Engraving of Lorenz Oken, German biologist

Engraving of Lorenz Oken, German biologist

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Caption: Lorenz Oken. Engraving of Lorenz Oken (1779- 1851), German biologist. Oken (whose real name was Ockenfuss) was an important member of the Naturphilosophen ("nature philosophers") and in 1807 became professor of natural science at Jena. Oken elaborated on Goethe's theory that the human skull had formed from the fusing of vertebrae. This was later disproved by Thomas Huxley. Oken's theory had the valuable effect of raising awareness in the scientific community of the possiblility of evolutionary change. He founded the biological magazine Isis. He also pioneered the system of holding regular meetings for scientists to discuss their theories in public.

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Keywords: biologist, evolution, evolution theorist, evolutionary biology, lorenz, ockenfuss, oken, populariser, portraits, skull, surname o, zoologist

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