Major Discoveries in Biology
The list below briefly describes some scientific discoveries in the area of Biology
1. Explain One: Take one of the events from this list, find out more about it, and
present on it.
2. Add One: Present on a biological discovery that has taken place in the past 25
years. The list ends at 1974 and I'd like to add some more recent items to this list.
3. Predict One: Use your imagination to think of a biological discovery that might
happen in the near future (~10 years) Something that is currently being worked on
Timeline of Major Discoveries in Biology
460 BC Birth of Hippocrates
384 BC Birth of Aristotle
23 Birth of Pliny
129 Birth of Galen
1135 Birth of Maimonides
1275 First record of human dissection
1343 Venice starts commission on public health
1377 City of Ragusa uses isolation ('quarantina") to protect citizens from plague
1494 use of mercury in the treatment of syphilis
1530 Otto Brunfels' herbal, Herbarum Vivai Eicones
1530 Fracastoro publishes a long love poem entitled Syphilis
1532 Charles Estienne writes On Disscetion
1535 Cartier's party learns of Native Americans' cure for scurvy
1543 Versalius: De Humani Corporis Fabrica
1546 H. Fracastoro presents first theory that diseases are contageous
1561 Gabriele Fallopius' research on nervous and reproductive systems
1583 Cesalpino classifies plants according to their fruits and flowers
1584 Artificial respiration introduced by Johann Schenk von Grafenberg
1590 Zacgarias Janssen 1st compound microscope
1600 Heironymus Fabricius' On the Form of the Foetus attempts to explain
reproduction and development
1603 Fabricius: On the Values of the Veins
1623 Caspar Bauhin devises method for classifying plants
1626 Joseph of Aromatari presents basis for theory of preformation when
observing chick embryos
1628 William Harvey publishes De Motu Cordis
1633 Quinine first used in treatment of malaria
1648 Introsuction of "Glauber's salts"
1648 von Helmont measures water uptake in growing tree
1651 Harvey states an early view of epigenesis: "all creatures come from eggs"
1661 Malpighi observes capillaries
1665 Robert Hooke's Micrographia
1667 Richard Lower's blood transfusion from sheep to man
1668 Francesco Redi's experiments on spontaneous generation
1674 Leeuwenhoek observes and describes bacteria and protozoa
1676 Edme Mariotte hypothesizes that plants synthesize food from air and water
1685 One of the earliest reported ecological studies of an Irish peat bog
1693 John Ray provides first sytematic classification of animals
1707 Stahl: phlogiston theory of plant growth
1717 Thomas Fairchild produces hybrid by crossing dianthus and carnation
1727 Stephen Hales famous text Vegetable Staticks
1735 Carolus Linnaeus writes System Naturae to classify living things
1745 Joseph Needham thinks he observes spontaneous generation in hay infustion
1749 Buffon publishes the first volume of Natural History
1752 Reaumur's research on digestion and ilolation of gastric juices
1758 von Haller states an "ovist" view of embryology
1765 Spallanzani repeats Needham's experiments with hay infustion
1766 von Haller classifiew the thyroid, thymus, and spleen as "ductless glands"
1772 Priestly observes that plants release oxygen
1779 Jan Ingenhousz describes carbon cycle, respiration in plants
1786 Luigi Galvani discovers "animal electricity"
1795 British Navy uses limes to prevent scurvy
1796 Edward Jenner: first smallpox vaccination
1798 Malthus: An Essay on the Principal of Population
1799 T. A. Knight investigates tropisms
1804 DeSaussare demonstrates role of water in photosynthesis
1805 Oken suggests primitive form of cell theory
1809 Lamarck's Zoological Philosophy
1819 Shirreff begins series of experiments on hybridization of wheat
1822 William Beaumont begins his observations of digestion in Alexis St. Martin
1824 Prout demonstrates presence of HCl in gastric juices
1828 Wohler synthesises urea
1828 von Baer first observes mammalian egg
1825 Cuvier's book Research on Fossil Bones, the foundation of paleontology
1830 First publication of the Precedings of the Zoological Society of London
1831 Darwin set sail on The Beagle
1831 Robert Brown identifies the nucleus of a cell
1836 Felix Dujardin describes cytoplasm
1836 Plant structure depends soil in which it is grown: Unger
1840 von Liebig on the role of ammonia in plants
1845 Webers discovers inhibitory action of a nerve
1846 Semmelweis tries to introduce antiseptic procedures into hospitals
1855 Pringsheim observes cellular fussion
1856 Journal of the Linnean Society's first issue
1857 Neanderthal fossil discovered
1858 Virschow's Cellular Pathology
1858 Darwin & Wallace report theory of evolution
1862 Julius Sachs demonstrates role of sunlight in photosynthesis
1863 Kerner: early statement of the doctrine of ecological succession
1863 Casimir Davaine identifies bacillus anthracis as cause of anthrax
1865 Claude Bernard: Introduction to Experimental Medicine
1868 First Cromagnon remains found
1869 Friedrich Miescher identifies nucleic acid
1871 Bowditch: "All-or-none" rule of nerve action
1871 The Descent of Man
1874 Ernst Haechel: "Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny"
