which in many cases were based on first-hand observation, were used to earthquakes (which he thought were caused by underground winds), thunder, The Parts of Animals, and Meteorology. Among these correct predictions are the following. The snakes, Opheis, similarly had blood, but no legs, and laid dry eggs, so were a separate group. After used the word in a much broader sense, covering, as he put it, In turn, animals could be classified by their way of [86], Aristotle did not write anything that resembles a modern, unified textbook of biology. echinoderms); (3) In classifying animals, Aristotle rejected the idea of dividing them solely by their external structures (e.g., animals with wings and those without wings).

Animals had both a vegetative and a sensitive soul, responsible for mobility and sensation.

He divided the animals into two types: those with blood, and those The metabolic system for live-bearing tetrapods[f] described in the Parts of Animals can be modelled as an open system, a branching tree of flows of material through the body. Aristotle remained the principal authority in biology for the next two thousand years. [22], From the data he collected and documented, Aristotle inferred quite a number of rules relating the life-history features of the live-bearing tetrapods (terrestrial placental mammals[j]) that he studied. Aristotle further emphasises the informational nature of form by arguing that a body is compounded of elements like earth and fire, just as a word is compounded of letters in a specific order. With Aristotle and Theophrastus, the great Greek period of scientific investigation came to an end. [66][67], Aristotle still represented the enemy of true science into the 20th century. Aristotle's writings on biology, the first in the history of science, are scattered across several books, forming about a quarter of his writings that have survived. Among them, the selachians Selakh (sharks and rays), had cartilages instead of bones.[43]. chambered stomachs of ruminants and the social organization of potential, their matter, and of a reality, their form; Aristotle is said to have written 150 philosophical treatises. Michael Scot translated much of Aristotle's biology into Latin, c. 1225, along with many of Averroes's commentaries. reconciled with Christian doctrine into a philosophical system known as [10][11], All the tissues are in Aristotle's view completely uniform parts with no internal structure of any kind; a cartilage for example was the same all the way through, not subdivided into atoms as Democritus (c. 460c. Of all the works of Aristotle that have survived, none deals with what was later differentiated as botany, although it is believed that he wrote at least two treatises on plants. To a modern biologist, such a scale suggests, Scot translated HA, GA, and PA, and all of the. he distinguished whales and dolphins from fish; he described the Further, he provided mechanical, non-vitalist analogies for these theories, mentioning bellows, toy carts, the movement of water through porous pots, and even automatic puppets. and decay, and by its agency the finest and sweetest water is every day carried treatises, and a few may not be the work of Aristotle but of members of impede observational science. however, are thought to be "lecture notes" instead of complete, polished Edward Wotton similarly helped to found modern zoology by arranging the animals according to Aristotle's theories, separating out folklore from his 1552 De differentiis animalium. [33], Among many other things, he gave accurate descriptions of the four-chambered stomachs of ruminants, and of the ovoviviparous embryological development of the dogfish. about 347 -- the picture at the top of this page, taken from Raphael's fresco The next figures significant enough to be named in MarineBio's history, for example, are, Leroi has written several papers on the subject, cited in his book, and made a BBC film, Emily Kearns, "Animals, knowledge about," in, Annas, "Classical Greek Philosophy", 2001, p. 252. Aristotle's main biological works are the five books sometimes grouped as On Animals (De Animalibus), namely, with the conventional abbreviations shown in parentheses: together with On the Soul (De Anima) (DA).[63]. Especially in Italy, scholars such as Pietro Pomponazzi and Agostino Nifo lectured and wrote commentaries on Aristotle. [s][84] The concept of homology began with Aristotle,[85] and the evolutionary developmental biologist Lewis I. Aristotle's biology is the theory of biology, grounded in systematic observation and collection of data, mainly zoological, embodied in Aristotle's books on the science. These seeds thus contain form, or in modern terms information.

