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Lecture 2

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Department
Biology
Course
BIOL 225
Professor
Ian Ferguson
Semester
Winter

Description
A few lensmakers and natural philosophers had been creating crude microscopes since the late 16th century, and Robert Hooke published the seminal Micrographiabased on observations with his own compound microscope in 1665. But it was not until Antony van Leeuwenhoek's dramatic improvements in lensmaking beginning in the 1670s—ultimately producing up to 200-fold magnification with a single lens—that scholars discovered spermatozoa, bacteria, infusoria and the sheer strangeness and diversity of microscopic life. Similar investigations by Jan Swammerdam led to new interest in entomology and built the basic techniques of microscopic dissection and staining Debate over the flood described in the Bible catalyzed the development of paleontology; in 1669 Nicholas Steno published an essay on how the remains of living organisms could be trapped in layers of sediment and mineralized to produce fossils. Although Steno's ideas about fossilization were well known and much debated among natural philosophers, an organic origin for all fossils would not be accepted by all naturalists until the end of the 18th century due to philosophical and theological debate about issues such as the age of the earth and extinction Advances in microscopy also had a profound impact on biological thinking. In the early 19th century, a number of biologists pointed to the central importance of the cell. In 1838 and 1839, Schleiden and Schwann began promoting the ideas that (1) the basic unit of organisms is the cell and (2) that individual cells have all the characteristics of life, though they opposed the idea that (3) all cells come from the division of other cells. Thanks to the work of Robert Remak and Rudolf Virchow, however, by the 1860s most biologists accepted all three tenets of what came to be known as cell theory. Up through the 19th century, the scope of zoology was largely divided between physiology, which investigated questions of form and function, and natural history, which was concerned with the diversity of life and interactions among different forms of life and between life and non- life. By 1900, much of these domains overlapped, while natural history (and its counterpart natural philosophy) had largely given way to more specialized scientific disciplines—cytology, bacteriology, morphology,embryology, geography, and geology. Widespread travel by naturalists in the early-to-mid-19th century resulted in a wealth of new information about the diversity and distribution of living organisms. Of particular importance was the work of Alexander von Humboldt, which analyzed the relationship between organisms and their environment (i.e., the domain of natural histo
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