Pub. date: 2006 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952453 | Print ISBN: 9780761930297 | Online ISBN: 9781412952453 | Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Darwin and Italy
Martin G. Weiss
The history of the interrelation between Charles Darwin and Italy begins long before Darwin's main works were published. In 1814, the Italian natural scientist Gianbattista Brocchi published his Concchiologia fossile subappenina con osservazioni geologiche sugli Appenini e sul suolo adiacente , in which he supported the theory that species can disappear and do actually become extinct, based on his detailed examination of the fossilized remains of crustaceans. With this theory, he contradicted Carl von Linné, J. E. Walch, Georges Cuvier, and Jean Baptiste Lamarck, who all, in their different ways, ruled out the possibility that a species could disappear entirely. Brocchi explained the disappearance of species by analogy with the life cycle of an individual. Just as an individual is born, grows old, becomes weaker, and finally dies, he believed that species became increasingly weaker down the generations. Brocchi believed he could prove that before they disappeared, extinct species had ...