(2) Nature is parsimonious; it does not expend unnecessary energy. what we now define as insects); shelled animals (such as most Leroi noted that in 1985, Peter Medawar stated in "pure seventeenth century"[68] tones that Aristotle had assembled "a strange and generally speaking rather tiresome farrago of hearsay, imperfect observation, wishful thinking and credulity amounting to downright gullibility". Like Aristotle, Theophrastus was a keen observer, although his works do not express the depth of original thought exemplified by his teacher. No similarly detailed work on zoology was attempted until the sixteenth century; accordingly Aristotle remained highly influential for some two thousand years. In addition to writing the earliest detailed description of how to pollinate the date palm by hand and the first unambiguous account of sexual reproduction in flowering plants, he also recorded observations on seed germination and development. (5) Aristotles observations also led to the formulation of the principle that general structures appear before specialized ones and that tissues differentiate before organs. [33] His claim that the octopus had a hectocotyl arm which was perhaps used in sexual reproduction[34] was widely disbelieved, until its rediscovery in the 19th century. [59][60], The book was mentioned by Al-Kind (d. 850), and commented on by Avicenna (Ibn Sn) in his Kitb al-if ( , The Book of Healing). Although Aristotle recognized that species are not stable and unalterable and although he attempted to classify the animals he observed, he was far from developing any pre-Darwinian ideas concerning evolution. [10][11], At each stage of metabolism, residual materials are excreted as faeces, urine, and bile. a living plant or animal form. [m][43][44], Animals with blood included live-bearing tetrapods, Ziotoka tetrapoda (roughly, the mammals), being warm, having four legs, and giving birth to their young. In fact, he rejected any suggestion of natural selection and sought teleological explanations (i.e., all phenomena in nature are shaped by a purpose) for any given observation. A full description of Aristotle's contributons to science and philosophy is The pneuma first makes the heart appear; this is vital, as the heart nourishes all other organs. [76] Darwin considered Aristotle the most important early contributor to biological thought. that survive touch on an enormous range of philosophical problems, His early years were spent as a surgeon at the gladiatorial arena, which gave him the opportunity to observe details of human anatomy. This forms the embryo; it is then developed by the action of the pneuma (literally, breath or spirit) in the semen. history of science: The founding of modern biology. from beginning to end whole nations perish and are destroyed. This was an important achievement because Greek scientists of that period had no established scientific terminology for specific structures. The material cause is simply what a system is constructed from. [20], Aristotle has been called unscientific[21] by philosophers from Francis Bacon onwards[21] for at least two reasons: his scientific style,[22] and his use of explanation. for texts dealing extensively with Scholasticism. Though Aristotle's work in zoology was not without errors, it was the grandest [17][16], Aristotle's inheritance model sought to explain how the parents' characteristics are transmitted to the child, subject to influence from the environment. Biological practices among Assyrians and Babylonians, Biological knowledge of Egyptians, Chinese, and Indians, Theories about humankind and the origin of life, The Arab world and the European Middle Ages, The discovery of the circulation of blood, The establishment of scientific societies, The use of structure for classifying organisms, The development of comparative biological studies, The study of the reproduction and development of organisms, Important conceptual and technological developments, Intradisciplinary and interdisciplinary work. It is Lifespan increases with gestation period, and also with body mass, so that elephants live longer than mice, have a longer period of gestation, and are heavier. [55] It is not until the age of Alexandria under the Ptolemies that advances in biology resumed. He worked out the hydrologic cycle: lightning, rainbows, and meteors, comets, and the Milky Way (which he thought Aristotle's method, too, resembled the style of science used by modern biologists when exploring a new area, with systematic data collection, discovery of patterns, and inference of possible causal explanations from these. As a father to the science, he stands alone. The incoming material, food, enters the body and is concocted into blood; waste is excreted as urine, bile, and faeces, and the element fire is released as heat. beyond the scope of this exhibit, but a brief summary can be made: He separated the aquatic mammals from fish, and knew that sharks and rays were part of the group he called Selach (roughly, the modern zoologist's selachians[l]). gopher from Virginia Tech. The system of regulation of temperature and breathing described in Youth and Old Age, Life and Death 26 is sufficiently detailed to permit modelling as a negative feedback control system (one that maintains a desired property by opposing disturbances to it), with a few assumptions such as a desired temperature to compare the actual temperature against. In living creatures, the form was Around the middle of the 4th