Research Article | Published:

The Beginnings of Instruction in General Biology

Naturevolume 115pages714715 (1925) | Download Citation



MY personal association with Prof. Huxley was connected with the courses of instruction in general biology which he devised and conducted in the early 's eventies at South Kensington. By his biological friends he was ever after known as “the General,” a tribute, no doubt, to the value of the idea by which these courses were inspired, the idea of the unity of life. Zoology and botany were making rapid progress at the time, but rather in water-tight compartments: the students of the one science felt but little interest in the other, failing to recognise the close similarity of the aims, the problems, and the methods of the two sciences. Having propounded the doctrine of protoplasm as the physical basis of life, Huxley logically inferred that animals and plants represent two divergent lines of protoplasmic evolution from a common starting-point. It was to illustrate this line of thought that the courses in general biology were planned. They involved the detailed comparative study of a series of animals and of plants, representative of various stages of evolution. The original programme was published as a small book known as Huxley and Martin's “Elementary Biology.”

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