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Darwin-L Message Log 2:93 (October 1993)

Academic Discussion on the History and Theory of the Historical Sciences

This is one message from the Archives of Darwin-L (1993–1997), a professional discussion group on the history and theory of the historical sciences.

Note: Additional publications on evolution and the historical sciences by the Darwin-L list owner are available on SSRN.


<2:93>From LANGDON@GANDLF.UINDY.EDU  Mon Oct 18 11:13:01 1993

Date: Mon, 18 Oct 1993 11:13:01 -0500
From: "JOHN LANGDON"  <LANGDON@GANDLF.UINDY.EDU>
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: Re: manuscript polymorphism

In message <01H45A4IQD8E8Y5338@psc.plymouth.edu>  writes:
> Another idea crossed my mind, not one necessarily related to manuscript
> polymorphism, but perhaps related to how some gene sequences remain un
> changed for long periods of time.  The example was published someplace
> sometime ago (I can not remember where or when).  It relates to the fact
> that in General Biology textbooks, when the evolution of the horse is
> described, the textbook authors state that Eohippus, one of the ancestral
> forms, was the size of a (an I may have this somewhat wrong) collier/
> terrier, a dog from the coal mines of Wales.  What is interesting, is the
> fact that this dog is no longer a very common breed of dog, yet the
> textbook writers rather than mutating the dog into a modern day form of
> dog, eg, golden retriever, poodle, etc., continue to use the old name
> as referenced in earlier textbooks.

This example comes from one of Stephen Jay Gould's Natural History columns, and
represents a theme he has repeated concerning the transmission and
transmutation of myths and metaphors in the history of science. See

"The Case of the Creeping Fox Terrier Clone", Natural History, January, 1988
pp. 16-24.

JOHN H. LANGDON      email LANGDON@GANDLF.UINDY.EDU
DEPARTMENT OF BIOLOGY    FAX  (317) 788-3569
UNIVERSITY OF INDIANAPOLIS   PHONE (317) 788-3447
INDIANAPOLIS, IN 46227

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