century bce, ancient Greek science reached a climax with Aristotle, who was interested in all branches of knowledge, including biology. [5][8][9], Aristotle's account of metabolism sought to explain how food was processed by the body to provide both heat and the materials for the body's construction and maintenance. [i][18], Aristotle's model of embryogenesis sought to explain how the inherited parental characteristics cause the formation and development of an embryo. [32], His observations on catfish, electric fish (Torpedo) and angler fish are detailed, as is his writing on cephalopods including the octopus, cuttlefish and paper nautilus. from biology and physics to morals to aesthetics to politics. Aristotle used the word (gnos) to mean a kind. It has an Aristotelian structure, but rather than focus on formal causes, as Aristotle did, Theophrastus described how plants functioned. The highest animals gave birth to warm and wet creatures alive, the lowest bore theirs cold, dry, and in thick eggs. Aristotle's classification of animals grouped together animals with similar did not contradict the Bible -- as eternal truth. Food products reach the heart and are processed into new blood, releasing fire during metabolism, which raises the blood temperature too high. linnaeus taxonomy carl living things history classification system science carolus biology st he shmoop agnes class complete [61] The scholastic natural philosophy curriculum omitted most of Aristotle's biology, but included On the Soul. He spent two years observing and describing the zoology of Lesbos and the surrounding seas, including in particular the Pyrrha lagoon in the centre of Lesbos. [10][11], Aristotle's account of temperature regulation sought to explain how an animal maintained a steady temperature and the continued oscillation of the thorax needed for breathing. [21], Readers of Aristotle have found the four causes that he uses in his biological explanations opaque,[30] something not helped by many centuries of confused exegesis. He was trained first in medicine, and then in 367 he was sent The fishes, Ikhthyes, had blood but no legs, and laid wet eggs, forming a definite group. [a] For example, the kind of animal called a bird has feathers, a beak, wings, a hard-shelled egg, and warm blood. Scholasticism, Aristotelian philosophy became the official philosophy of He recognized instead a basic unity of plan among diverse organisms, a principle that is still conceptually and scientifically sound. [13], The system worked as follows. Held commented that[86], The deep thinker who would be most amused by .. deep homologies is Aristotle, who was fascinated by the natural world but bewildered by its inner workings. to death, he fled to the island of Euboea, where he died soon after. Apart from his pupil, Theophrastus, who wrote a matching Enquiry into Plants, no research of comparable scope was carried out in ancient Greece, though Hellenistic medicine in Egypt continued Aristotle's inquiry into the mechanisms of the human body. Aristotle saw ultimate reality in physical objects, knowable through Great; after Alexander conquered Athens, Aristotle returned to Aristotle stated in the History of Animals that all beings were arranged in a fixed scale of perfection, reflected in their form (eidos). the Academy. The most-important part of Aristotles work was that devoted to reproduction and the related subjects of heredity and descent. Criticism of his errors and secondhand reports continued for centuries. Many of his observations were made during his stay on the island of Lesbos, including especially his descriptions of the marine biology of the Pyrrha lagoon, now the Gulf of Kalloni. [38], Aristotle distinguished about 500 species of birds, mammals and fishes in History of Animals and Parts of Animals.

It takes its form from wood (its material cause); the tools and carving technique used to make it (its efficient cause); and the design laid out for it (its eidos or embedded information). [p] Albertus Magnus commented extensively on Aristotle, but added his own zoological observations and an encyclopedia of animals based on Thomas of Cantimpr. The Aristotelian soul died with the animal and was thus purely biological. [10], The system worked as follows. In Boardman, John; Griffin, Jasper; Murray, Oswyn (ed.). Aristotle did not nest his groups into a hierarchical tree. Illustration of the ancient Library of Alexandria, Egypt. Blood is made into flesh, the rest forming other earthy tissues such as bones, teeth, cartilages and sinews. Some of these interlock, referring to each other, while others, such as the drawings of The Anatomies are lost, but referred to in the History of Animals, where the reader is instructed to look at the diagrams to understand how the animal parts described are arranged.[87]. That raises the heart temperature, causing lung volume to increase, in turn raising the airflow at the mouth. [16], There is thus a causal chain which transmits information from a sense organ to an organ capable of making decisions, and onwards to a motor organ. It sought to explain how changes in the world led to appropriate behaviour in the animal. One of the most outstanding of those individuals was Herophilus, who dissected human bodies and compared their structures with those of other large mammals. Other modes of reproduction recognized by him included budding (asexual reproduction), sexual reproduction without copulation, and sexual reproduction with copulation.

