Cover image for Thomas Henry Huxley : the evolution of a scientist
Thomas Henry Huxley : the evolution of a scientist
Lyons, Sherrie Lynne, 1947-
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Publication Information:
Amherst, N.Y. : Prometheus Books, 1999.
Physical Description:
347 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 24 cm
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QH31.H9 L96 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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In her study of Huxley as scientist, Lyons (science history, Daemen College) focuses on Huxley's own considerable body of work, where previous studies emphasized his role as Charles Darwin's "bulldog" or "general agent." For, as Lyons points out, Huxley would not have enjoyed the scientific standing that he did had it not been for his extensive study of morphology and function in animals. Huxley's research "reflect(s) a tension between two different research trends in biology," the functionalist and the structuralist, which preoccupied biologists before and during Darwin's time, as they have since continued to do. Though the functionalist approach has been the more powerful in the 20th century, Huxley was more at home with the structuralist. Huxley initially questioned Darwin's views of natural selection and gradualism, but, Lyons contends, their disagreements "strengthened ... Darwin's thought." Huxley could accept new ideas. In one well-known instance, he studied a series of fossil horse specimens collected by the American paleontologist Othniel C. Marsh. Rejecting his own earlier conclusions, Huxley determined that the American Eohippus was in the main line of "succession to the modern horse," while "the European Hipparion was a side branch." Biologists today still confront some of the same problems with which Huxley wrestled. Upper-division undergraduates through professionals. K. B. Sterling; formerly, Pace University