Crick discovered (or ...
Pro Q's user avatar
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5 votes
1 answer
381 views

Was it a major cultural event when Van Leeuwenhoek discovered unseen animals under the microscope?

In the 17e century van Leeuwenhoek discovered with his microscope new kind of animals and cells. How was this discovery of van Leeuwenhoek received by the ordinary people when there seemed to be more ...
Marijn 's user avatar
  • 383
2 votes
1 answer
157 views

Who used "Tabellenstatistik" as a derogatory term in the history of biogeography?

I recently read the book "The secular ark" by Janet Browne on the history of plant geographical studies. In the chapter "A Science of Patterns", a subsection entitled "Tabellenstatistik" is included, ...
openmedi's user avatar
  • 201
7 votes
1 answer
228 views

How was Mendel's work rediscovered after being forgotten for 45 years?

According to Melanie Mitchell's book, Complexity: A Guided Tour [PDF], Mendel's model [...] was published in a rather obscure journal and was not appreciated as being of great importance until 1900, ...
Ooker's user avatar
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0 votes
3 answers
123 views

Has Alphonse Pyramus de Candolle's "Géographie botanique raisonnée" ever been translated into German or English?

Alphones Pyramus de Candolle (1806-1893), the son of Augustin-Pyrame de Candolle (1778-1841), has been an important figure (as was his father) in the development of plant geography. The younger ...
openmedi's user avatar
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