al." For more general information, try this reasoning souls. without blood (or at least without red blood). [54], After Theophrastus, though interest in Aristotle's ideas survived, they were generally taken unquestioningly. "all the affections we may call common to air and water, and the kinds and [18][19] The model is partly asymmetric, as only the father's movements define the form or eidos of the species, while the movements of both the father's and the mother's uniform parts define features other than the form, such as the father's eye colour or the mother's nose shape. The cetaceans, Ktd, also had blood and gave birth to live young, but did not have legs, and therefore formed a separate group[n] (megista gen, defined by a set of functioning "parts"[45]). Here he discusses had higher souls which could feel, and humans alone had rational, The Tech Classics Archive at MIT has Aristotle's Aristotle observed that the heart is the first organ seen to be active (beating) in a hen's egg. Elsewhere, authors used Aristotle as one of their sources, alongside their own and their colleagues' observations, to create new encyclopedias such as Konrad Gessner's 1551 Historia Animalium. Inheritance is thus particulate (definitely one trait or another), as in Mendelian genetics, unlike the Hippocratic model which was continuous and blending. In this sense, Aristotle's biology is scientific. [3], Aristotle's biology is constructed on the basis of his theory of form, which is derived from Plato's theory of Forms, but significantly different from it. His observations on the anatomy of (4) By his observations, Aristotle realized the importance of structural homology, basically similar organs in different animals, and functional analogy, different structures that serve somewhat the same functione.g., the hand, the claw, and the hoof are analogous structures. [71][72][73][74], Darwin quoted a passage from Aristotle's Physics II 8 in The Origin of Species, which entertains the possibility of a selection process following the random combination of body parts. Aristotle Gessner borrowed the title from one of Aristotle's books. traveling, and possibly studying biology, in Asia Minor (now Turkey) and its the genera. [18], The child's sex can be influenced by factors that affect temperature, including the weather, the wind direction, diet, and the father's age. [21] His systematic gathering of data, too, is obscured by the lack of modern methods of presentation, such as tables of data: for example, the whole of History of Animals Book VI is taken up with a list of observations of the life histories of birds that "would now be summarized in a single table in Nature and in the Online Supplementary Information at that". [22][27] This style is common in modern biology when large amounts of data become available in a new field, such as genomics. In this respect, the model is analogous to a modern understanding of information processing such as in sensory-motor coupling. Features other than sex also depend on whether the semen overpowers the menses, so if a man has strong semen, he will have sons who resemble him, while if the semen is weak, he will have daughters who resemble their mother. Fused and Those principles constitute the basis for the biological field of study known as comparative anatomy. bees; he noticed that some sharks give birth to live young -- his molluscs and the Roman Catholic Church. The association of his work with medieval scholasticism, as well as errors in his theories, caused Early Modern scientists such as Galileo and William Harvey to reject Aristotle. [1] This study made him the earliest scientist whose written work survives. The bloodless animals were He returned to Athens and founded his own school, the Lycaeum, where he taught for the last dozen years of his life. Aristotle's thoughts on earth sciences can be found in his treatise For that reason, both Aristotle and Theophrastus were obliged to write very long descriptions of structures that can be described rapidly and simply today. Aristotle described the embryological development of a chick; Because of that difficulty, Theophrastus sought to develop a scientific nomenclature by giving special meaning to words that were then in more or less current use; for example, karpos for fruit and perikarpion for seed vessel. periods of time which are so immense compared with the length of our life, He uses the same Greek word, (eidos), to mean first of all the set of visible features that uniquely characterised a kind of animal. Aristotle's writings are also available on Further, Aristotle also believed that the entire living world could be described as a unified organization rather than as a collection of diverse groups. teachings, and when Plato died, Aristotle was not appointed head of His followers called him life, their actions, or, most importantly, by their parts. As a final example, fecundity decreases with lifespan, so long-lived kinds like elephants have fewer young in total than short-lived kinds like mice. [51][52] Where Aristotle expanded on grand theories, Theophrastus was quietly empirical. His writings on zoology form about a quarter of his surviving work. Or visit Meteorology -- the word today means the study of weather, but Aristotle Aristotle heard Plato's view and developed it into a set of three biological concepts. Some fat from all around the body is made into semen. At that time in Rome, however, it was considered improper to dissect human bodies, and, as a result, a detailed study of human anatomy was not possible. one of the ironies of the history of science that Aristotle's writings, Ideas or eternal forms, knowable only through reflection and reason, In an 1882 letter he wrote that "Linnaeus and Cuvier have been my two gods, though in very different ways, but they were mere schoolboys to old Aristotle". [40][41][42] His system of classification, one of the earliest in scientific taxonomy, was influential for over two thousand years. [q] The title and the philosophical approach were Aristotelian, but the work was largely new. Each was defined in some detail, in some cases sufficient to enable modern biologists