|Ernst W. Mayr|
Ernst W. Mayr
|Born||July 5, 1904|
|Died||February 3, 2005|
Ernst Walter Mayr (July 5, 1904, Kempten, Germany – February 3, 2005, Bedford, Massachusetts U.S.), was one of the 20th century's leading evolutionary biologists. Events 1295 - Scotland and France form an alliance the beginnings of the Auld Alliance, against England. Year 1904 ( MCMIV) was a Leap year starting on Friday (link will display calendar of the Gregorian calendar (or a Leap year starting on Kempten im Allgäu is the largest city in Allgäu, a region in the south-west of Bavaria, Germany. Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany ( ˈbʊndəsʁepuˌbliːk ˈdɔʏtʃlant is a Country in Central Europe. Events 1112 - Ramon Berenguer III of Barcelona and Douce I of Provence marry uniting the fortunes of those two states Year 2005 ( MMV) was a Common year starting on Saturday (link displays full calendar of the Gregorian calendar. Bedford is a town in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States. Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany ( ˈbʊndəsʁepuˌbliːk ˈdɔʏtʃlant is a Country in Central Europe. Evolutionary biology is a sub-field of Biology concerned with the origin of Species from a Common descent, and Descent of species Events 1295 - Scotland and France form an alliance the beginnings of the Auld Alliance, against England. Year 1904 ( MCMIV) was a Leap year starting on Friday (link will display calendar of the Gregorian calendar (or a Leap year starting on Kempten im Allgäu is the largest city in Allgäu, a region in the south-west of Bavaria, Germany. Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany ( ˈbʊndəsʁepuˌbliːk ˈdɔʏtʃlant is a Country in Central Europe. Events 1112 - Ramon Berenguer III of Barcelona and Douce I of Provence marry uniting the fortunes of those two states Year 2005 ( MMV) was a Common year starting on Saturday (link displays full calendar of the Gregorian calendar. Bedford is a town in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States. The United States of America —commonly referred to as the A biologist is a Scientist devoted to and producing results in Biology through the study of Organisms Typically biologists study organisms and their relationship He was also a renowned taxonomist, tropical explorer, ornithologist, historian of science, and naturalist. Ornithology (from Greek ὄρνις ὄρνιθος ornis, ornithos, "bird" and λόγος logos, "knowledge" is the branch of His work contributed to the conceptual revolution that led to the modern evolutionary synthesis of Mendelian genetics, systematics, and Darwinian evolution, and to the development of the biological species concept. Gregor Johann Mendel ( July 20, 1822 &ndash January 6, 1884) was Genetics (from Ancient Greek grc-Latn genetikos, “genitive” and that from grc-Latn genesis, “origin” a discipline of Biology, is Biological systematics is the study of the diversity of Life on the planet Earth both past and present and the relationships among living things through time Charles Robert Darwin (February 12 1809 &ndash April 19 1882 was an English naturalist, who realised and demonstrated that all Species of life eVolution is the third Album by eLDee, it was due to be released in 2008 In Biology, a species is one of the basic units of Biological classification and a Taxonomic rank.
Neither Darwin nor anyone else in his time knew the answer to the species problem: how multiple species could evolve from a single common ancestor. Charles Robert Darwin (February 12 1809 &ndash April 19 1882 was an English naturalist, who realised and demonstrated that all Species of life The species problem is a mixture of difficult related questions that often come up when Biologists identify Species and when they define the word "species" In Biology, a species is one of the basic units of Biological classification and a Taxonomic rank. Ernst Mayr approached the problem with a new definition for the concept species. In his book Systematics and the Origin of Species (1942) he wrote that a species is not just a group of morphologically similar individuals, but a group that can breed only among themselves, excluding all others. Systematics and the Origin of Species is a book written by zoologist and evolutionary biologist Ernst Mayr that was first published in 1942 The term morphology in Biology refers to the outward appearance ( Shape, Structure, Colour, Pattern) of an Organism When populations of organisms get isolated, the sub-populations will start to differ by genetic drift and natural selection over a period of time, and thereby evolve into new species. In Population genetics, genetic drift is the accumulation of random events that change the makeup of a gene pool slightly but often compound over time Natural selection is the process by which favorable Heritable traits become more common in successive Generations of a Population of The most significant and rapid genetic reorganization occurs in extremely small populations that have been isolated (as on islands).
