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Johann von Goethe. Portrait of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832), German author and scient- ist. One of the greatest figures in German litera- ture, Goethe also applied his mind to scientific matters. As an anatomist he showed that the human jawbone contained structures similar to those in other creatures. He also proposed that the skull was formed of extended, fused vertebrae. Goethe also studied biology, believing that all plant structures were modified leaves. An early evolu- tionist, he believed that animals became more "specialised" through the ages. He wrote about optics and incorrectly opposed Newton's view that white light was made of a number of colours.
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