to create mathematical models of the mechanisms described. Nevertheless, many important scientific principles, some of which are often thought of as 20th-century concepts, can be ascribed to Aristotle. But the real Aristotle did provide biological mechanisms, in the form of the five processes of metabolism, temperature regulation, information processing, embryonic development, and inheritance that he developed. parts of the earth and the affections of its parts." He did not perform experiments in the modern sense, but made observations of living animals and carried out dissections. octopus, cuttlefish, crustaceans, and many other marine invertebrates are Though a brilliant pupil, Aristotle opposed some of Plato's [g][13], The mechanism only works if the air is cooler than the reference temperature. islands. family. [75] However, Aristotle immediately rejected the possibility, and he was in any case discussing ontogeny, the Empedoclean coming into being of an individual from component parts, not phylogeny and natural selection. As a result, some scientific discoveries in the The system as described damps out fluctuations in temperature. biological synthesis of the time, and remained the ultimate authority [21] The French playwright Molire's 1673 play The Imaginary Invalid portrays the quack Aristotelian doctor Argan blandly explaining that opium causes sleep by virtue of its dormitive [sleep-making] principle, its virtus dormitiva. that these changes are not observed, and before their course can be recorded and many accepted every word of his writings -- or at least every word that The blooded animals, Fortunately, however, the work of Theophrastus, one of Aristotles students, has been preserved to represent plant science of the Greek period. thus, a block of marble -- matter -- has the potential to assume whatever He discusses winds, The goal (final cause) and formal cause are what something is for, its function: to a modern biologist, such teleology describes adaptation under the pressure of natural selection. Although he was wrong in supposing that blood flows from the veins into the arteries, he was correct in assuming that small interconnecting vessels exist. in their form -- such as most D'Arcy Thompson translated History of Animals in 1910, making a classically-educated zoologist's informed attempt to identify the animals that Aristotle names, and to interpret and diagram his anatomical descriptions. Aristotle however predicted that his system would cause lung oscillation (breathing), which is possible given extra assumptions such as of delays or non-linear responses. [k][29] Argan's explanation is at best empty (devoid of mechanism),[21] at worst vitalist. [77][78], Zoologists have frequently mocked Aristotle for errors and unverified secondhand reports. corresponding to the vertebrates, included five genera: viviparous quadrupeds (mammals), His theory is based on his concept of form, which derives from but is markedly unlike Plato's theory of Forms. [24] He used the ancient Greek term pepeiramenoi to mean observations, or at most investigative procedures,[25] such as (in Generation of Animals) finding a fertilised hen's egg of a suitable stage and opening it so as to be able to see the embryo's heart inside. His model of Earth history contains some remarkably

[28], Aristotle's use of explanation has been considered "fundamentally unscientific". Biologists continue to offer explanations of these same kinds. his school. Erasistratus, a younger contemporary and reputed rival of Herophilus who also worked at the museum in Alexandria, studied the valves of the heart and the circulation of blood. He has found better acceptance among zoologists, and some of his long-derided observations in marine biology have been found in modern times to be true. Kruk, R., 2003, "La zoologie aristotlicienne. Plants had a vegetative soul, responsible for reproduction and growth. Translation of Arabic versions and commentaries into Latin brought knowledge of Aristotle back into Western Europe, but the only biological work widely taught in medieval universities was On the Soul. [49][9] However, Aristotle is careful never to insist that a group fits perfectly in the scale; he knows animals have many combinations of attributes, and that placements are approximate. [20], The system worked as follows. Aristotle's political situation became precarious. The animal's sense organ is altered when it detects an object. On the basis of his knowledge, he wrote a general anatomical treatise, a special one on the eyes, and a handbook for midwives. Athens and set up a school of his own, known as the Lyceum. Avempace (Ibn Bjja) and Averroes (Ibn Rushd) commented on On the Parts of Animals and Generation of Animals, Averroes criticising Avempace's interpretations. He describes the internal anatomy of over a hundred animals, and dissected around 35 of these. Because his work was extensive and clearly written, Galens writings, nevertheless, dominated medicine for centuries. [30][21], Aristotle was the first person to study biology systematically. Using his observations and theories, Aristotle was the first to attempt a system of animal classification, in which he contrasted animals containing blood with those that were bloodless. books on animals are filled with such observations, some of which were not Leftover blood is made into fat, whether soft suet or hard lard. (which included the spiders, scorpions, and centipedes, in addition to He returned to Macedonia in 338 to tutor Alexander the [4] Real things in the world could, in Plato's view, at best be approximations to these perfect Forms. simply because they were not found in Aristotle. up and is dissolved into vapour and rises to the upper region, where it The main biology texts were the History of Animals, Generation of Animals, Movement of Animals, Progression of Animals, Parts of Animals, and On the Soul, as well as the lost drawings of The Anatomies which accompanied the History. The bloodless animals were divided into the cephalopods, the higher crustaceans, the insects, and the testaceans, the last group being a collection of all the lower animals.