Biology

  • Jan 1, 1530

    German botanist Otto Brunfels publishes Living images of plants

    German botanist Otto Brunfels publishes Living images of plants the first serious work of natural history with printed illustrations.
  • Swiss Botanist Gaspard Bauhinbegins work classifying 6000 plants on a new binomial system of nomenclature

    Swiss botanist Gaspard Bauhin begins work classifying 6000 plants on a new binomial system of nomenclature
  • Italian doctor Marcello Malpighidiscovers the capillaries, thus completing the evidence for the circulation of the blood

    Italian doctor Marcello Malpighi discovers the capillaries, thus completing the evidence for the circulation of the blood
  • Dutch scientist Anton van Leeuwenhoekbuilds a microscope powerful enough for him to observe and describe the red corpuscles in blood

    The Dutch scientist Anton van Leeuwenhoek builds a microscope powerful enough for him to observe and describe the red corpuscles in blood
  • Leeuwenhoek observes spermatozoain the semen of a dog

    With his powerful new microscope Leeuwenhoek observes spermatozoa in the semen of a dog
  • English naturalist John Ray begins publication of his Historia Plantarum, classifying some 18,600 plants in 'mutual fertility' species

  • Swedish naturalist Carolus Linnaeus publishes a 'system of nature', capable of classifying all living things

  • Captain Cook's distinguished passengers, Joseph Banks and Daniel Solander, collect valuable specimens of Pacific flora

  • French biologist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck argues in Zoological Philosophy that creatures can inherit acquired characteristics

    French biologist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck argues in Zoological Philosophy that creatures can inherit acquired characteristics
  • A 12-year-old Dorset child, Mary Anning, discovers at Lyme Regis a 21 ft (6.4m) fossil of an icthyosaur

  • French scientist Georges Cuvier introduces scientific palaeontology with his Research on the Fossil Bones of Quadrupeds

    French scientist Georges Cuvier introduces scientific palaeontology with his Research on the Fossil Bones of Quadrupeds
  • HMS Beagle sails from Plymouth to survey the coasts of the southern hemisphere, with Charles Darwin as the expedition's naturalist

    HMS Beagle sails from Plymouth to survey the coasts of the southern hemisphere, with Charles Darwin as the expedition's naturalist
  • French zoologist Félix Dujardin identifies protoplasm, the viscous translucent substance common to all forms of life

    French zoologist Félix Dujardin identifies protoplasm, the viscous translucent substance common to all forms of life
  • HMS Beagle reaches Falmouth, in Cornwall, after a voyage of five years, and Charles Darwin brings with him a valuable collection of specimens

    HMS Beagle reaches Falmouth, in Cornwall, after a voyage of five years, and Charles Darwin brings with him a valuable collection of specimens
  • Swiss naturalist Louis Agassiz completes his pioneering Poissons Fossiles ('Fossil Fish'), classifying more than 1500 categories

  • An American clergyman, L.L. Langstroth, discovers the 'bee space', which becomes a standard feature of the modern beehive

    An American clergyman, L.L. Langstroth, discovers the 'bee space', which becomes a standard feature of the modern beehive
  • Austrian monk Gregor Mendel begins his study of pea plants in the garden of the Abbey of St Thomas in Brno

    Austrian monk Gregor Mendel begins his study of pea plants in the garden of the Abbey of St Thomas in Brno
  • English physician John Snow proves that cholera is spread by infected water (from a pump in London's Broad Street)

  • The first Neanderthal man to be discovered is unearthed by quarry workers in the Neander valley, near Düsseldorf

    The first Neanderthal man to be discovered is unearthed by quarry workers in the Neander valley, near Düsseldorf
  • French chemist Louis Pasteur proves the existence of micro-organisms by showing that a liquid will only ferment if exposed to contamination from the air

    French chemist Louis Pasteur proves the existence of micro-organisms by showing that a liquid will only ferment if exposed to contamination from the air
  • Charles Darwin is alarmed to receive in his morning post a paper by Alfred Russell Wallace, outlining very much his own theory of evolution

    Charles Darwin is alarmed to receive in his morning post a paper by Alfred Russell Wallace, outlining very much his own theory of evolution
  • Charles Darwin puts forward the theory of evolution in On the Origin of Species, the result of 20 years' research

    Charles Darwin puts forward the theory of evolution in On the Origin of Species, the result of 20 years' research
  • Gregor Mendel reads a paper to the Natural History Society in Brno describing his discoveries in the field of genetics

    Gregor Mendel reads a paper to the Natural History Society in Brno describing his discoveries in the field of genetics
  • English polymath Francis Galton publishes Inquiries in Human Faculty, developing the theme of eugenics and coining the term

    English polymath Francis Galton publishes Inquiries in Human Faculty, developing the theme of eugenics and coining the term
  • In a paper to a congress in Madrid, on the 'psychology and psychopathology of animals', Ivan Pavlov announces his discovery of the conditioned reflex

    In a paper to a congress in Madrid, on the 'psychology and psychopathology of animals', Ivan Pavlov announces his discovery of the conditioned reflex
  • German biologists Fritz Schaudinn and Erich Hoffmann discover the micro-organism Treponema pallidum which causes syphilis

    German biologists Fritz Schaudinn and Erich Hoffmann discover the micro-organism Treponema pallidum which causes syphilis
  • English physiologists William Bayliss and Ernest Starling coin the word 'hormone' for glandular secretions into the bloodstream