His theory of peripatric speciation (a more precise form of allopatric speciation which he advanced) based on his work on birds, is still considered a leading mode of speciation, and was the theoretical underpinning for the theory of punctuated equilibrium. Peripatric speciation is a form of Speciation, the formation of new Species through Evolution. Allopatric speciation, also known as geographic Speciation, is the phenomenon whereby biological populations are physically isolated by an extrinsic barrier Speciation is the Evolutionary process by which new biological Species arise Punctuated equilibrium is a theory of evolutionary biology which states that most sexually reproducing populations experience little change for most of their geological Mayr is generally credited with inventing the modern philosophy of biology, particularly of evolutionary biology, which he distinguished from physics, for its introduction of (natural) history into science.
Mayr was the second son of Helene Pusinelli and Dr. Otto Mayr. His father was a jurist (District Prosecuting Attorney at Würzburg) but took an interest in natural history and took the children out on field trips. He learnt all the local birds in Würzburg from his elder brother Otto. He also had access to a natural history magazine for amateurs, Kosmos. His father died just before he was thirteen. The family then moved to Dresden and he studied at the Staatsgymnasium (“Royal Gymnasium” until 1918) in Dresden-Neustadt and completed his high school education there. In April 1922, while still in high school, he joined the newly founded Saxony Ornithologists’ Association. Here he met Rudolf Zimmermann who was his ornithological mentor during this time. He passed his high school examination (Abitur), in February 1923, and Mayr's mother rewarded him with a pair of binoculars.  On 23 March 1923 on the lakes of Moritzburg, the Frauenteich, he spotted what he identified as a Red-crested Pochard. Events 1174 - Jocelin, Abbot of Melrose, is elected Bishop of Glasgow. Year 1923 ( MCMXXIII) was a Common year starting on Monday (link will display the full calendar of the Gregorian calendar. The Red-crested Pochard ( Netta rufina) is a large Diving duck. The species had not been seen in Saxony since 1845 and the local club argued about the identity. Raimund Schelcher (1891–1979) of the club then suggested that Mayr visit his classmate Erwin Stresemann on his way to Greifswald where Mayr was to begin his medical studies. Erwin Stresemann ( November 22, 1889 - November 20, 1972) was a German Ornithologist.  After a tough interrogation, Stresemann accepted and published the sighting as authentic. Stresemann was very impressed and suggested that Mayr could work as a volunteer between semesters in the ornithological section of the museum. Mayr wrote about this event It was as if someone had given me the key to heaven.  He entered the University of Greifswald in 1923 and, according to Mayr himself, "took the medical curriculum (to satisfy a family tradition). The University of Greifswald (full name Ernst Moritz Arndt University of Greifswald, Ernst-Moritz-Arndt-Universität Greifswald is located in Greifswald, " Mayr was endlessly interested in ornithology and "chose Greifswald at the Baltic for my studies for no other reason than that. . . it was situated in the ornithologically most interesting area. " Although he ostensibly planned to become a physician, he was "first and foremost an ornithologist. " During the first semester break Stresemann gave him a test to identify treecreepers and Mayr was able to identify most of the specimens correctly. Stresemann declared that Mayr 'was a born systematist'. Biological systematics is the study of the diversity of Life on the planet Earth both past and present and the relationships among living things through time  In 1925 Stresemann suggested that he give up his medical studies and join the Berlin Museum with the prospect of bird-collecting trips to the tropics on the condition that he completed his doctoral studies in 16 months. Mayr completed his doctorate in ornithology at the University of Berlin under Dr. Carl Zimmer, who was a full professor (Ordentlicher Professor), on 24 June 1926 at the age of 21. Events 972 - Battle of Cedynia, the first documented victory of Polish forces takes place Year 1926 ( MCMXXVI) was a Common year starting on Friday (link will display the full calendar of the Gregorian calendar. On 1 July he accepted the position offered to him at the Museum for a monthly salary of 330. 54 Reichsmark. 
