History Of Biology and When did Biology Start?


What is the history of biology? When did biology start? What is the development of biology and scientists that caused the development.

Definition of Biology - What is the simple definition of biology?

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Few sciences have contributed more to the philosophical and physical basis of contemporary society than biology has. The earliest biologists, in the broadest sense of this term, were the agricultural tribes who first began to cultivate plants. From these plants and more than 3,000 generations of their successors have been produced the domestic crops of today. Herdsmen did the same for animals.

Major contributions along the road to modern agriculture and stock raising were the 17th century discovery, or at least postulate, of photosynthesis by Stephen Hales and the late 17th century demonstration by Jethro Tull that the cultivation of the soil played a major role in crop yield. In the late 19th century, the Russian Ivan Michurin used the newly discovered principles of genetics to breed plants adapted to new climates and thus laid the basis for worldwide expansion of food production.

The science of taxonomy, which preoccupied early biologists, was in a state of utmost confusion until the late 18th century when Carolus Linnaeus introduced his binomial system of classification in which all organisms are specified by two words. A similar confusion in the unsystematized teaching of biology was brought to an end in the middle 19th century by Thomas Huxley who introduced the concept of teaching by types drawn from each major group of plant and animal, a system that is being replaced by more modern methods.

The major contribution of biology to the philosophical development of man has been brought about through the concept of evolution and genetics. Many early 19th century biologists, such as Chevalier de Lamarck, believed that evolution had probably occurred. It remained, however, for Charles Darwin to bring the idea forward in a logical and acceptable form and to offer a plausible explanation for its manifestation—the survival of those forms best fitted to their environment. This concept that change was a normal part of nature was completely foreign to the social climate in which Darwin lived, and its acceptance did much to bring about true democracy, which is largely dependent on social mobility.


However, the mechanism of evolution remained mysterious until the rediscovery of the genetic principles of Gregor Mendel and their development by Thomas Hunt Morgan and his contemporaries. The next breakthrough in this area was the demonstration by Hermann J. Muller that mutations, previously thought to be of “biological” origin, could be induced by X-rays and other physical causes. The philosophical impact of this discovery, which clearly implied that heredity could be controlled by human manipulation, provided great impetus for the further study of the chromosome. Linus Pauling’s demonstration of the structure of the protein molecule and the Watson-Crick demonstration of the structure of the nucleic acids in the chromosomes, revolutionary in the first half of the 20th century, are now the shoreline from which biology is being pushed to new and only dimly perceived horizons.


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