William Keith Brooks (1848-1908)

American biologist. Brooks' interest in saltational evolution apparently influenced Bateson's mutationist views. In the 1870's, Brooks' Ph.D. program at Hopkins became the first in America to produce a significant cohort of biologists (as opposed to natural historians of the Agassiz school, like himself). Like many late 19th century morphologists, Brooks focused on marine invertebrates and theorized on the orgin of major animal groups. In the 1890's Brooks, who was influenced by Walcott's descriptions of Burgess Shale fossils, advanced a theory that animals diversified suddenly during the Cambrian after a pelagic ancestral form colonized the sea bed, leading to intense competition.

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