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News: Underwater caves off Yucatan yield three old skeletonsóremains date to 11,000 B.C.
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Timeline of the great findings of Paleontology and Biology

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Rebecca
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« on: September 05, 2008, 01:26:14 pm »

1600-William Gilbert, court physician to Elizabeth I, describes the earth's magnetism in De Magnete.

1603-Prince Federico Cesi establishes the Lincean, or Lyncean, Academy in Rome, perhaps the first scientific academy of the modern era.

1605-Richard Verstegan describes plesiosaur remains but thinks they belong to "fishes."

1616-Fabio Colonna publishes "Dissertation on Tongue Stones" arguing that "nobody is so stupid" that he or she will not agree that tongue stones are really shark teeth. Like Rondelet several decades earlier, he attracts little attention.

1616-Fortunio Liceti publishes De Monstrorum Natura claiming that God makes monsters not to show divine wrath but to cause wonder.

1616-Italian philosopher Lucilio Vanini suggests that humans descended from apes.

1619-Italian philosopher Lucilio Vanini is burned alive for suggesting that humans descended from apes.

1620-Francis Bacon publishes Novum Organum, stressing the importance of experimentation.

1623-Gaspard Bauhin publishes Pinax Theatri Botanici describing some 6,000 plants.

1624-Galileo presents to Cesi, founder of the Lincean Academy, a "little eyeglass" (a microscope). The invention will enable the Linceans to study natural objects with unprecedented precision. They will start with bees, then move on to flies and dust mites.

1628-William Harvey publishes On the Motions of the Heart and Blood explaining that blood travels away from the heart in arteries, and back to the heart in veins.

1628-Caspar Bartholinus publishes a slim volume on the unicorn and related topics, describing horned bugs, birds, snakes and people.

1637-Francesco Stelluti publishes a summary of research on fossil wood conducted by himself and fellow Lincean Academy member Federico Cesi. Though resulting from meticulous research, the work reaches the wrong conclusion, describing the origin of fossil wood as inorganic.


1639-Ulisse Aldrovandi posthumously publishes a history of serpents.

1641-Dutch anatomist Nicolaas Tulp produces the first formal description of an ape (a chimp, bonobo or orangutan).

1641-Calvinist lawyer Isaac La Peyrère seeks permission to publish his manuscript claiming that people have existed before Adam, and that Chaldeans can legitimately trace their civilization back 470,000 years. Permission is denied, but he will publish Men Before Adam anonymously 14 years later, inciting both outrage and mild amusement among religious leaders.

1641-René Descartes publishes Principles of Philosophy arguing that the universe is governed by simple laws and that natural processes could have shaped the earth.

1642-Civil war breaks out in England.

1646-Perhaps influenced by Francis Bacon's call for a compilation of popular errors, English physician Sir Thomas Browne writes Pseudodoxia Epidemica exposing errors in medicine and natural science.

1650-Irish archbishop James Ussher calculates the date of creation, based on the ages of biblical prophets. Using his calculations, theologians will identify the date of creation as on October 26, 4004 BC.

1651-William Harvey publishes Disputations Touching the Generation of Animals explaining that all animal life begins as eggs, whether in birds, amphibians or mammals.

1655-Danish scholar Ole Worm publishes Musei Wormiani Historia, a successful book about his cabinet of natural curiosities.

1658-Jesuit missionary Martino Martini publishes a manuscript explaining that documented Chinese history predates the time generally understood to mark the Noah's flood (2,300 BC).

1659-John Tradescant deeds his family treasures to fellow collector Elias Ashmole. Ashmole will later donate the collection to Oxford University, stipulating that a separate building is to be constructed for it.

1661-Robert Boyle publishes The Sceptical Chymist helping to transform alchemy into chemistry. Though an alchemist himself with his own cache of secret notebooks, Boyle begins writing up experiments for use by others.

1663-German physicist Otto von Guericke pieces together bones from different species to make a fossil "unicorn."

1664-Thomas Willis publishes The Anatomy of the Brain and Nerves.

1665-Robert Hooke publishes Micrographia showing views of natural objects, including fossils, available with the newly invented microscope.

1665-Le Journal des Savants is first published in France, and Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society is first published in England.


1665-1678-Athanasius Kircher publishes Mundus Subterraneus.


1666-Physician Francesco Redi conducts experiments in spontaneous generation. He concludes that the dung and rotting meat in his experiments are merely breeding sites for preexisting vermin. Two years later, he will challenge the spontaneous generation claims of Kircher.

1666-Robert Boyle composes Free Inquiry into the Vulgarly Received Notion of Nature criticizing the notion that nature is capable of autonomy from God.

1667-Niels Stensen (Steno) describes his dissection of the head of a giant white shark and correctly identifies shark teeth, still generally thought (despite arguments to the contrary from Rondelet and Colonna in the preceding century) to be serpent tongues.


1667-The Royal Society of London conducts a sheep-to-human blood transfusion experiment. Remarkably, the human subject survives.

1667-Johann Homilius delivers a dissertation, De Monocerote, criticizing all those who doubt the existence of the unicorn, pointing to passages in the Bible as evidence for the creature's literal existence.

1668-Robert Hooke presents a lecture to the Royal Society claiming that earthquakes, not the biblical flood, have caused fossils to be found on mountaintops and buried in stone.

1668-Jan Swammerdam dissects a caterpillar for Cosimo de Medici, demonstrating that the butterfly wings already exist inside the caterpillar's body. A year later, he will publish Historia Insectorum Generalis.

1669-Niels Stensen (Steno) publishes Forerunner, showing diagrammatic sections of the Tuscany area geology, making the important point that sediments are deposited in horizontal layers.

1670-Agostino Scilla publishes Vain Speculation Undeceived by Sense arguing for the organic origin of fossils.

1672-1673-A German society of scholars reports that dragon bones have been found in the caves of the Carpathian Mountains and in Transylvania. (The bones probably really belong to a bear.)

1673-Dr. Olfert Dapper publishes Die Unbekante Neue Welt describing America. The book includes a picture of a unicorn with an American eagle on its back.

1673-Leeuwenhoek begins corresponding with the Royal Society of London describing his discoveries under the microscope.

1676-Naturalist Robert Plot describes what is actually a dinosaur bone. Although he accurately identifies it as the distal end of a femur, he attributes it to a giant human.


1679-Edward Lhwyd publishes a description of a "flatfish" in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. (The flatfish is really a trilobite, an ancient marine arthropod.)


1681-Thomas Burnet publishes The Sacred Theory of the Earth combining scripture with rationalism. He claims that mountains (viewed as ugly signs of decay) formed from a catastrophic flood, but that the earth will reassume a perfectly spherical shape.

1681-Amsterdam physician Gerard Blasius publishes Anatome Animalium examining animals' internal anatomy and skeletal structure.

1683-Oxford opens the Ashmolean Museum, the world's first public museum. The museum's practice of allowing entry to anyone who pays the admission fee horrifies scholars from continental Europe.

1693-Naturalist John Ray publishes Three Physicotheological Discourses about the Creation, the Deluge and the Conflagration, discussing conflicting theories about the nature of fossils.

1697-Scandinavian historian Olof Rudbeck publishes his attempt to chronologically measure sedimentary deposits, laying the foundations for the field of stratigraphy.

1699-Edward Tyson publishes Orang Outan, sive Homo sylvestris pointing out similarities between chimpanzee and human anatomy.

1699-Edward Lhwyd publishes a book devoted to British fossils. In it, he describes ichthyosaur remains as those of a fish.
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