Today in Science History: Natural History

from Today in Science History:

Georges Cuvier was born in 1769

(Baron) French zoologist and statesman, who established the sciences of comparative anatomy and paleontology.

Philip Henry Gosse died in 1888

English popular science writer and naturalist who wrote books illustrating such topics as Jamaican wildlife and marine zoology. Stephen Jay Gould called Gosse the David Attenborough of his day.” However, he did not accept the theory of evolution, and in his best-known book, Omphalos [pdf], he attempted to apply biblical literalism in a way still consistent with uniformitarianism. His premise in the book was criticized by both sides of the debate. He invented the institutional aquarium when on 21 May 1853, he opened the Aquatic Vivarium, the world’s first public aquarium in Regent’s Park, London.

Alexander Wilson died in 1813

Scottish-born ornithologist and poet who left his homeland in 1794, aged 27, in search of a better life in America. Naturalist William Bartram sparked his interest in birds. By 1802, Wilson had resolved to author a book illustrating every North American bird. He travelled extensively to make paintings of the birds he observed. This pioneering work on North American birds grew to nine volumes of American Ornithology, published between 1808 and 1814, with illustrations of 268 species, of which 26 were new. As a founder of American ornithology he became one of the leading naturalists who also made the first census of breeding birds, corrected errors of taxonomy, and may have inspired Audubon‘s later work when they met in 1810.

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