Article ID: CBB016206696

René-Edouard Claparède (1832–1871), Genevan naturalist and early adopter of Darwin's theory of evolution (2023)


René-Edouard Claparède was a ground-breaking Swiss naturalist specializing primarily in invertebrate embryology and the study of Protista and Annelida. While a student in Berlin he was encouraged by Christian Ehrenberg to use the latest microscopes and became renowned as a skilful observer and illustrator of the smallest organisms then known and of tiny anatomical details. A popular lecturer in zoology and comparative anatomy in his home town of Geneva, he nonetheless encountered difficulties in that city, still considered the “Protestant Rome”, due to his strong support for Charles Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection. His involvement in the first French translation of On the origin of species (Darwin 1862) proved problematic too, although his remark, “It is better to be an improved ape than a degenerate Adam,” became a catchphrase in discussions of this contentious debate. Premature death meant that Claparède's work was quickly surpassed in many areas, but the diversity of his many publications, given here in the most complete bibliography compiled to date, is a testament to a widely respected, although overshadowed, naturalist.

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Authors & Contributors
Alter, Stephen G.
Anderson, Lyall I.
Barahona, Ana Echeverría
Canseco, Juan
Chancellor, Gordon
Ebach, Malte C.
Journal of the History of Biology
History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences
Annals of the History and Philosophy of Biology
Archives of Natural History
Biology and Philosophy
Journal for General Philosophy of Science
University of California, Berkeley
Duke University Press
Liguori Editore
Prometheus Books
World Scientific
Natural selection
Science and religion
Darwin, Charles Robert
Wallace, Alfred Russel
Lorenz, Konrad
Naef, Adolf
Ruskin, John
Simmel, Georg
Time Periods
19th century
20th century, early
20th century
Great Britain
Malay; Malaysia
United States
Linnean Society of London
United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)

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