At the International Zoological Congress at Budapest in 1927, Mayr was introduced by Stresemann to banker and naturalist Walter Rothschild, who asked him to undertake an expedition to New Guinea on behalf of himself and the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Lionel Walter Rothschild 2nd Baron Rothschild ( February 8, 1868 &ndash August 27 1937) a scion of the Rothschild family was a The American Museum of Natural History ( AMNH) located on the Upper West Side, Manhattan, New York, USA is one of the largest and most In New Guinea Mayr collected several thousands bird skins (he named 26 new bird species during his lifetime) and, in the process also named 38 new orchid species. During his stay in New Guinea, he was invited to accompany the Whitney South Seas Expedition to the Solomon Islands. The Whitney South Seas Expedition (1921 - c1932 to collect bird specimens for the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH under the initial leadership of Rollo Beck The Solomon Islands is a country in Melanesia, east of Papua New Guinea, consisting of nearly one thousand islands
He returned to Germany in 1930 and in 1931 he accepted a curatorial position at the American Museum of Natural History, where he played the important role of brokering and acquiring the Walter Rothschild collection of bird skins, which was being sold in order to pay off a blackmailer. Lionel Walter Rothschild 2nd Baron Rothschild ( February 8, 1868 &ndash August 27 1937) a scion of the Rothschild family was a During his time at the museum he produced numerous publications on bird taxonomy, and in 1942 his first book, Systematics and the Origin of Species, which completed the evolutionary synthesis started by Darwin. Systematics and the Origin of Species is a book written by zoologist and evolutionary biologist Ernst Mayr that was first published in 1942
After Mayr was appointed at the American Museum of Natural History, he influenced American ornithological research by cultivating mentoring relationships with young birdwatchers. Mayr organized a monthly seminar under the auspices of the Linnean Society of New York. This society, under the influence of J. A. Allen, Frank Chapman and Jonathan Dwight concentrated on taxonomy and later became a clearing house for bird banding and sight records. There were a group of eight young birdwatchers from the Bronx and later became the Bronx County Bird Club and they were led by Ludlow Griscom. Mayr was surprised at the differences between American and German Birding Societies. He noted that the German society was "far more scientific, far more interested in life histories and breeding bird species, as well as in reports on recent literature. " Mayr also encouraged his Linnaean Society seminar participants to take up a specific research project of their own. "Everyone should have a problem" was the way one Bronx County Bird Club member recalled Mayr's refrain. One of Mayr's seminar participants was Joseph Hickey and under Mayr's influence went on to write A Guide to Birdwatching (1943). Hickey remembered later –"Mayr was our age and invited on all our field trips. The heckling of this German foreigner was tremendous, but he gave tit for tat, and any modern picture of Dr E. Mayr as a very formal person does not square with my memory of the 1930s. He held his own. " Mayr's said of his own involvement with the local birdwatchers: "In those early years in New York when I was a stranger in a big city, it was the companionship and later friendship which I was offered in the Linnean Society that was the most important thing in my life. "
