Stephen Gould: The Savior Of The Scientific Essay

1195 words - 5 pages

Stephen Jay Gould was born on September 10, 1941, in New York City. As a young boy at the age of five, Stephen went to the Museum of Natural History in New York City where he saw the Tyrannosaurus Rex along with other large dinosaur skeletons. He decided that he wanted to study the fossils and evolution; he began to read up on as much information as he possibly could. As Stephen grew older, he discovered that there was a specific field of study that would fit in with his interests. This field of study is called paleontology. Mr. Gould graduated from Antioch University in Ohio “in 1963 with a degree in geology and philosophy” (Theory, 2009). While at Antioch, Stephen interned on a sea expedition with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. In Bermuda he collected tons of snail fossils and brought them back to Antioch to study them. Gould continued his studies at Columbia University where he received his doctorate degree in paleontology. Here, he continued his studies of snails but began to look at snails from the entire Caribbean region. Stephen “became the leading authority on the snail known as cerion” which consists of about 600 distinct species (Theory, 2009). It was here at Columbia University that Stephen Gould slowly made his name be known.
While in graduate school, Stephen Gould met fellow graduate student Niles Eldredge and they both began to study the many snail fossils. In a New York Times article Stephen Jay Gould, 60, is Dead; Enlivened Evolutionary Theory (2002), it is stated that “the two students could not find the gradual, continuous change in fossil forms that they were taught was the stuff of evolution. Instead they found sudden appearances of new fossil forms followed by long periods in which these organisms changed little” (Yoon, 2002). In 1972, Gould and Eldredge published their theory of punctuated equilibrium. This theory states that there does exists a long time period of little to no change, but then in a short geological period, there is a rapid evolutionary change resulting in sudden new changes in fossil forms. The publication of their theory punctuated equilibrium created tons of controversy and argument that still exists today. This theory is only the first of many other theories and publications that will create controversy and arguments in Stephen Gould’s life.
Gould was hired by Harvard shortly after he graduated with his doctorate degree in 1967 and in 1973, “he was named Professor of Geology and Invertebrate Paleontology and became curator of Harvard’s renowned Museum of Comparative Zoology” (Theory, 2009). In 1977, Stephen had a book published called “Ontogeny and Phylogeny” that captured the attention of many biologists. The book helped grab the attention of a relationship between the development of organisms and how they evolve, which had not been talked about for a very long time. This book is one of the few items that Gould wrote that did not cause much controversy and it was believed to even help bring...

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