This study argues that morphology was integral to the life sciences of the 19th century. It traces the development of morphological research in German universities and illuminates significant institutional and intellectual changes in 19th-century German biology. Although there were neither professors of morphology nor a morphologists' society, morphologists achieved influence by "colonizing" niches in a variety of disciplines. Scientists in anatomy, zoology, natural history, and physiology considered their work morphological, and the term encompassed research that today might be classified as embryology, systematics, functional morphology, comparative physiology, ecology, behaviour, evolutionary theory, or histology. Nyhart draws on research notes, correspondence and other archival material to examine how these scientists responded to new ideas and to the work of colleagues.
She examines the intertwined histories of morphology and the broader biological enterprise, demonstrating that the study of form was central to investigations of such issues as the relationships between an animal's structure and function, between an organism and its environment, and between living species and their ancestors.
Lynn K. Nyhart is associate professor in the Department of the History of Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
List of Illustrations Acknowledgments Abbreviations 1: Situating Morphology Pt. 1: Morphology and Physiology 2: The Study of Form before 1850 3: Rearranging the Sciences of Animal Life, 1845-1870 Pt. 2: Evolutionary Morphology, 1860-1880 4: Descent and the Laws of Development 5: Evolutionary Morphology at Jena 6: Evolution and Morphology among the Zoologists, 1860-1880 7: Evolutionary Morphology in Anatomy: Carl Gegenbaur and His School Pt. 3: Morphology and Biology, 1880-1900 8: The Kompetenzkonflikt within the Evolutionary Morphological Program 9: New Approaches to Form, 1880-1900: Rhetoric, Research, and Rewards 10: Morphology, Biology, and the Zoological Professoriate 11: Morphology and Disciplinary Development: Observations and Reflections App. 1. Anatomy and Zoology Professors, 1810-1918, by Birthdate App. 2. Professorships in Zoology, 1810-1918 App. 3. Professorships in Anatomy, 1810-1918 Archival Sources Bibliography Index