Archive for April, 2011
Charles Darwin never mentions hemoglobin even in the sixth and last edition of The Origin of Species in 1872, even though this oxygen-carrying protein hemoglobin was discovered much earlier by Friedrich Ludwig Hünefeld in 1840. Hünefeld explains: “I have occasionally seen in almost dried blood… rectangular crystalline structures which under the microscope had sharp edges and were bright red.”
In 1851, Otto Funke published a series of articles in which he described growing hemoglobin crystals by successively diluting red blood cells with a solvent such as pure water, alcohol, or ether, followed by slow evaporation of the solvent from the resulting protein solution. Hemoglobin’s reversible oxygenation was described a few years later by Felix Hoppe-Seyler. Continue Reading
Tennessee House of Representatives, ruffling Charles Darwin’s feathers, sent tremors across the realm of public education on last week on April 7. The Representatives overwhelmingly approved HB 368, sponsored by Bill Dunn (R-District 16), a measure allowing science teachers to encourage students to “develop critical thinking skills” in the science classroom.
The key to Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution is natural selection. After working on his most famous book for more than twenty years, Darwin settled on the title – On The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection or, The Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life.
The title highlights Darwin’s key to his theory: “by Means of Natural Selection.” New species emerge “by means of natural selection.” Darwin had drawn a major victory—a mechanism for evolution: random variation sifted by natural selection. Natural selection has long been considered the natural law that drives evolution, at least in evolution circles. For Darwin, “extinction and natural selection go hand-in-hand.” Continue Reading
Swedish botanist, physician, and zoologist, Carl Linnaeus (1707 – 1778), founded the scheme of naming and classifying plants and animals with a genus and species name. This is known as binomial nomenclature. Linnaeus is known as the father of modern taxonomy. Linnaeus is also considered one of the fathers of modern ecology.
Linnaeus ranked as a legend even with his contemporaries. Swiss philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau sent him the message: “Tell him I know no greater man on earth.” The German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe wrote: “With the exception of Shakespeare and Spinoza, I know no one among the no longer living who has influenced me more strongly.” Swedish author August Strindberg wrote: “Linnaeus was in reality a poet who happened to become a naturalist”. Continue Reading