Professor Joe Cain has specialist research interests in the synthesis period of evolutionary studies, 1930s-1940s. Often called the “evolutionary synthesis,” this period witnessed major changes in theory, practice, and community for evolutionary studies. It also witnessed the growth of organisational infrastructure associated with the subject, such as the journal Evolution and the Society fo the the Study of Evolution.

Biodynamica, published by Basile J. Luyet

Historians of the synthesis period in evolutionary studies, aka evolutionary synthesis, are deeply familiar with the Columbia Biological Series. This monograph series included key texts for the American evolutionist community, including Theodosius Dobzhansky’s (1937) Genetics More…

New Evidence on Dobzhansky 1936 “Jesup” lectures

Who says nothing exciting ever happens in historical research? This letter reports on a recent important find regarding the population geneticist, Theodosius Dobzhansky, and his famous 1937 book, Genetics and the Origin of Species. Most historians More…

Ernst Mayr and the ‘Biology of Birds’

The synthesis period in evolutionary studies (most people call this the “evolutionary synthesis”) of the 1930s and 1940 has had a standard narrative for many years, but pressure has increasing for a revision. For example, there’s More…

Columbia Biological Series, 1894-1974

The Columbia Biological Series (1894–1974) was produced by the Department of Biology (later Zoology) of Columbia University, New York, and spanned a wide range of topics within the biological sciences. This paper provides a bibliography More…

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