Academy,  1 (1869–70), 258–59.

[Review of Outlines of Comparative Anatomy, by Carl Gegenbaur]  [1/2]

George Rolleston


Review, Serial

Publications reviewed:

Gegenbaur 1870


Comparative Anatomy, Darwinism, Biology, Morphology, History of Science, Historiography, Naturphilosophie, Animal Development, Microscopy, Nomenclature, Spontaneous Generation, Controversy

    In comparing this second edition of Carl Gegenbaur's book with the first edition published in 1859, Rolleston remarks on 'the influence which our great English writer on Biology [Charles R Darwin] has exercised in the course of the decennium just ended'. Notes the 'increasing hold which the study of morphology is obtaining on the minds, not only of experts and specialists, but of thinkers generally', and then surveys the 'varying fortunes of the study of Comparative Anatomy' from before Aristotle to the present day. (258) The theory of development of Jean-Baptiste P A de Monet, chevalier de Lamarck, is 'much better based than any of the similar theories' adumbrated by the German school of Naturphilosophie, and since the publication of Darwin 1859 there has been a 'rehabilitation of the doctrine of the mutability of species after a half century of exile and ignominy'. Also welcomes 'the convenient nomenclature of Haeckel [...] with which the English ear has at last been made so familiar', but complains that in Gegenbaur's book there is 'no reference to the works of Mr. Herbert Spencer'. Gegenbaur's admission that spontaneous generation cannot be disproved is 'not without importance at the present juncture of the controversy between the Panspermists as represented by Pasteur, and their opponents just reinforced by the accession to their ranks of Dr. Charlton Bastian'. (259)

© Science in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical Project, Universities of Leeds and Sheffield, 2005 - 2020

Printed from Science in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical: An Electronic Index, v. 4.0, The Digital Humanities Institute <> [accessed ]