Ernst Mayr Biography
Birthday: July 5, 1904 (Cancer)
Born In: Kempten
Ernst Walter Mayr is one of 20th Century’s accomplished and pioneering biologists. Mayr was a German-born American biologist renowned for his work as a taxonomist, ornithologist, tropical explorer, and historian of science, who also studied population genetics and evolution. His work on the theory of evolution paved way for the modernised concepts in genetics and evolutionary biology which includes the works of Mendel, Darwin, and the concepts of ‘systematics’ and ‘biological species’. Mayr has been credited with writing more than 100 papers on avian taxonomy. He proposed a new definition of species that was widely accepted in scientific circles and contributed to the discovery of a large number of previously unknown species. Mayr successfully discovered and named 25 new bird species and 410 sub-species, during his lifetime. Through his book ‘Systematics and the Origin of Species’, he put forward a modification to the existing definition of species. A group of individuals with similar morphological traits were regarded as members of the same species (as stated by Charles Darwin) but Mayr suggested that members of a group that interbreed comprise a species. The information contained within the DNA of each species differs enough from other species to prevent interbreeding. In his later years, Mayr focused his efforts in modifying the philosophy of science to include biology as an essential way in understanding life. Read on to know more about his life and works.