1875 Mitosis in plants (Strasburger)
1878 Joseph Lister: antiseptic surgery
1879 Fol sees union of sperm & ovum in animal
1880 Laverau discovers the cause of malaria
1881 Pasteur's research on anthrax
1882 Ringer's solution
1882 Mitosis in animals (Flemming)
1883 Francis Galton's eugenics movement
1884 Hans Christiam Jochim Gram's discovery
1885 First series of rabies injections
1885 van Benedeu discovers meiosis
1886 Berthelot demonstrates fixing of nitrogen by bacteria
1888 Waldeyer uses the term "chromosome" for the first time
1888 Roux's experiments on frog embryos
1891 Henking discovers the "X-chromosome"
1892 August Weismann's Theory of Germ Plasm
1893 Smith and Kilborne outline cycle for Texas cattle fever
1895 First book on ecology (Warming)
1896 Christiaan Eijkman's studies on beri-beri
1897 Bucher learns that extracts from yeast cells cause fermentation
1897 Benda describes mitochondria
1898 Pavlov begins research on "conditional responses"
1900 Mendel's work rediscovered
1901 Aldrich adn Takamine isolate adrenaline
1902 Sutton and Boveri: chromosomal theory of inheritance
1902 Landsteiner announces four "blood types"
1902 Walter Sutton suggests that genes are physical units on chromosomes
1905 Bayliss and Starling demonstrate existence and behavior of hormones
1905 Blackman shows that photosynthesis involves both "light" and "dark"
1907 Ross Harrison develops an important tissue culture technique
1908 Statement of the Hardy-Wienberg law
1908 Nilsson-Ehle provieds experimental evidence for "multiple gene hypothesis"
1910 Thomas Hunt Morgan: Gene theory of inherritance
1912 Funk suggests the name "vitamine"
1913 Discovery of vitamin A
1915 Friedrick Twort describes bacteriophage
1915 Yamagiwa adn Ichikawa discover chemical carcinogens
1916 Calvin Bridges provides experimental proof for Sutton's hypothesis of 1902
1920 Banting and Best isolate insulin
1924 Australopithecus africanus
1925 Scopes trial
1926 Chromosome inversions predicted by C.B. Bridges
1927 H.J. Muller induces mutations with X-rays
1928 Alexander Flemming's discovery of penecillin
1929 Zondek and Ascheim discover estrone
1930 R.A. Fisher and S. Wright provide mathematical foundations for population
1932 Kroll and Ruska: first electron microscope
1932 Gerhard Domagk: sulfanilamide
1933 Thadeus Reichstein synthesizes ascorbic acid
1935 Wendell Stanley prepares virus in crystalline form
1935 Fritz Zernicke: first phase contrast microscope
1940 Rene Dubos discovers gramicidin & tyrocidin
1940 The Krebs Cycle
1941 Beadle and Tatum: One-gene, one-enzyme hypothesis
1944 Avery, McLeod, and McCarty show that DNA controls heredity effects
1946 Genetic recombination demonstrated
1951 American Institute of Biological Science formed
1953 Watson and Crick provide a model for DNA
1953 Stanley Miller experiment produces amino acid in "possible primitive earth
1953 Sanger and Tuppy announce amino acid sequence in insulin
1957 Isaacs discovers interferon
1958 Lederberg discovers plasmids
1959 Moore and Stein determine the chemical structure of the ribonucleuse
1959 L.S.B. Leaky reports the find of fossil man Zinjanthropus
1961 Norenberg and Ochoa "crack" DNA and messenger RNA codes
1963 John Enders isolates measles vaccine
1967 Kornberg, Goulian, and Sinsheimer synthesize DNA molecule
1967 David Harker and associates discover the sequence of 124 amino acids in
1967 Dr. Christian Bernard: first heart transplant
1967 Weiss & Green fuse mouse and human cells
1968 First amniacentesis in diagnosing fetus
1969 Gutte and Merrifield complete chemical synthesis of ribonucleuse
1974 Concerned geneticists call for ban on certain types of genetic research
1974 First totally successful fertilization of human ovum outside human body
Instructions for Single/Pair/Group(no more than 3) Presentation
1. Single or (group preferred).
2. Discuss and choose a topic from the list above or perhaps another topic not
on the list.
3. Put your choice on the whiteboard to stake your territory (we do not want overlap).
4. Continue your discussions, make group and individual assignments to do background
research into the topic. You need to have material to discuss as a group next time you
5. A group meeting outside class time may be a great idea, but be aware that it is hard to
make this a “required” meeting as this is not official class time, so attendance at this
meeting is your business as a group.
a. Background info on the topic who, when where, how? What does this mean why
was it significant? What are the methods involved if any?
b. Also the methods involved in the process described. Great place to include images
or short video.
c. It is required that you include background to the “science” of the technology you
d. Every group member must take some active part in the actual presentation.
e. Attendance is required for the presentation.
f. On the day of your presentation, make sure you are ready to go at a moment’s
notice. We do not want a five minute down time between presentations.
g. The presentation will be completed via powerpoint. The time should be between
10-12 minutes in length.
h. Must reference all materials also must provide source for all images photos etc.