Kammerer, Paul


Paul Kammerer (1880–1926) was an Austrian biologist who carried out ingenious experiments aimed at demonstrating the inheritance of acquired characteristics, most famously on Alytes, the midwife toad. The only surviving specimen after interruption of Kammerer's work by the First World War was examined by other zoologists who found the evidence for Kammerer's conclusions to be fraudulent. Soon thereafter Kammerer committed suicide. Whether or not the entire corpus of Kammerer's work was based on fraud and/or self‐delusion is a live issue in some quarters still.

Keywords: Kammerer; Lamarckian inheritance; fraud; Vivarium; epigenetics; Arthur Koestler; Lamarckian; acquired characteristics; Alytes obstetricians; midwife toad; Vienna

Further Reading

Bateson W (1992) Materials for the Study of Variation (First published in 1894) Introduction by Bowler PJ and Webster G. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Bowler PJ (1983) The Eclipse of Darwinism. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Bowler PJ (1988) The non‐Darwinian Revolution. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Bowler PJ (1996) Life's Splendid Drama: Evolutionary Biology and the Reconstruction of Life's Ancestry, 1860–1940. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Cope ED (1887) The Origin of the Fittest. New York: Macmillan.

Desmond AJ (1982) Archetypes and Ancestors. London: Blond and Briggs.

Gayon J (1998) Darwinism's Struggle for Survival. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Gould SJ (1977) Ontogeny and Phylogeny. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Hofstadter R (1959) Social Darwinism in American thought. New York: George Braziller.

Kellogg VG (1907) Darwinism Today. New York: Henry Holt.

Magnello E (1996) Karl Pearson's Gresham lectures: W. F. R. Weldon, speciation, and the origin of Pearsonian statistics. British Journal for the History of Science 29: 43–63.

Morgan TH (1903) Evolution and Adaptation. New York: Macmillan.

Norton BJ (1973) The biometric defence of Darwinism. Journal of the History of Biology 6: 283–316.

Olby RC (1985) The Origins of Mendelism, 2nd edn. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Provine WB (1971) The Origins of Theoretical Population Genetics. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Rudwick MJS (1976) The Meaning of Fossils. New York: Science History Publications.

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How to Cite close
Gratzer, Walter(Apr 2014) Kammerer, Paul. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. http://www.els.net [doi: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0002540.pub2]