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By Isaac Asimov

In four hundred B.C., while Hippocrates wrote a ebook claiming that epilepsy, the “sacred disease,” was once a average illness and never a visitation of demons, the technological know-how if biology should be stated to have began. considering that then, curious naturalists have studied animals and plans, medical professionals hae sought solutions to very functional questions. The technological know-how of biology has grown—slowly firstly, preventing and beginning back, and development within the final century to a crescendo that has now not but reached its peak.

This concise, authoritative ebook lines the intriguing improvement of the technological know-how of existence, from the traditional Greeks during the enormous success of Charles Darwin to the explosive development of molecular biology that's leading to today’s nice breakthroughs in genetics and drugs. Written by means of Isaac Asimov, affiliate Professor of Biochemistry at Boston collage and writer of diverse books on technological know-how, it is a hugely readable, brilliant advent to the heritage and ideas of biology.

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Was easy to see that human beings and the larger animals arose only from the bodies of their mothers, or from eggs laid by the mothers, this was not so clear While it in the case of smaller animals. It was taken for granted worms and until modern times sects grew out of decaying meat and other corruption. " The istence classic example presented of spontaneous as evidence for the ex- generation was the appearance of maggots on decaying meat. It seemed obvious that A SHORT raSTORY OF BIOLOGY 32 these small wormlike organisms had formed out of the dead meat and almost One his all biologists accepted this fact.

The candle goes out and will no longer burn. all consumed, A SHORT HISTORY OF BIOLOGY 48 The situation a bell jar latter is similar for animal life. A mouse under consumes oxygen and forms carbon dioxide; the through the combination of the carbon in its tissue substance with oxygen. As the oxygen level in the air and dies. From the over-all point of view, plants consume carbon dioxide and produce oxygen, and animals consume oxygen and produce carbon dioxide. 03 per cent) remain steady. Since a candle and an animal both produce carbon oxide and consume oxygen, di- seemed reasonable to Lavoisier to suppose that respiration was a form of combustion and that when a particular amount of oxygen was consumed, a corresponding quantity of heat was produced whether it was a candle or a mouse that was involved.

The A Geological Background major diflSculty that stood in the way of all theories of evolution was the apparent slowness of species change. In the memory mankind there were no of cases of one species turning into another. If such a process did take place, therefore, it must be exceedingly slow, requiring, perhaps, hundreds of thousands of years. Yet throughout modem times, European scholars acwords of the Bible and considered the earth to be only some six thousand years old, and that left no time for an evolutionary process.

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