Writing in this weeks issue of Nature, Professor Paul Pearson relates how he discovered an account of the theory - regarded as one of the most important in the history of science – in a rare 1794 publication by geologist, James Hutton. Darwins Origin of Species was published in 1859. Professor Pearson tracked down a copy, which runs to three volumes and more than 2000 pages, in the National Library of Scotland. Couched in the middle of the second volume is a whole chapter on the selection theory. It supplements an earlier discovery of a similar account in an unpublished manuscript by Hutton, the Elements of Agriculture.
Professor Pearson, of the University’s School of Earth, Ocean and Planetary Sciences
In the Nature article, Professor Pearson explains how Huttons experiments in animal and plant breeding led him to observe that new traits arise in animals and plants in every generation. He appreciated that this "seminal variation" is passed on to the offspring, unlike the variety induced by differences in soil or climate.
Hutton went on to argue that "those which depart most from the best adapted constitution, will be most liable to perish", whereas the best adapted survive to multiply the race. Thereby species would be continually adapting to local conditions, and also able to meet the demands of a changing environment. "Although he never used the term, Hutton clearly articulated the principle of evolution by natural selection," said Professor Pearson. "However he specifically rejected the idea of transformations between species. For him, it was all about how separately created species adapt to their local conditions."
Professor Paul Pearson | EurekAlert!
A Map of the Cell’s Power Station
18.08.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau
On the way to developing a new active ingredient against chronic infections
18.08.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für Infektionsforschung
Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
16.08.2017 | Event News
04.08.2017 | Event News
26.07.2017 | Event News
18.08.2017 | Life Sciences
18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences