Edwin Ray Lankester (1847-1929)

"A little reflection suffices to show that any given living form, such as the gorilla, cannot possibly be the ancestral form from which man was derived, since ex hypothesi that ancestral form underwent modification and development, and in so doing ceased to exist." (1891)

Prominent Darwinian, worshipful disciple of Huxley, and hotheaded selectionist and opponent of Lamarckism. Invertebrate zoologist; along with Balfour, one of the few Anglophone phylogenetic morphologists. Coined the term "homoplasy" and opposed the theistic overtones of the term "homology." Defined the basal split among animals between Coelenterata (jellyfish and relatives) and Triploblastica. Heavily involved in founding of Marine Biological Association (1884). Mentioned in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World (1912).

Lankester's father Edwin, a medical doctor, was a friend of Huxley's.

Lankester caricatured in 1905. From Bowler 1996, p. 36.


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