[Taxacom] panbiogeography critique

Frederick W Schueler bckcdb at istar.ca
Mon Jun 29 11:50:16 CDT 2009


Robin Leech wrote:

> 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. 

* growing up in the era when plate tectonics was the current scientific 
revolution, I was always impressed by the way zoogeographers skated 
around what we now take to be the evidence for it.

In my file of mini-reviews of books I find on the bedroom floor, there's 
this entry:

Simpson, George Gaylord. 1953. Life of the Past: An introduction to 
paleontology. xii+198 pp. -- probably from the collection of the late 
P.W. Schueler. GGS shows himself not to have anticipated phylogenetic 
systematics, not even a little tiny bit. Though he did anticipate 
continental drift – a little tiny bit in a grudgingly negative way.

        Quite entertainingly, for us now, Simpson says that the creation 
of the Atlantic Ocean by continental rifting is impossible, and that 
there's no evidence for it, unless the rifting was so long in the past 
as to coincide with the dates now accepted for the creation of the 
Atlantic Ocean by continental rifting, and then cites a lot of the 
relationships which are now considered to be the result of the rifting...

fred.
=====================================

> It was the botanists who championed continental drift at a time when most 
> zoologists poo-poohed it.  In fact some zoologists went so far as to say 
> 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 a 
> globe of the world.  He showed how South America and Africa fit together, 
> and explained how they used to be one continent.  Further, that some of the 
> insect groups and other animals were related.  Dad was a water beetle 
> specialist.

-- 
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