Biology: A History Marked by Great Scientific Advances
HISTORY OF BIOLOGY
The concept of biology as a science composed of a coherent body of knowledge emerged only in the nineteenth century. However, we can say that since ancient Egypt there were studies of biology, because the Egyptians studied the human body to be able to perform mummification. In Ancient Greece there were also studies of living things. Aristotle, for example, studied living things in the fourth century BC.
Until the 17th century, researchers studied only living things visible to the naked eye. The most studied areas were Zoology (study of animals) and Botany (study of plants).
In the mid-seventeenth century some studies with cells begin. This advance was made possible with the improvement of the microscope, made by the English scientist Robert Hooke.
In the eighteenth century Biology has made a great advance. The French Earl of Buffon and the Swedish scientist Carl Lineu develop the theoretical foundations of biology.
The first system of classification of plants by genera and species is elaborated by Lineu in the eighteenth century.
Still in the eighteenth century, the naturalist Buffon lays the theoretical foundations of geology and palaeontology, both sciences of extreme importance to biology.
In the nineteenth century, there was a great advance in biology, which became an organized and systematized science. Several researchers travel to various regions of the world to expand their knowledge and to discover and catalog new species of animals and plants. At this time there are also many important advances in the study of fossils and in the area of geology.
The 19th century is also marked by Lamarck's theories, which propose that the physical characteristics acquired by a species as a result of the environment can be transmitted to its descendants.
In the second half of the nineteenth century, English naturalist Charles Darwin proposed the Theory of Evolution of Species.
The twentieth century is marked by the development of genetics. US geneticists James Watson and Francis Crick discover the structure of the DNA molecule. The period of research focused on the sequencing of the genome of several species, including the human one, begins.
Molecular biology develops and new areas of biology emerge, such as biochemistry and biophysics.
Major advances in the application of knowledge of biochemistry in the production of medicines and biophysics in medicine.
New Biology of Biology emerges in the second half of the twentieth century: Ethology (study of animal behavior), Ecology (relations of living beings with the environment), Paleontology (study of extinct species) and Physical Anthropology (study of evolution of the human species) ).