[Taxacom] panbiogeography critique

John Grehan jgrehan at sciencebuff.org
Mon Jun 29 10:44:43 CDT 2009

Not quite. 

By your own statement "Until J. Tuzo Wilson of the U. of Toronto, in
late 1963, in the Canadian Journal of Physics, elaborated and explained
how drifting continents and plate tectonics go together, most scientists
were still doubters". 

That's all I was saying. Not that there were not earlier supporters
among geologists and biologists.

Even before Wegener's theory became widely accepted, Croizat was saying
it was wrong about the Pacific as the biogeographic affinities of the
Americas are not just with Europe and Africa, but also with east Asia
and Australasia - a point of view that has received corroboration in
various tectonic analyses of the Pacific.

John Grehan

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Robin Leech [mailto:releech at telus.net]
> Sent: Monday, June 29, 2009 11:16 AM
> To: John Grehan; taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> Subject: Re: [Taxacom] panbiogeography critique
> Hi John,
> You err here!  Wegener's 1912 book was written in German. At that
> was about to occur and this put a delay on exposure to North American
> scientists.  Also, most North American scientists then, and even now,
> cannot
> and do not read German.  As no person of consequence in North America
> any attention to Wegener's work, the concept of continental drift lay
> quiet.
> It was not till the mid-1920s or so, when it was translated into
> that the drifting continents idea caught on.  But once it was in
> it
> caught on fast.  Keep in mind also that plate tectonics play a part
> Until J. Tuzo Wilson of the U. of Toronto, in late 1963, in the
> Journal of Physics, elaborated and explained how drifting continents
> plate tectonics go together, most scientists were still doubters.  J.
> also dealt with fault zones (e.g., San Andreas Fault).
> Even in 1964, if a geologist in Canada submitted a proposal for a
> grant to the National Research Council in Ottawa, and it involved
> continents, the chances of getting the grant were about 0.  By 1965,
> you
> were a geologist in Canada, and you DID NOT believe in continental
> and
> plate tectonics, you were passe.
> It was the botanists who championed continental drift at a time when
> zoologists poo-poohed it.  In fact some zoologists went so far as to
> that the botanists used continental drift to explain what good science
> could
> not.  In other words, used the explanation of continental drift as a
> crutch.
> As a kid in Vernon, BC, during WWII, I can recall my Father showing me
> globe of the world.  He showed how South America and Africa fit
> and explained how they used to be one continent.  Further, that some
> the
> insect groups and other animals were related.  Dad was a water beetle
> specialist.
> Now, of course, the similarities in outline between Africa and South
> America, indicating that the two continents were once one, have been
> confirmed by matching and age-dating mafik dikes, soils, flora and
> Robin
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "John Grehan" <jgrehan at sciencebuff.org>
> To: <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
> Sent: Monday, June 29, 2009 6:39 AM
> Subject: Re: [Taxacom] panbiogeography critique
> >
> >> -----Original Message-----
> >> From: mivie at montana.edu [mailto:mivie at montana.edu]
> > It only took a few years for
> >> McClintock's work to go from surprising to central.  She hardly
> > a
> >> lifetime in the wilderness, nor was she a self-promoter.  Didn't
> > to
> >> be, she was smart.
> >
> > The point about McClintock and Wegener is that they are examples of
> > people who got it right, but were initially 'ridiculed' or written
> > by the majority.
> >
> > McClintock my have gained relatively fast acceptance, but Wegener
> > not. If speed of acceptance is a reflection of 'smarts' then that
> > Wegener pretty stupid. The point about Croizat is that he got things
> > right about geology that his opponents did not. The panbiogeographic
> > method continues to produce new insights into the historical
> > relationship between biological distribution and tectonics that have
> > been anticipated in center of origin/dispersal/vicariance approaches
> > used by most biogeographers.
> >
> > John Grehan
> >
> > _______________________________________________
> >
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