Another person that Mayr greatly influenced was Margaret Morse Nice. Margaret Morse Nice ( December 6, 1883, Amherst Massachusetts - June 26, 1974, Chicago) was an American Ornithologist Mayr encouraged her to correspond with the European ornithologists of the time, and helped her in her landmark study on Song Sparrows. Nice wrote to Joseph Grinnell in 1932 trying to get foreign literature reviewed in the Condor: "Too many American ornithologists have despised the study of the living bird; the magazines and books that deal with the subject abound in careless statements, anthropomorphic interpretations, repetition of ancient errors, and sweeping conclusions from a pitiful array of facts. . . . in Europe the study of the living bird is taken seriously. We could learn a great deal from their writing. " Mayr ensured that Nice could publish her two volume Studies in the Life History of the Song Sparrow, finding her a publisher, and her book was reviewed by Aldo Leopold, Grinnell, Jean Delacour. Nice dedicated her book to "My Friend Ernst Mayr. "
Mayr joined the faculty of Harvard University in 1953, where he also served as director of the Museum of Comparative Zoology from 1961 to 1970. A faculty is a division within a University. The concept of a university with different faculties for different subjects dates back to Al-Azhar University, which had He retired in 1975 as emeritus professor of zoology, showered with honors. Emeritus (ɨˈmɛrɨtəs is an Adjective that is used in the title of a retired Professor, Bishop or other professional Zoology (from Greek ζῷον, zoon, "animal" + λόγος, " Logos " "knowledge" is the branch of Following his retirement, he went on to publish more than 200 articles, in a variety of journals—more than some reputable scientists publish in their entire careers; 14 of his 25 books were published after he was 65. Even as a centenarian, he continued to write books. A centenarian is a person who has attained the age of 100 Years or more On his 100th birthday, he was interviewed by Scientific American magazine. Scientific American is a Popular science magazine, published (first weekly and later monthly since August 28, 1845, making it
He received awards including the National Medal of Science, the Balzan Prize, the Sarton Medal of the History of Science Society, the International Prize for Biology, the Loye and Alden Miller Research Award, and the Lewis Thomas Prize for Writing about Science. The National Medal of Science is an honor bestowed by the President of the United States to individuals in Science and Engineering who have made important The International Balzan Prize Foundation awards four annual monetary prizes to people or organisations who have made outstanding achievements in the fields of humanities natural The George Sarton Medal, an award of the History of Science Society, has been awarded annually since 1955 The History of Science Society (HSS is the primary professional society for the academic study of the history of science. The International Prize for Biology is an annual award for significant contributions to Biology. The Loye and Alden Miller Research Award was established in 1993 by the Cooper Ornithological Society (COS to recognize lifetime achievement in ornithological research The Lewis Thomas Prize for Writing about Science, named for its first recipient Lewis Thomas, is an annual literary prize awarded by Rockefeller University In 1939 he was elected a Corresponding Member of the Royal Australasian Ornithologists Union. The Royal Australasian Ornithologists Union (RAOU may elect somebody to the position of Fellow, the highest grade of membership for service to the RAOU and to He was never awarded a Nobel Prize, but he noted that there is no Prize for evolutionary biology, and that Darwin would not have received one, either. The Nobel Prize (Nobelpriset (Nobelprisen is a Swedish prize established in the 1895 will of Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel; it was first awarded in Peace, Literature Mayr did win a 1999 Crafoord Prize. The annual Crafoord Prize is a science prize established in 1980 by Holger Crafoord, a Swedish industrialist and his wife Anna-Greta Crafoord That prize honors basic research in fields that do not qualify for Nobel Prizes and is administered by the same organization as the Nobel Prize.
Mayr was co-author of six global reviews of bird species new to science (listed below). This is the parent page for a series of pages listing bird species new to science described since 1900
He was also an atheist, stating "there is nothing that supports the idea of a personal God". 
