Timeline of
Evolution and Paleontology
Science Early 20th Century

Timeline : Early 20th Century

1900: Hugo De Vries and Carl Correns rediscover the work of Gregor Mendel, and publish papers the same year (EvoWiki).

1903: George Darwin and John Joly claim that radioactivity is partially responsible for the Earth's heat. (Wikipedia - Timeline of Geology)

1905: Tyrannosaurus rex is described and named by Henry Fairfield Osborn. (Wikipedia - Timeline of Paleontology)

1905: The Saurian Expedition of 1905, a paleontological research mission in northern Nevada, led by Professor John C. Merriam of the University of California. The expedition recovered many of the finest specimens of ichthyosaur ever found, (Shonisaurus, which later became the Nevada's state fossil)

1907: The French philosopher Henri Bergson's book L'Evolution créatrice publised (transl. into English as Creative Evolution, 1910); rejects naturalistic explanations of evolution in favour of immediate experience and intuition

1907: Bertram Boltwood proposes that the amount of lead in uranium and thorium ores might be used to determine the Earth's age and crudely dates some rocks to have ages between 410—2200 million years. (Wikipedia - Timeline of Geology)

1908: Godfrey H. Hardy & Wilhelm Weinberg formulate Hardy-Weinberg principle, mathematically relating the frequencies of genotypes and alleles in randomly mating populations (EvoWiki).

1909: William Bateson coins the term "genetics" (EvoWiki).

1909: Charles Walcott discovers the Burgess Shale, in the Canadian Rockies (EvoWiki).

1911: Arthur Holmes uses radioactivity to date rocks, the oldest being 1.6 billion years old. (Wikipedia - Timeline of Geology)

1912: George Barrow mappes zones of metamorphism (the Barrovian sequence) in southern Scotland. (Wikipedia - Timeline of Geology)

1912: Alfred Wegener publishes his theory of continental drift, leading to plate tectonics and explanation of many surface features. He proposes that all the continents once formed a single landmass called Pangaea that broke apart via continental drift. (EvoWiki, Wikipedia - Timeline of Geology, Wikipedia - Timeline of Paleontology)

1912: Arthur Smith Woodward describes "Piltdown man" (EvoWiki).

1912: The Lost World, a novel by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle concerning an expedition to a plateau in the Amazon basin of South America where prehistoric animals (dinosaurs and other extinct creatures) still survive, alongside native americans and a tribe of ape-like creatures. This very popular work of fiction perhaps started the whole dinosaurs and cave men trend that continued through to the 1960s (Flintstones, One Million Years B.C.). Available at Project Gutenberg

1913: Albert Michelson measures tides in the solid body of the Earth. (Wikipedia - Timeline of Geology)

1913: Robert Broom describes Euparkeria capensis fom the Lower Triassic redbeds of South Africa, and formulates for the first time, a "thecodont" hypothesis for the origin of birds (EvoWiki).

1914: Sri Aurobindo begins writing (and publishing in installments) The Life Divine and other works, synthesising popular evolutionary thinking with Eastern monism. His philosophy has a number of parallels with that later and independently articulated by Teilhard de Chardin, including evolution as moving towards a collective Divine transformation.

1915: Spinosaurus to be found in North Africa is speculated to be the largest terrestrial predator that ever lived. (Wikipedia - Timeline of Paleontology)

1920: Andrew Douglass proposes dendrochronology dating. (Wikipedia - Timeline of Paleontology)

1920: Milutin Milankovic proposes that long term climatic cycles may be due to changes in the eccentricity of the Earth's orbit and changes in the Earth's obliquity. (Wikipedia - Timeline of Paleontology)

1920: Pentti Eskola developes the concept of metamorphic facies in geology. (Wikipedia - Timeline of Geology)

1923: The New Geology by Seventh-day Adventist George McCready Price was inspiration and basis for Morris and Whitcom's The Genesis Flood (see 1960 below). (Wikipedia)

1924: The first hominid fossil from Africa, Australopithecus africanus, is discovered by Raymond Dart. It is described the following year (EvoWiki).

