de Beer, Sir Gavin


de Beer, Sir Gavin

▪ British zoologist
born Nov. 1, 1899, London
died June 21, 1972, Alfriston, Sussex, Eng.

      English zoologist and morphologist known for his contributions to experimental embryology, anatomy, and evolution.

      Concerned with analyzing developmental processes, de Beer published Introduction to Experimental Embryology (1926), in which he noted that certain structures (such as some cartilage and odontoblasts of dermal bones) previously thought to be derived from mesoderm according to the germ-layer theory were formed instead from ectoderm (neural crest). Of substantial importance is his Development of the Vertebrate Skull (1935). He was also interested, as were many of his generation, in the experimental, chemical, and physiological bases of embryonic development, a subject on which he wrote a text with Julian Huxley called The Elements of Experimental Embryology (1934).

      In Embryos and Ancestors (1940) he developed the concept of paedomorphosis, the retention in the adult of juvenile or infantile characteristics of ancestors, in opposition to phylogenetic recapitulation, the theory that an organism during embryonic development repeats the adult stages of its ancestors. He then suggested “clandestine evolution” to account for the absence in the fossil record of preliminary stages, because they occurred in the soft tissues of young ancestors. He discovered the sternum in the fossil Archaeopteryx, the reptilian and avian features of which led him to propose mosaic evolution, whereby piece-by-piece change marks the evolution of one type of animal to the next. He also did fundamental research on the pituitary gland.

      His antiquarian interests are shown by his application of biology to such historical problems as tracing the route of Hannibal's march across the Alps (by pollen analysis, glaciology, and other techniques) and tracing the origin of the Etruscans in Asia Minor by blood group data.

      De Beer taught at the University of Oxford (1926–38) and at University College, London (1945–50). He was director of the British Museum of Natural History (1950–60). He was knighted in 1954 and received many honours, including the Darwin Medal of the Royal Society (1958) and the Linnean Society Gold Medal (1958). He also published Embryology and Evolution (1930), Vertebrate Zoology: an Introduction to the Comparative Anatomy, Embryology and Evolution of Chordate Animals (1962), Charles Darwin: Evolution by Natural Selection (1963), and Atlas of Evolution (1964).

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Gavin de Beer — Sir Gavin Rylands de Beer (New Malden; 1 de noviembre de 1899 Alfriston, Sussex; 21 de junio de 1972). Embriólogo evolutivo británico, director del Museo británico de Historia Natural y presidente de la Sociedad linneana de Londres. Contenido 1… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Beer (disambiguation) — Beer may refer to:* Beer, an alcoholic beverage * Beer, Devon, a coastal town in Devon, England * Beer, Somerset, a hamlet in the parish of Cannington * Beer, NWFP, a Union Council in NWFP, Pakistan. * Beer Lambert law (named for August Beer), an …   Wikipedia

  • Gavin de Beer — Infobox Scientist name = PAGENAME box width = 280px image size = 150px caption = Portrait and short biography of Gavin de Beer from the back cover of his 1945 book Escape to Switzerland birth date = 1 November, 1899 birth place = Malden, Surrey… …   Wikipedia

  • Huxley, Sir Julian — ▪ British biologist in full  Sir Julian Sorell Huxley  born June 22, 1887, London died Feb. 14, 1975, London  English biologist, philosopher, educator, and author who greatly influenced the modern development of embryology, systematics, and… …   Universalium

  • Fabius Maximus — For other people with similar names, see Fabius#Fabii Maximi. Roman Dictator Quintus Fabius Maximus Verrucosus Cunctator Quintus Fabius Maximus Verrucosus Cunctator (ca. 280 BC – 203 BC) was a Roman politician and general, born in Rome around 280 …   Wikipedia

  • Charles Darwin — « Darwin » redirige ici. Pour les autres significations, voir Darwin (homonymie). Charles Darwin …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Charles Robert Darwin — Charles Darwin « Darwin » redirige ici. Pour les autres significations, voir Darwin (homonymie). Charles Darwin …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Darwin — Charles Darwin « Darwin » redirige ici. Pour les autres significations, voir Darwin (homonymie). Charles Darwin …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Edward Gibbon — Infobox Person caption = Edward Gibbon (1737–1794) birth date = April 27, 1737 death date = death date and age|1794|1|16|1737|4|27 birth place = Putney, England, UK death place = London, England, UKEdward Gibbon (April 27, 1737 [Gibbon s birthday …   Wikipedia

  • Freissinières — 44° 45′ 18″ N 6° 32′ 16″ E / 44.755, 6.53777777778 …   Wikipédia en Français


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.