Essay on Classification

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Courier Corporation, 2004 - Science - 268 pages
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A major influence on the development of American scientific culture, Swiss-born Louis Agassiz (1807–73) was one of the great scientists of his day. A student of anatomist Georges Cuvier, Agassiz adapted his teacher's pioneering techniques of comparative anatomy to paleontology, and he rose to prominence as a distinguished systematist, paleontologist, and educator. Agassiz introduced science to ordinary citizens to an unprecedented degree; people around the world read his books, sent him specimens, and consulted his opinion.
Agassiz was also a staunch opponent of the theory of evolution, and he was among the last of the reputable scientists who continued to reject the concept after the publication of The Origin of the Species. All of nature bore testimony to a divine plan, Agassiz believed, and he could not reconcile himself to a theory that did not invoke God's design. Ironically, his 1851 Essay on Classification provided Darwin and other evolutionists with evidence from the fossil record to support the theory of natural selection.
A treasure of historically valuable insights that contributed to the development of evolutionary biology, this volume introduced the landmark contention that paleontology, embryology, ecology, and biogeography are inextricably linked in classifications that reveal the true relationships between organisms. Its emphasis on advanced and original work gave major impetus to the study of science directly from nature, and it remains a classic of American scientific literature.
 

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Contents

EDITORS INTRODUCTION
ix
THE FUNDAMENTAL RELATIONS OF ANIMALS ONE TO ANOTHER AND TO THE WORLD IN WHICH THEY LIVE AS THE BASIS OF TH...
3
SIMULTANEOUS EXISTENCE OF THE MOST DIVERSIFIED UNDER IDENTICAL CIRCULISTANCES
13
REPETITION OF IDENTICAL TYPES UNDER THE MOST DIVERSIFIED CIRCUMSTANCES
18
UNITY OF PLAN IN OTHERWISE HIGHLY DIVERSIFIED TYPES
20
CORRESPONDENCE IN THE DETAILS OF STRUCTURE IN ANIMALS OTHERWISE ENTIRELY DISCONNECTED
21
VARIOUS DEGREES AND DIFFERENT KINDS OF RELATIONSHIP AMONG ANIMALS
24
SIMULTANEOUS EXISTENCE IN THE EARLIEST GEOLOGICAL PERIODS OF ALL THE GREAT TYPES OF ANIMALS
26
PARALLELISM BETWEEN THE GEOLOGICAL SUCCESSION OF ANIMALS AND THE EMBRYONIC GROWTH OF THEIR LIVING REPRES...
110
PROPHETIC TYPES AMONG ANIMALS
115
PARALLELISM BETWEEN THE STRUCTURAL GRADATION OF ANIMALS AND THEIR EMBRYONIC GROWTH
117
RELATIONS BETWEEN THE STRUCTURE THE EMBRYONIC GROWTH THE GEOLOGICAL SUCCESSION AND THE GEOGRAPHICAL DIS...
119
MUTUAL DEPENDENCE OF THE ANIMAL AND VEGETABLE KINGDOMS
122
PARASITIC ANIMALS AND PLANTS
123
COMBINATIONS IN TIME AND SPACE OF VARIOUS KINDS OF RELATIONS AMONG ANIMALS
127
RECAPITULATION
132

THE GRADATION OF STRUCTURE AMONG ANIMALS
29
RANGE OF THE GEOGRAPHICAL DISTRIBUTION OF ANIMALS
34
IDENTITY OF STRUCTURE OF WIDELY DISTRIBUTED TYPES
40
COMMUNITY OF STRUCTURE AMONG ANIMALS LIVING IN THE SAME REGIONS
46
SERIAL CONNECTION IN THE STRUCTURE OF ANIMALS WIDELY SCATTERD UPON THE SURFACE OF OUR GLOBE
49
RELATION BETWEEN THE SIZE OF ANIMALS AND THEIR STRUCTURE
54
RELATIONS BETWEEN THE SIZE OF ANIMALS AND THE MEDIUMS IN WHICH THEY LIVE
56
PERMANENCY OF SPECIFIC PECULIARITIES IN ALL ORGANIZED BEINGS
58
RELATIONS BETWEEN ANIMALS AND PLANTS AND THE SURROUNDING WORLD
65
RELATIONS OF INDIVIDUALS TO ONE ANOTHER
72
METAMORPHOSES OF ANIMALS
76
DURATION OF LIFE
89
ALTERNATE GENERATIONS
91
SUCCESSION OF ANIMALS AND PLANTS IN GEOLOGICAL TIMES
94
LOCALIZATION OF TYPES IN PAST AGES
99
LIMITATION OF SPECIES TO PARTICULAR GEOLOGICAL PERIODS
101
PARALLELISM BETWEEN THE GEOLOGICAL SUCCESSION OF ANIMALS AND PLANTS AND THEIR PRESENT RELATIVE STANDING
104
LEADING GROUPS OF THE EXISTING SYSTEMS OF ANIMALS
139
CLASSES OF ANIMALS
148
ORDERS AMONG ANIMALS
155
FAMILIES
161
GENERA
169
SPECIES
171
OTHER NATURAL DIVISIONS AMONG ANIMALS
179
SUCCESSIVE DEVELOPMENT OF CHARACTERS
182
THE CATEGORIES OF ANALOGY
187
CONCLUSIONS
194
NOTICE OF THE PRINCIPAL SYSTEMS OF ZOOLOGY
197
EARLY ATTEMPTS TO CLASSIFY ANIMALS
208
PERIOD OF LINNĈUS
210
PERIOD OF CUVIER AND ANATOMICAL SYSTEMS
215
PHYSIOPHILOSOPHICAL SYSTEMS
235
EMBRYOLOGICAL SYSTEMS
245
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About the author (2004)

Born at Motier, Switzerland, Louis Agassiz was taught by his parents until the age of ten. Later, as a penurious student and professor in Paris, this Swiss naturalist and geologist studied fish classification and produced the monumental five-volume treatise on extinct marine organisms, Recherches sur les poissons fossiles (1833--43). His second period of research was devoted to the study of Swiss glaciers. The results were published as Etudes sur les glaciers (1840). The widespread hunger for scientific knowledge in the early nineteenth century took Agassiz to the United States in 1846, where he became a professor of zoology and geology at Harvard University. A skilled lecturer and popular and devoted teacher, Agassiz revolutionized the study of natural history by promoting the open-minded observation and interpretation of nature, as opposed to reliance on traditional classification systems. The Agassiz approach was adopted by an entire generation of scientists. Agassiz established a museum of comparative zoology, now the Agassiz Museum at Harvard. His famous "Essay on Classification" is included in his four-volume Contributions to the Natural History of the United States (1857-62). The poet Ezra Pound ranked Agassiz as a writer of prose whose precise knowledge of his subject led to great exactitude of expression.

Lurie is professor of history, science, and culture at the University of Delaware and senior research fellow at the Hagley Museum and Library.

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