    English physiologists William Bayliss and Ernest Starling coin the word 'hormone' for glandular secretions into the bloodstream
  • English biologist William Bateson uses the word 'genetics' to describe the phenomenon of heredity and variation

    English biologist William Bateson uses the word 'genetics' to describe the phenomenon of heredity and variation
  • Karl Landsteiner classifies the main human blood groups as A, B, AB and O

    Karl Landsteiner classifies the main human blood groups as A, B, AB and O
  • US geneticist Thomas Hunt Morgan establishes the chromosome theory of heredity through his study of the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster

    US geneticist Thomas Hunt Morgan establishes the chromosome theory of heredity through his study of the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster
  • Martha, 29 years old and the last passenger pigeon in the world, dies in the Cincinnati zoo in Ohio

    Martha, 29 years old and the last passenger pigeon in the world, dies in the Cincinnati zoo in Ohio
  • New Zealand surgeon Harold Gillies sets up a plastic surgery unit at Aldershot, a British military base

  • Canadian physiologists Frederick Banting and Charles Best isolate insulin from the pancreas for the treatment of diabetes

    Canadian physiologists Frederick Banting and Charles Best isolate insulin from the pancreas for the treatment of diabetes
  • Biology teacher John Scopes is prosecuted for breaking state law by teaching evolution to his class of children in Dayton, Tennessee

    Biology teacher John Scopes is prosecuted for breaking state law by teaching evolution to his class of children in Dayton, Tennessee
  • Austrian zoologist Karl von Frisch demonstrates that bees communicate the whereabouts of food by means of a dance

    Austrian zoologist Karl von Frisch demonstrates that bees communicate the whereabouts of food by means of a dance
  • Scottish bacteriologist Alexander Fleming accidentally discovers a mold that selectively kills bacteria, and calls it penicillin

    Scottish bacteriologist Alexander Fleming accidentally discovers a mold that selectively kills bacteria, and calls it penicillin
  • The Austrian zoologist Konrad Lorenz describes his experiments on young geese, with their capacity to imprint on human beings

    The Austrian zoologist Konrad Lorenz describes his experiments on young geese, with their capacity to imprint on human beings
  • German-born British scientist Hans Krebs discovers the biochemical cycle that becomes known by his name

    German-born British scientist Hans Krebs discovers the biochemical cycle that becomes known by his name
  • US psychologist B.F. Skinner trains laboratory rats to use their brains in his 'Skinnner box'

    US psychologist B.F. Skinner trains laboratory rats to use their brains in his 'Skinnner box'
  • Karl von Frisch demonstrates that bees make use of the polarized light of the sun to calculate direction

  • Molecular biologists Francis Crick and James Watson announce their discovery of the double-helix structure of DNA

    Molecular biologists Francis Crick and James Watson announce their discovery of the double-helix structure of DNA
  • US environmentist Rachel Carson publishes Silent Spring, an impassioned warning of ecological disaster

    US environmentist Rachel Carson publishes Silent Spring, an impassioned warning of ecological disaster
  • Donald Johanson and Tom Gray find an almost complete Australopithecus female skeleton at Hadar in Ethiopia, and nickname her Lucy after the Beatles song Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds

    Donald Johanson and Tom Gray find an almost complete Australopithecus female skeleton at Hadar in Ethiopia, and nickname her Lucy after the Beatles song Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds
  • Luc Montagnier, at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, discovers a new human retrovirus that he names LAV (later changed to HIV)

  • Genetic (or DNA) fingerprinting is invented and developed by British geneticist Alec Jeffreys

    Genetic (or DNA) fingerprinting is invented and developed by British geneticist Alec Jeffreys
  • The Human Genome Project begins in the US Department of Energy, with the aim of sequencing the whole of human DNA

  • Mad Cow Disease (BSE, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy ) is identified and described in Britain

    Mad Cow Disease (BSE, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy ) is identified and described in Britain
  • British primatologist Jane Goodall publishes Through a Window, exposing violence and brutality in chimpanzees

    British primatologist Jane Goodall publishes Through a Window, exposing violence and brutality in chimpanzees
  • The fossilized skeleton of an Ardipithecus female, nicknamed Ardi and 4.4 million years old, is found in the Awash valley region of Ethiopia

    The fossilized skeleton of an Ardipithecus female, nicknamed Ardi and 4.4 million years old, is found in the Awash valley region of Ethiopia
  • A fatal variant CJD (Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease) is first identified in Britain, linked to BSE but capable of infecting humans

  • Dolly the Sheep is cloned in an epoch-making experiment at the Roslin Institute in Edinburgh

    Dolly the Sheep is cloned in an epoch-making experiment at the Roslin Institute in Edinburgh
  • Chromosome 22 becomes the first human genome to be fully sequenced, at the Sanger Institute in Cambridge, England

    Chromosome 22 becomes the first human genome to be fully sequenced, at the Sanger Institute in Cambridge, England
  • A White House ceremony celebrates a full draft of the human genome completed by two rival projects

    A White House ceremony celebrates a full draft of the human genome completed by two rival projects
  • Geneticist Craig Venter announces that his team have inserted the genome of a bacterium into a cell to create the world's first synthetic life form

    Geneticist Craig Venter announces that his team have inserted the genome of a bacterium into a cell to create the world's first synthetic life form