Foundations

» evolution, physiology, culture and anatomy

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The 19th century biologist’s drawings, tainted by scandal, helped bolster, then later dismiss, his biogenetic law.

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By ditching traditional agar-based media, two biochemists captured iconic images of Myxococcus in 1982.

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image: Whaling Specimens, 1930s

Whaling Specimens, 1930s

By | September 1, 2015

Fetal specimens collected by commercial whalers offer insights into how whales may have evolved their specialized hearing organs.

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image: A Visionary’s Poor Vision, 1685

A Visionary’s Poor Vision, 1685

By | October 1, 2014

William Briggs’s theory of optic nerve architecture was unusual and incorrect, but years later it led to Isaac Newton’s explanation of binocular vision.

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image: Imaging Intercourse, 1493

Imaging Intercourse, 1493

By | July 1, 2014

For centuries, scientists have been trying to understand the mechanics of human intercourse. MRI technology made it possible for them to get an inside view.

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image: Discovering Archaea, 1977

Discovering Archaea, 1977

By | March 1, 2014

Ribosomal RNA fingerprints reveal the three domains of life.

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image: Fantastical Fish, circa 1719

Fantastical Fish, circa 1719

By | January 1, 2014

A collection of colorful drawings compiled by publisher Louis Renard sheds light on eighteenth-century science.

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image: The Neuron Doctrine, circa 1894

The Neuron Doctrine, circa 1894

By | November 1, 2013

Santiago Ramón y Cajal used a staining technique developed by Camillo Golgi to formulate the idea that the neuron is the basic unit of the nervous system.

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image: Sketching out Cell Theory, circa 1837

Sketching out Cell Theory, circa 1837

By | August 1, 2013

How a dinner-table conversation between two biologists led to the formulation of the theory that cells are the building blocks of all living organisms.

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image: Flying Frog, 1855

Flying Frog, 1855

By | May 1, 2013

Alfred Russel Wallace, Darwin’s unheralded codiscoverer of the theory of evolution by natural selection, found inspiration in the specimens he collected on his travels.

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