Advanced Search

Browse by Discipline

Scientific Societies

E-print Alerts

Add E-prints

E-print Network

  Advanced Search  

INTEG. AND COMP. BIOL., 42:183189 (2002) A Brief History of Vertebrate Functional Morphology1

Summary: 183
INTEG. AND COMP. BIOL., 42:183189 (2002)
A Brief History of Vertebrate Functional Morphology1
*Department of Biology, Box 7325, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, North Carolina 27109
Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University, Concord Field Station, Old Causeway Road,
Bedford, Massachusetts 01730
SYNOPSIS. The discipline of functional morphology grew out of a comparative anatomical tradition, its
transformation into a modern experimental science facilitated largely by technological advances. Early mor-
phologists, such as Cuvier, felt that function was predictable from organismal form, to the extent that
animals and plants represented perfect adaptations to their habits. However, anatomy alone could not reveal
how organisms actually performed their activities. Recording techniques capable of capturing fast motion
were first required to begin to understand animal movement. Muybridge is most famous for his pioneering
work in fast photography in the late 19th century, enabling him to ``freeze'' images of even the fastest horse
at a full gallop. In fact, contemporary kinematic analysis grew directly out of the techniques Muybridge
developed. Marey made perhaps an even greater contribution to experimental science through his invention
of automatic apparati for recording events of animal motion. Over the first half of the 20th century, scientists
developed practical methods to record activity patterns from muscles of a living, behaving human or animal.
The technique of electromyography, initially used in clinical applications, was co-opted as a tool of organ-


Source: Ashley-Ross, Miriam A. - Department of Biology, Wake Forest University


Collections: Environmental Sciences and Ecology; Biology and Medicine