Ernst Mayr

(Ernst Walter Mayr)

Ernst Mayr
Ernst Mayr
  • Born: July 5, 1904
  • Died: February 3, 2005
  • Nationality: German, American
  • Profession: Scientist









Ernst Walter Mayr ForMemRS was one of the 20th century's leading evolutionary biologists. He was also a renowned taxonomist, tropical explorer, ornithologist, philosopher of biology, and historian of science. 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.

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A good scientist goes beyond the data he has. He applies new concepts he hadn't applied before….On some things, I was not right, but ... you can propose these ideas and stimulate thinking Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
Evolution, as such, is no longer a theory for a modern author. It is as much a fact as that the earth revolves around the sun. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
He [Charles Darwin] had the greatest impact on the thinking of modern man, of anybody. Compliments, Insults & Rebukes
Science today is still affected by non-scientific belief. Eighty percent of the South still rejects evolution. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
The theory of evolution is quite rightly called the greatest unifying theory in biology. The diversity of organisms, similarities and differ- ences between kinds of organisms, patterns of distribution and behavior, adaptation and interaction, all this was merely a bewildering chaos of facts until given meaning by the evolutionary theory. Scandals
According to the concept of transformational evolution, first clearly articulated by Lamarck, evolution consists of the gradual transformation of organisms from one condition of existence to another.
All I claimed was that when a drastic change occurs, it occurs in a relatively small and isolated population.
As a consequence, geneticists described evolution simply as a change in gene frequencies in populations, totally ignoring the fact that evolution consists of the two simultaneous but quite separate phenomena of adaptation and diversification.
Evolution thus is merely contingent on certain processes articulated by Darwin: variation and selection.
I did not claim that speciation occurs only in founder populations.
I had found again and again that the most aberrant population of a species - often having reached species rank, and occasionally classified even as a separate genus - occurred at a peripheral location, indeed usually at the most isolated peripheral location.
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. Society ;Life ;Friendship
Indeed, I was unable to find any evidence whatsoever of the occurrence of a drastic evolutionary acceleration and genetic reconstruction in widespread, populous species.
It seems to me that for Darwin the pulsing of evolutionary rates was a strictly vertical phenomenon.
Life is simply the reification of the process of living. Life
Living in an entirely different physical as well as biotic environment, such a population would have unique opportunities to enter new niches and to select novel adaptive pathways.
Most of them are doomed to rapid extinction, but a few may make evolutionary inventions, such as physiological, ecological, or behavioral innovations that give these species improved competitive potential.
New gene pools are generated in every generation, and evolution takes place because the successful individuals produced by these gene pools give rise to the next generation.
The major novelty of my theory was its claim that the most rapid evolutionary change does not occur in widespread, populous species, as claimed by Most geneticists, but in small founder populations.

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