1924: The Land That Time Forgot, a science fiction novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs, set in WWI, features the crew of a lost submarine who come across a mysterious island populated by dinosaurs, prehistoric mammals, beast men, and neanderthals. Clearly influenced by Conan Doyle's The Lost World. The book is in public domain and available at Project Gutenberg

1925: The Scopes Trial (Dayton, TN U.S.A.) tested the new Butler Act, which made it illegal to teach that man descended from animals in public schools. Scopes was found guilty and fined $100; prosecution lawyer William Jennings Bryan offered to pay it, but it was later set aside on a technicality after appeal to the Tennessee Supreme Court. (Wikipedia)

1925: Charles R. Knight, the greatest paleo artist of his day, produced an elaborate mural for the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County which portrayed some of the birds and mammals whose remains had been found in the nearby La Brea Tar Pits. The following year, Knight began a 28-mural series for Chicago's Field Museum of Natural History, a project which chronicled the history of life on earth and took four years to complete. At the Field Museum, he produced one of his best-known pieces, a mural featuring Tyrannosaurus and Triceratops. This confrontation scene between a predator and its prey would inspire a huge number of imitations, establishing the two dinosaurs as "mortal enemies" in the popular consciousness. (Wikipedia)

1926-1927: the Jesuit Paleontologist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, wrote Le Milieu Divin (the Divine Medium). Teilhard prepared the first pages of his main work Le Phénomène humain (The Phenomenon of Man).

1928: Fredrick Griffith discovers genetic transformation of a bacterium, names agent responsible the "transforming principle" which is later shown to be DNA (EvoWiki).

1928: N. L. Bowen publishes The Evolution of the Igneous Rocks, revolutionizing experimental igneous petrology. (Wikipedia - Timeline of Geology)

1930: Ronald Fisher publishes Genetical Theory of Natural Selection, the first major work in what would become the Modern Synthesis (EvoWiki).

1931: Curt Stern shows recombination in Drosophila is due to an exchange of chromosomes (EvoWiki).

1932: The first remains of Ichthyostega stensioei, a stem-tetrapod from Greenland, are described by Save-Soderbergh (EvoWiki).

1933: Vertebrate Paleontology by Alfred Sherwood Romer published; the book would run through two more editions (1945 and 1966)

1933: King Kong, the story of a gigantic yet sympathetic ape (which, like all monster movies, ignores the inverse square law) uses stop-motion techniques of Willis O'Brien to bring dinosaurs to life, merging the tropes of dinosaur combat and dinosaurs in a lost world. O'Brien's protégé Ray Harryhausen would continue to refine this method in a number of other superb fantasy movies (Wikipedia, MAK).

1935: Charles Richter invents a logarithmic scale to measure the intensity of earthquakes (ML). (Wikipedia - Timeline of Geology)

1937: The Russian evolutionary biologist Theodosius Dobzhansky publishes Genetics and the Origin of Species, which fused evolutionary biology with genetics and gave rise to the Modern Synthesis (EvoWiki, Aukland Uni).

1938: A South African schoolboy discovers Australopithecus robustus (EvoWiki).

1941: Teilhard submitted to Rome his most important work Le Phenomena Humaine. In 1947 the Church forbade him to write or teach on philosophical subjects (Wikipedia). The Phenomenon of Man was only published posthumously. According to this cosmology, which represents a synthesis of Darwinism and Catholicism, Consciousness and Matter are aspects of the same reality. Evolution proceeds through successive stages of increasing consciousness and complexity: (a) the layers of the Earth such as geosphere, lithosophere, atmosphere etc (i.e. development of inanimate matter), (b) the Biosphere (life); (c) the Noosphere (self-conscious thought,  or mind; i.e. mankind); and (e) the Omega Point (all humans are united in a single Divine Christ-consciousness). Teilhard ideas later became extremely influential, in popular thought, science fiction, transhumanism, the New Age movement, and big history MAK990312

1941: Nickel-Strunz classification, Karl H. Strunz, Mineralogische Tabellen. (Wikipedia - Timeline of Geology)

1942: Ernst Mayr publishes Systematics and the Origin of Species, the work which arguably secured the primacy of the Modern Synthesis, and restored the validity of allopatry as a mechanism of speciation (EvoWiki).

1947: Willard Libby introduces carbon-14 dating. (Wikipedia - Timeline of Paleontology)

The Age of Reptiles1947: Rudolph Zallinger paints the iconic mural The Age of Reptiles, for the Yale Peabody Museum

(1948 - 1959): Felix Andries Vening Meinesz investigations show gravity anomalies, implying that the crust is moving (together with J.H.F. Umbgrove, B.G. Escher and Ph.H. Kuenen). (Wikipedia - Timeline of Geology)

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