Verzeitlichungs- und Historisierungstendenzen in der frühen Geologie und Paläontologie†

Berichte Zur Wissenschaftsgeschichte 8 (2):87-97 (1985)
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Steno described in 1669 geological sections which were interpreted as the result of a series of earlier events. Steno used actuogeological methods. This was the first step towards temporalizing nature. Steno was succeeded by a lot of other researchers from different European countries. It is amazing to see, that “actualism” was widespread during the 18th century. The next step was the discovery that fossils are extinct beings . Using methods of comparing anatomy W. Hunter could prove in 1769 that the Mastodon is an extinct vertebrate. The work of Soulavie in France is stressed. He held in his hand the key for solving the problem of index-fossils. About 1800 the importance of fossils for stratigraphy and describing a history of the earth was recognized. Theories and hypotheses were needed to explain the fossil documents . All these theories couldn't propose a feasible mechanism for the change of beings during the history of the earth. But it could be said, that all fossils proove a history of life and the earth i. e. a progressive development in one sense, a development which is not reversible



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Lamarck revisited.Ernst Mayr - 1972 - Journal of the History of Biology 5 (1):55-94.
Fontenelle et la géologie.Arthur Birembaut - 1957 - Revue d'Histoire des Sciences 10 (4):360-374.

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