Saturday, February 05, 2005

Ernst Mayr

Ernst Mayr passed away on Thursday. He was 100 years old and remained active till well into his 90's (publishing several books, for example). Mayr was one of the "founding fathers" of the Modern Synthesis. He also created the concept of allopatric speciation. He was one of the most important figures in evolutionary biology during the last 50 years. His impact could even be felt in anthropology, when, for example, Donald Johansen consulted with Mayr before creating the new species Australopithecus afarensis. Pretty remarkable when you consider that he started out as a Lamarkian! He will be sorely missed.

I would recommend the following books:

Animal Species and their Evolution
The Growth of Biological Thought
Systematics and the Origin of Species