As a traditionally trained biologist with little mathematical experience, Mayr was often highly critical of early mathematical approaches to evolution such as those of J.B.S. Haldane, famously calling in 1959 such approaches "beanbag genetics". Mathematics is the body of Knowledge and Academic discipline that studies such concepts as Quantity, Structure, Space and John Burdon Sanderson Haldane FRS ( 5 November 1892 &ndash 1 December 1964) known as Jack (but who used 'J He maintained that factors such as reproductive isolation had to be taken into account. In Biology, a species is one of the basic units of Biological classification and a Taxonomic rank. In a similar fashion, Mayr was also quite critical of molecular evolutionary studies such as those of Carl Woese. Molecular evolution is the process of evolution at the scale of DNA, RNA, and Proteins Molecular evolution emerged as a scientific field in the 1960s as Carl Richard Woese (born July 15 1928, Syracuse New York) is an American Microbiologist who attended Deerfield Academy
In many of his writings, Mayr rejected reductionism in evolutionary biology, arguing that evolutionary pressures act on the whole organism, not on single genes, and that genes can have different effects depending on the other genes present. Reductionism can either mean (a an approach to understanding the nature of complex things by reducing them to the interactions of their parts or to simpler or more fundamental things He advocated a study of the whole genome rather than of isolated genes only. In classical genetics the genome of a Diploid Organism including Eukarya refers to a full set of chromosomes or genes in a Gamete, thereby Current molecular studies in evolution and speciation indicate that although allopatric speciation seems to be the norm in groups (possibly those with greater mobility) such as the birds, there are numerous cases of sympatric speciation in many invertebrates (especially in the insects). Allopatric speciation, also known as geographic Speciation, is the phenomenon whereby biological populations are physically isolated by an extrinsic barrier Sympatric speciation is the genetic divergence of various populations (from a single parent species inhabiting the same geographic region such that those populations become different
After articulating the biological species concept in 1942, Mayr played a central role in the species problem debate over what was the best species concept. In Biology, a species is one of the basic units of Biological classification and a Taxonomic rank. The species problem is a mixture of difficult related questions that often come up when Biologists identify Species and when they define the word "species" In Biology, a species is one of the basic units of Biological classification and a Taxonomic rank. He staunchly defended the biological species concept against the many definitions of "species" that others proposed.
Mayr was an outspoken defender of the scientific method, and one known to sharply critique science on the edge. Scientific method refers to bodies of Techniques for investigating phenomena As a notable recent example, he criticized the search for aliens as conducted by fellow Harvard professor Paul Horowitz as being a waste of university and student resources, for its inability to address and answer a scientific question. Paul Horowitz (born 1942 is a US physicist and electrical engineer, known primarily for his work in Electronics design as well as for his
The funny thing is if in England, you ask a man in the street who the greatest living Darwinian is, he will say Richard Dawkins. The gene-centered view of evolution, gene selection theory or selfish gene theory holds that Natural selection acts through differential survival of competing Clinton Richard Dawkins, FRS, FRSL (born 26 March 1941 is a British ethologist, evolutionary biologist, and Popular science And indeed, Dawkins has done a marvelous job of popularizing Darwinism. But Dawkins' basic theory of the gene being the object of evolution is totally non-Darwinian. I would not call him the greatest Darwinian. 
Mayr insisted throughout his career that the gene as the target of selection cannot and should not be considered a valid idea in modern evolutionary thought. History See also History of genetics The existence of genes was first suggested by Gregor Mendel (1822-1884 who in the 1860s studied inheritance eVolution is the third Album by eLDee, it was due to be released in 2008
“The idea that a few people have about the gene being the target of selection is completely impractical; a gene is never visible to natural selection, and in the genotype, it is always in the context with other genes, and the interaction with those other genes make a particular gene either more favorable or less favorable. In fact, Dobzhanksy, for instance, worked quite a bit on so-called lethal chromosomes which are highly successful in one combination, and lethal in another. Theodosius Grygorovych Dobzhansky, also known Therefore people like Dawkins in England who still think the gene is the target of selection are evidently wrong. In the 30's and 40's, it was widely accepted that genes were the target of selection, because that was the only way they could be made accessible to mathematics, but now we know that it is really the whole genotype of the individual, not the gene. Except for that slight revision, the basic Darwinian theory hasn't changed in the last 50 years. ”