Download The Evolutionary Biology Papers of Elie Metchnikoff by Helena Gourko, Donald I. Williamson (auth.), Helena Gourko, PDF

By Helena Gourko, Donald I. Williamson (auth.), Helena Gourko, Donald I. Williamson, Alfred I. Tauber (eds.)

Elie Metchnikoff (1845-1916), winner of the Nobel Prize in 1907 for his contributions to immunology, was once first a comparative zoologist, who, operating within the wake of Darwin's On the starting place ofSpecies, made seminal contributions to evolutionary biology. His paintings in comparative embryology is better identified in regard to the debates with Ernst Haeckel relating animal genealogical relationships and the theoretical origins of metazoans. yet self sufficient of these polemics, Metchnikoff constructed his `phagocytosis conception' of immunity due to his early comparative embryology learn, and simply in analyzing the total breadth of his paintings will we savor his sign originality. Metchnikoff's medical papers have remained mostly untranslated into English. Assembled right here, annotated and edited, are the major evolutionary biology papers courting from Metchnikoff's earliest writings (1865) to the texts of his mature interval of the Nineties, in an effort to function a useful source for these drawn to the ancient improvement of evolutionary biology.

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Indeed, it is quite possible that the embryonic zone, considered on its own, needs a special nutritious and supportive mass for its development and maintenance, and this turns out to be the nutritive yolk. I return now to the genus Balanus [4] to determine the major steps in its development. Soon after the establishment of the embryonic or primary zone, we see the formation of three pairs of "knobs" on it, which later transform into three pairs of swimming legs. In addition to these developments, differentiation of other parts of organs occurs simultaneously.

8 This result just discussed cannot have been achieved by natural selection because it is not immediately applicable to the struggle for existence. Such development of the brain represents a lUXUry quite unnecessary for primitive man. Wallace supported these ideas with some analogous examples (including loss of body hair, in spite of the immediately harmful effects) and concluded that man did not originate as the result of natural selection but under the influence of a specific force. By moving from one farreaching conclusion to another even more daring, he finally arrived at the ideas of Schopenhauer, proclaiming that any force results from a will, and that in fact "the entire world depends upon a will of superior reason, but represents this will by itself".

If, however, natural selection alone adequately explains the origin of the latter, there is no reason to make an exception for humans. Turning the argument round, such statements by Klapared do not give adequate consideration to the foundations of Wallace's theory; in fact, he does not even analyze them. For example, he mentions Wallace's theoretical point that the abilities of primitive men are more than enough for their way of life but indispensable for those of civilized people, and adds: "I refrain from criticizing this opinion because the present [paper] is not about the defense of Darwinism".

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