Famous English biologist and naturalist whose theory of natural selection formed the basis for modern evolutionary biology. At many points, Kolbert cites Darwin’s ideas (particularly the notion that life is a constant competition for resources)… (read full character analysis)
19th century student of Georges Cuvier, who first proposed the now-common theory of “ice ages.”
Scientist who conducted simulations to study early humans’ ability to wipe out large mammal species.
Father of Walter Alvarez, and, with Walter, co-author of an influential paper arguing that an asteroid wiped out the dinosaurs.
Geologist who, along with his father, Luis Alvarez, first proposed the influential theory that an asteroid caused the mass-extinction of the dinosaurs.
Highly influential ancient Greek scientist and polymath who nevertheless failed to take extinction into account when writing about animals.
Scientist whose research focuses on the pH (acidity) of seawater.
Captain James Cook
18th century English explorer who sailed to Australia and was probably the first European to see the famous Great Barrier Reef.
Maria Cristina Buia
Marine biologist who researches the biodiversity of waters surrounding Castello Aragonese, a small island in the middle of the Tyrrhenian Sea.
Ornithologist who specializes in birdsong.
The scientist who coined the term, “Anthropocene,” referring to the modern, human era of global history.
Important late 18th and early 19th century biologist who pioneered the theory of extinction, and helped spark an international “craze” for fossils and paleontology.
Reproductive physiologist who specialized in the near-extinct Hawaiian crow.
Scientist who, in the 1950s, pioneered the study of invasive species.
Entomologist who estimated that rainforest contained about 30 million arthropod species.
A student of Miles Silman.
The director of the El Valle Amphibian Conservation Center in Panama, and an expert in frogs.
Marine biologist who conducts research in the waters surrounding Castello Aragonese, a small island in the middle of the Tyrrhenian Sea.
Biologist who researches bats in the New England area.
American founding father and noted fossil collector.
Important science historian who pioneered the theory that the history of human understanding can be organized into discrete “paradigm shifts.”
Paleontologist who specializes in the ammonite (a prehistoric, nautilus-like creature).
Charles le Moyne, Baron Longueuil
French aristocrat who discovered some of the earliest mastodon fossils.
Influential 18th century biologist who pioneered the modern system of species taxonomy, yet failed to consider the possibility of extinction.
Early 18th century French monarch who collected fossils.
Founder of the Biological Dynamics of Forest Fragments Project, or BDFFP.
Influential British geologist who popularized the idea of extinction as a slow, gradual process.
English naturalist who, along with John Wooley, tried to track down the legendary great auk in Iceland, and spent the remainder of his adult life pioneering the field of wildlife conservation.
Director of the department of evolutionary genetics at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology in Leipzig.
Charles Willson Peale
Founder of the Philadelphia Natural History Museum.
A conservationist who specializes in the rhinoceros.
A professor at Wake Forest University, and an important forest ecologist who conducts research in the tropical rainforests of South America.
The director of the Paris Museum of Natural History.
President of the London Geological Society, and coiner of the term “catastrophist,” describing a scientist who believes that the history of the planet is marked with periodic global catastrophes that cause mass-extinction.
English naturalist who, along with Alfred Newton, tried to track down the legendary great auk in Iceland.
Important stratigrapher (scientist who studies different eras of planetary history) who popularized the term “Anthropocene,” which refers to the modern human era of global history.