Palaeos: Palaeos Biographies
Science D

Biographies : D

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z


Dart, Raymond: influential anatomist and paleoanthropologist at South Africa's University of Witwatersrand. In 1925 he described Australopithecus africanus, the "Taung child", in the journal Nature. Despite the initial skepticism of his claim that Australopithecus was a hominid (with the exception of Robert Broom, who remained a strong supporter) in light of the discrepancies between his specimen and "Piltdown man", described shortly before, Dart eventually won the academic concensus in the 1940's after a series of additional discoveries. (EvoWiki)

Charles Darwin aged 51

Darwin, Charles: 19th-century naturalist considered the father of the science of evolution. His landmark work, On the Origin of Species, published in 1859, presented a wealth of facts supporting the idea of evolution and proposed a viable theory for how evolution occurs, via the mechanism he called "natural selection" (as a natural process analogous to artificial selection) Also published important works on coral reefs and on the geology of the Andes, and a popular travelogue of his five-year voyage aboard HMS Beagle, and a comprehensive scientific stupy of barnacles. (adapted from PBS evolution Glossary)

Darwin's theory of evolution through natural selection can be summarised by means of three principles:

  1. Principle of variation. Among individuals within any population, there is variation in morphology, physiology, and behavior.
  2. Principle of heredity. Offspring resemble their parents more than they resemble unrelated individuals.
  3. Principle of selection. Some forms are more successful at surviving and reproducing than other forms in a given environment

(Griffiths AJF, Miller JH, Suzuki DT, et al. "Introduction", in An Introduction to Genetic Analysis. 7th edition. New York: W. H. Freeman; 2000)


Dawkins, Richard: English evolutionary biologist who has taught zoology and is the author of several books on evolution and science, including The Selfish Gene (1976) and The Blind Watchmaker (1986). He is known for his popularization of Darwinian ideas, as well as for original thinking on evolutionary theory. A committed atheist, he strongly argues for metaphysical naturalism. (PBS evolution Glossary, MAK)

Dennett, Daniel Clemont: (b. 1942) philosopher and cognitive scientist, author of many popular science and philosophy books, focusing primarily on philosophy of mind, elucidating an functionalist theory he calls "Multiple Drafts". The idea, he says, is that consciousness is commonly thought to occur in a single place in the brain, a "Cartesian Theater", where we sit and witness its goings-on. He believes that it is more accurately modeled as a multitude of information states, like the multiple drafts (hence the name) of a paper. He is also known for his insightful and wide reaching looks at evolutionary biology. Dennett has strongly criticised theories of group selection, repeatedly leveled arguments against Stephen Jay Gould, and staunchly defended gene selection. Dennett was a student of Willard van Orman Quine and is a close friend of Richard Dawkins and Edward Wilson. He is a proponent of atheism and philosophical naturalism (The belief that the supernatural does not exist and all that exists is matter and energy). His influential and controversial 1995 book Darwin's Dangerous Idea explains why he believes natural selection to be the single most brilliant and Earth-shattering idea ever conceived. Dennett argues that Darwinian evolution, as it can occur wherever there are imperfect replicators which display some kind of phenotype-like effect, applies to far more than the origin of species, such as with the idea of memetics and neural Darwinism. (from EvoWiki)

Dodson, Peter: American paleontologist who has published many papers and written and collaborated on books about dinosaurs. An authority on Ceratopsians, he has also authored several papers and textbooks on hadrosaurs and sauropods., Dodson described Avaceratops in 1986; Suuwassea in 2004, and many others, while his students have named Paralititan and Auroraceratops. He has conducted field research in Canada, the United States, India, Madagascar, Egypt, Argentina, and China. A professor of vertebrate paleontology and of veterinary anatomy at the University of Pennsylvania, Dodson has also taught courses in geology, history, history and sociology of science, and religious studies. Describing himself as a "deeply committed Christian," Dodson subscribes to theistic evolution and has argued that there is no real conflict between religion and science. (Wikipedia)

Hans Driesch (18671941). German biologist and philosopher. He is most noted for his early experimental work in embryology and for his neo-vitalist philosophy of entelechy. Under the influence of his teacher Haeckel, Driesch had tested the mechanistic embryological theories of another of Haeckel's students, Wilhelm Roux. In 1894, after publishing papers on his experiments on sea urchin eggs, Driesch wrote a theoretical essay entitled Analytische Theorie der organischen Entwicklung, in which he declared that his studies in developmental biology pointed to a "blueprint" or teleology, an Aristotlean entelechy, a scientific demonstration of Immanuel Kant's notion that the organism develops as if it has a purposeful intelligence. Driesch's experiments on the sea urchin embryo suggested that it was possible to remove large pieces from eggs, shuffle the blastomeres and interfere in many ways without affecting the resulting embryo. It appeared that any single monad in the original egg cell was capable of forming any part of the completed embryo. This important refutation of both preformation and the mosaic theory of Wilhelm Roux was to be subject to much discussion in the ensuing years, and caused friction among Driesch, Roux and Haeckel.

Like other teleologists, Driesch was a strong anti-Darwinian. His reputation as an experimental biologist deteriorated as a result of his vitalistic theories. He moved to Heidelberg and became a Professor of Natural Philosophy. In 1933 he was removed from his Leipzig chair by the Nazi administration, the first non-Jewish academic to be thus expelled, because of his pacifism and open hostility to Nazism (Wikipedia)

images not loading? | error messages? | broken links? | suggestions? | criticism?

contact us

new page MAK111204

Creative Commons License>

otherwise noted, the material on this page may be used under the terms of a
Creative Commons License.