A valuable introduction to Fritz Muller, a colorful and important figure in the story of natural history, but someone who has been seriously neglected by historians of science. This volume helps us gain a better understanding not only of Muller s many contributions but also of the development of Darwin s ideas about species diversity. Vassiliki Betty Smocovitis, author of "Unifying Biology"
Impeccable research on practically every available facet of Muller s life. Relevant for both historians of science and scientists alike. Adriana Novoa, coauthor of "From Man to Ape: Darwinism in Argentina, 1870 1920"
Fritz Muller (1821 1897), though not as well known as his colleague Charles Darwin, belongs in the cohort of great nineteenth-century naturalists. In "Darwin s Man in Brazil," David A. West recovers Muller s legacy. He describes the close intellectual kinship between Muller and Darwin, detailing a lively correspondence spanning seventeen years, in which the two men often discussed new research topics and exchanged ideas. Darwin frequently praised Muller s powers of observation and interpretation, counting him among those scientists whose opinions he valued most.
A free thinker who refused to sign the Christian oaths required of teachers in Prussia, Muller emigrated to Brazil in 1852 to become a pioneer farmer researching tropical biology. In the 1860s he reorganized his biological research in order to test Darwin s theory of evolution. Conducting field studies to answer questions generated from a Darwinian perspective, Muller was unique among naturalists testing Darwin s theory of natural selection because he investigated an enormous diversity of plants and animals rather than a relatively narrow range of taxa.
Despite the importance and scope of his work, however, Muller is known for relatively few of his discoveries. West remedies this oversight, chronicling the life and work of this remarkable and overlooked man of science.
Darwin's Man in Brazil
University Press of Florida
The Evolving Science of Fritz Müller